So you've watched the team. You've read this morning's Rockpile. You know that what the Rockies lack right now is quality bullpen arms. For today's Pebble Report we're going to look at all the pitchers in the context of how they could help the Rockies pen. I know it's probably ridiculous for the Casper and Tri-City arms, but it might prove a fun exercise.
Only 10 of 13 runs in this half finished game count as earned runs, but there are only three errors. Two of those have been committed by Eric Young Jr. At any rate, the pitcher for the Sky Sox has been Adam Eaton, who still has a sparkling 1.50 ERA that's a bit less deserved in light of the eight hits, walk, and two HBP's, not to mention seven runs, he gave up in five innings. But this blow-up notwithstanding, could Eaton be a help to the Rockies bullpen?
Last season Eaton had two relief appearances with the Phillies, neither of which went well, even by Eaton standards over the last two and a half seasons. Drummed out of Philadelphia, Eaton went to Baltimore, where he would be facing those easier AL East lineups. The results were predictable to everybody save the Orioles front office, apparently. Now Eaton's pitching relatively well outside of last night with the Sky Sox. The Rockies are seemingly using him as Josh Fogg insurance, but with Fogg being one of our few somewhat reliable spots in the pen, could the team instead use him as a plan B to Rincon until we get other guys back from injury rehab? Let's just dangle it out there as a possibility, but frankly, I'm more intrigued about the arms were going to talk about in Tulsa.
I've always viewed Samuel Deduno as most likely to be an asset that comes out of relief for a MLB team than a starter. It's a question of durability, and Deduno's arm just doesn't seem to have enough to withstand the rigors of a 200 inning season. Starters are more valuable in general, and the Rockies have been wise to keep him in that role until he proves without a doubt it's not going to work, but right now there's a mixture of imperative and opportunity that might make it sensible to switch him over for a big league tryout in relief. The benefits include that he already has a spot on the forty man roster, the drawbacks include that he himself is still recovering from his latest ailment, which limited him to 64 pitches of high quality work last night for the Drillers.
Xavier Cedeno hasn't quite been the shot of left handed rescue juice that I was hoping for this season, but for last night, at least, he showed that maybe he could be going forward with two scoreles innings and a 5-1 GB/FB rate. Adam Bright hasn't been that shot of left-handed rescue juice, either, for multiple seasons now, but he too pitched well in one perfect inning, striking out two. Could either of these guys usurp Alan Embree? If last night was the most typical result for them this season, I would say so, but unfortunately it hasn't been. Really, though, this isn't that high standard of achievement we're talking about. Step it up guys, there's a golden opportunity in Denver.
Austin Chambliss and Edgmer Escalona are good to think about. In relation to 2010, 2011. Probably not 2009, but theoldgrizzlybear was right on Sunday to bring Escalona up. He's having a big time breakout performance this season, and if there was going to be a guy this year who made the move from Modesto to the majors, it probably would be him.
Mike Paulk isn't going to help our bullpen but he had three hits and a walk. Anthony Jackson hit his fourth home run.
Meanwhile in Modesto, Joey Williamson keeps on winning. He's now 8-0 on the season, 17-0 on the career, after starting and pitching five innings of two hit, two walk, six strikeout work against the not quite as prospect laden, but still very strong San Jose team. On the depth chart of our long relievers/spot starters, Williamson ranks below much of the Colorado Springs and Tulsa rotations, but there's likely something there that will have him moving up. I started going off on a long tangent about Williamson and Rockies philosophy here, instead I'll just make a separate post out of it. Expect it some time today. Probably. It fits in with something else I've been working on, so it might just be a chapter in a saga.
Could Matt Reynolds be the shot of lefty juice? 50 K to 7 BB has a lot of people looking at him as an answer. No reason really not to, but keep in mind that there's probably limited upside. If you recall Josh Newman's results were similar at the level, albeit with a lot more walks, but you'll note that Newman's career has regressed in the PCL with Kansas City's Omaha affiliate this year. Reynolds ability to throw strikes may help him avoid the same kind roadblock, but be careful not to get too eager until we see him repeating the performance at higher levels.
Hector Gomez and Jay Cox each had two hits, Matt Repec had a key two run double in the win.
The schoolyard bullies, er..., Tri-City Dust Devils, continue to go around whalloping opponents. I wonder if we just switched this team with Asheville straight up if there would be that much difference in the level of play. Asheville might actually be quite a bit better with the Tri-City roster. Don't believe me? Fun fact: the average Tourists hitter has been 21.5 years old this season, the average pitcher 21.6. Tri-City's average hitter has been 22.0, their average pitcher, 22.3.
Alright, so looking at the D-Devils pitchers in connection with the Rockies bullpen, we've got some really nice performances from three at least mildly intriguing pitchers and one awful performance from a pitcher who had been fine up until last night. We'll let Eric Federico's performance slide out of our memory as a mulligan, but check out the dominance of lefties Rob Scahill and Wes Musick. Each pitched three scoreless innings, Scahill struck out five allowing one hit, Musick struck out six allowing two walks and an HBP. They combined for a 5-1 GO/AO rate on the other outs. I'd like to have been there to see both these pitchers as they're two of my favorite middle round picks from the draft. Scahill throws a 90-92 mph sinker and has a solid slider. What's holding him back from elite status is the development of his changeup and a history that includes labrum surgery. He's now thrown six innings with a 7/1 GB/FB rate on his season giving up just one hit with 9 K's. If we're thinking about upgrades to Alan Embree, Scahill should be one very quickly. Believe it or not, with that kind of stuff it's possible as soon as this season, but it would be nice instead if we can see what he becomes as a starter, which makes a rapid track like that unlikely. Musick has a slightly slower FB, but good sink with it and the Rockies are going to try and revive his once promising secondary stuff. Definitely not this year, but keep an eye on these two.
The other pitcher of note for the D-Devils yesterday was Rod Scurry, who's become more of a submariner this season, supposedly, which seems to be helping his results some. Keep an eye on him, too.
As for the bats, lots of players got hits, including two more dingers for Mike Zuanich, who we've been ignoring because of his age, but has 4 HR now, and really dingers are dingers. This gets our attention.
Speaking of which, Kyle Hancock gave up a three run homer, a two run homer and a sac fly in the first inning but eventually settled down for four innings of quality work. This is the opposite of his first outing with the Ghosts that started well, but ended badly. If he could just put that kind of start with this kind of finish, he'll be alright. Not going to work in our bullpen right now, though.
Chandler Laurent had three hits in the loss.