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Thursday Morning Rockpile: Updating the bubble watch

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The one good thing about making speculative errors -and this happens in the world of finance, too, btw- is that in the process of correction, much of what had been fuzzy or unknowable suddenly becomes quite clear. While traders use this phenomenon to hedge their losses, I can use it to have a pretty clear idea of what the Rockies Opening Day roster will look like. Now which is more valuable: money or better Rockies knowledge? I think we all know the answer to that. Wait... maybe I got into the wrong kind of fanaticism.

Anyway, what we now know:

Nix primarily at second, with a generous portion of Baker. Jeff can then move around and spell others as well, it really looks like he's going to get a lot of AB's this season. Barmes looks to have landed the fewer AB, late-inning defensive replacement utility role.

Cory Sullivan still may have a little bit of an edge over Scott Podsednik, for defensive reasons. This sits well with me. Seth Smith has backup to Eli Manning flashbacks as he's sent back to AAA, to start the year, again.

While it seems that Jason Hirsh will start pitching in his regular season a little after everybody else once he comes off the DL, Aaron Cook and Luis Vizcaino still project to be ready on March 31 which means that the rotation will probably be:


and the bullpen at this point actually looks like


With Jon Koronka and Josh Newman still on the bubble having shots to usurp Micah in that last slot, but all the other decisions seem to have pretty much been made already. That would leave the following to be headed to AAA by my projections:

Marcus Giles
Scott Podsednik
Ian Stewart - just not a very good SOS or RPI score.
Seth Smith
Edwin Bellorin - I haven't really mentioned this, but there's very little chance of Iannetta not being on the roster now.
Ramon Ramirez - I'm not keen on this, I'd rather have him than Wells too, but it might not be long before we get our wish.
Juan Morillo - got it, still has an option.
Chris George
Josh Towers - would need to clear waivers, watch St. Louis as a team that could take him at that point.
Victor Zambrano

In bringing up Micah Bowie's 2007 ERA+ vs. Jeremy Affeldt's yesterday, LarryB303 reminded me of a point that I've been meaning to address. Sometimes it's easy for me to lose sight of the question with guys like Bowie or Podsednik after I determine if they're better than I think they are, is if they're good enough for a contending team. Both are borderline, to be frank, but none of the alternatives are that likely to be much better.

BTW, ERA+, or ERA for that matter, for relievers are incredibly deceiving stats due to the way runs are credited. Affeldt's issue with the 2007 Rockies wasn't giving up his own runs, it was allowing the runners left stranded by the guy he came in after to score. What's more, frequently Affeldt would get bailed out by the guys who came to clean up messes he left. It's a lot more beneficial to use a stat like Baseball Prospectus's WXRP which tracks all of that or if you're not into the numbers thing simply to check out the game logs of the pitcher in question and ask:

Was the team in better or worse shape from the start of his appearance after he left?

With Jeremy the answer was (well, except in spurts, he was a streaky pitcher) that the Rockies were left typically for the worse, and this is why I didn't really sweat that the team wasn't trying to keep him.