This is an interesting point in our player review series. Logan Kensing, who pitched two-thirds of an inning this year for the Rockies, was the player with the least overall impact on the season. rWAR of 0, fWAR of 0, and a WPA of 0; Kensing's time with the Rockies had essentially zero impact on the Rockies season. Since we have been dividing our reviews by rWAR, Kensing represents the line in which the 2013 Rockies players move from projecting as below replacement level, to being above.
Kensing signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal during the offseason, and was one of several players given a chance to make the team out of Spring Training in a spare relief role. As is usually the case with NRIs, Kensing did not make the team, and ended the Spring in danger of being released. Kensing was eventually placed into Extended Spring Training to begin 2013, as the reliever readied himself to eventually join the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
The most recent time Kensing had seen the majors was 2009 as a member of the Washington Nationals, after Kensing had been traded from the Florida Marlins where he had been a regular bullpen fixture for several seasons. Kensing attended Spring Training with Washington in 2010, but did not make any team. He sat out the rest of the season, perhaps an injury, perhaps debating whether or not he would continue his career in pro baseball. Ultimately, Kensing chose to do what is commonplace among relief-types that don't fit clearly into a major league bullpen: hop around between franchises and hope for an opening.
A 2011 campaign with the Yankees and a 2012 with the Pirates yielded no chances for the reliever to return to Major League Baseball. Kensing pitched decently in those years, but it wouldn't be until his time with the Rockies that he would get that chance. After finally getting to join the Sky Sox when closer Josh Sullivan was injured in late April, Kensing took over the role and flourished. Kensing had also served as closer for the 2009 Nationals AAA team in Syracuse, and his 2013 with Colorado Springs had been his best season since.
The Rockies purchased Kensing to the 40-man roster on June 16th, after a series of changes to their pitching staff had left the team in need of reinforcements. Rafael Betancourt had recently re-injured himself, and Chris Volstad was proving ineffective at eating innings beneath a labored starting staff that saw Juan Nicasio losing effectiveness and Jon Garland let go in favor of Jeff Francis' return from the DL (which would also go unfavorably, and lead to his demotion). Kensing replaced Volstad in the pen, but did not pitch in the game at home against the Phillies.
The team traveled to Toronto following the game. Kensing finally got the chance to appear in the eighth inning of final game of the Blue Jays series, in which the Rockies trailed 5-2. It was Kensing's first career appearance in Toronto. Josh Outman had struck out Colby Rasmus to begin the inning, and Kensing was brought in to face J.P. Arencibia. He walked his first batter on eight pitches, but Arencibia would be caught stealing in the middle of Kensing's battle with Maicer Izturis. Izturis fought, staying alive through a seven pitch at bat featuring just one ball allowed. Kensing finally won the battle with a swinging strikeout. The Rockies did not come back in the ninth, and lost the game.
This would be the end of Kensing's time with the Rockies. He made the trip with the team to his former home in Washington, but did not get into a game. He was designated for assignment mid-series, making room for the Rockies to temporarily ditch their eight-man bullpen and give Corey Dickerson a promotion to the majors. Kensing cleared waivers, and accepted assignment back to the Sky Sox, where he would remain for the rest of the season.
Kensing's AAA season saw some fairly career normal numbers. His K/9 was a tad higher than normal, and his BB/9 a tad lower. His biggest accomplishment may have been the diminished home run rate in the PCL environment, which was something Kensing typically had trouble with in his career.
2013 Grade: B (N/A)?
Kensing's grade with the Rockies is pretty much irrelevant, but I assign his grade a B with the organization as a whole. He didn't get a chance to help the MLB team much this year, but he presented a solid option if things had turned out differently. This was the best in a set of now three MiLB stints, and Kensing might be poised better than in quite some time to make a run at being a MLB piece.
Having been outrighted midseason, Kensing was already granted his chance to elect MiLB free agency, which he predictably did. Kensing's 2013 campaign probably doesn't have enough MLB content to bid for a major league contract anywhere, but he should have no trouble finding a non-roster spot in a MLB camp next Spring. Will it be with the Rockies? Probably not, but not impossible. The fact that Kensing accepted his assignment in June suggests Kensing liked it here, and wanted a chance to make it back up with us rather than somewhere else. That said, MiLB guys like this are professional system-hoppers. Players like him can be a Spring Training depth fit for basically any team in any condition, and it's conceivable that he could end up with any of the other 29 teams with just as much ease as he could return here.