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Tuesday Rockpile: Tim Wheeler inked, more on club's national attention and Ian Snell

More Streak

Buster Olney: Diagnostics a key to Colorado's surge - ESPN
ESPN notices of course.  Olney quotes Aaron Cook as crediting increased focus, concentration and a looser clubhouse for the streak.  He also notes that Bob Apodaca helped find a huge flaw in Cook's delivery following his horrendous start in LA April 18.  It was immediately fixed, and then:

Cook's ground ball ratio has increased by a factor of three since he made that adjustment, and his ERA is at 2.91 since. -Olney

That's what a pitching coach is supposed to do.

Rockies unsurprised by 11-game streak | News
The headline is a bit righteous.  Every team should be a bit surprised by an 11-game streak, but Thomas Harding's point is that much of this roster already had an 11-game streak in their pocket, even if their manager had never had a double digit streak.

Rockies' streak at a glance | News
Check out a quick and dirty glance at each game of the 11-game streak.



Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders took turns this morning profiling the three most likely choices for the All-Star game.

Saunders: Hawpe hidden gem of a hitter - The Denver Post
Saunders states that Hawpe is one of the most underrated hitters in the game today, using statistics and the eye test.  He also quotes Bill James as being surprised by his quiet production two years ago.  He doesn't mention what Bill James thinks of Hawpe's defense.

As season heats up, so DOEs closer street - The Denver Post
Huston Street has been able to add almost 5mph to his fastball since earlier in the year, reaching 94 mph in his last appearance.  Jim Tracy said he just needed to get loosened up.  Too bad that 6 week Spring Training didn't do it.  Still he's averaging more velocity on his fastball than any year since 2006, when he had 37 saves.

Marquis becomes Rockies' marquee starter - The Denver Post
Jim Tracy once again calls Marquis a "winner" and that he "competes."  But there was an interesting quote from an unnamed former teammate working out with Marquis in January:

"Your pitches have never had so much life and so much depth," - Renck

Renck goes on to say Marquis meshes perfectly" with Bob Apodaca and there are reasons not to witness the precipitous post-ASB decline Marquis is used to.


The Draft

Dust Devils have first workout | The News Tribune - Northwest
The Rockies have signed 1st-round pick Tim Wheeler.  He'll be assigned to Tri-City and will report to the team this weekend.  Ten draftees have been assigned to Tri-City.

Check out the updated 2009 Draft Pick Signings List.


Other Links:

Sports cartoonist Drew Litton
This is a bit late, but Drew Litton is still drawing, and he posted one last week about the Rockies fans who conveniently switch their fanhood on and off dependent on the standings.  Litton also wrote that the two best sites for Rockies news are and Purple Row.  Thanks for the shoutout Drew!

Pittsburgh Pirates news, fan forums, schedules and blogs -
John Perotto's latest column has more on an Ian Snell-Colorado trade, albeit very little.  He ascertains that "Colorado is certainly interested in Snell and figures to make a play for him."  In case you thought Snell's anger issues may have tempered, I'll highlight part of Perotto's column:

Snell punched the dugout wall after giving up rookie pitcher Rick Porcello’s second RBI single of the game in the sixth inning.

It was assumed Snell was upset about allowing two run-producing singles to someone who had never batted in a major-league game. Instead, Snell admitted he was angry that Russell had intentionally walked shortstop Ramon Santiago to get to Porcello.

As one Tigers player said the next day after reading Snell’s comments about the intentional walk, "Was he serious? Was he eating psychedelic mushrooms between innings?" - Perotto

The Rockies were prominently featured in FanGraphs' What We Learned In Week Ten and Game of the Week: 6/8-14 articles, stating the Rockies "must be frustrated" after winning 11 straight yet still being over 10 games out.  I touched on that a bit last evening.  Ubaldo Jimenez' gritty complete game Friday was good enough for the best game of the day.

BtB Power Rankings: Through Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 - Beyond the Box Score
I just found BtB's system of numeric power rankings that disregard human influence that placed Colorado 14th out of 30.  JinAZ states: "Their pitching, after park corrections, now rates as the second-best in the league, so there's that.  And they have the second-best Pythagorean record in the NL West."  And that was a week ago.  After six wins, it has only gotten better