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Monday Rockpile: Rockies Road Batting - Not the Key to Success?

The past several years, the Rockies batting on the road has been a cause for constant worry, pain, agony, and other depressing things like that. This past year, the Rockies posted a .242/.309/.374 batting line on the road, good for a 77 wRC+ (suggesting that after park adjustments, Rockies batters were 23% below average on the road). This isn't exactly a surprising thing, given that the Rockies have posted a MLB-worst 76 wRC+ since the 2007 season.

Well, here's the thing. We know that the Rockies have had trouble hitting on the road this and last year, as fixing the orad hitting was one of O'Dowd's goals of the offseason (and boy howdy did Ty Wigginton help out with that! Actually, the Rockies' jump from a 67 wRC+ technically is an improvement) and things were pretty awful this year as well. Factor in 2008's 76 wRC+, and we can assume the playoff years were the years with the best road hitting, because we won, right?

2007: 82 wRC+

2009: 78 wRC+


So technically, the assumption that the playoff years resulted in the best road batting is true, but we're not talking a night-and-day difference in production. 

What was different about 2007 and 2009 was the pitching. 2007, the Rockies had the best fWAR (despite very middle-of-the-road ERA-type numbers - you know, xFIP, SIERA, all that) in the NL. 2009, they had the best in the Majors (again, supporting numbers kind of filling in the gaps). 2008, they had a middling fWAR along with the corresponding numbers being similarly mediocre. 2010, the pitching was all there, 

Not uncoincidentally, 2007 and 2009 were two of the better batting seasons over the past 5 years or so.

So, it appears that the better the Rockies bat AND the better the Rockies pitch, the better the Rockies do.

The bats certainly need a step forward, but the pitching hasn't been this ineffective since 2005. The last time the Rockies pitching accumulated lower than 2011's 14.9 fWAR was 2005, and that season was only good for 13.9 fWAR.

I guess here's my point. The batting has been this bad before. The pitching, however, hasn't. This is why Armstrong is pushing so hard for pitching. This is why most everything we've read in the past several weeks have focused on the Rockies need for stable pitching.

Some of those pitching upgrades are going to just come from within. Things like Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio returning from injury and the continued development of Jhoulys Chacin, Alex White, and Drew Pomeranz are going to provide part of that pitching improvement. But this should just reiterate how important having SOMEBODY who can eat 200IP - or some facsimile thereof - over the course of the 2012 season is so important. We've mentioned names that could be looked at, such as Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Ricky Nolasco, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Cliff Lee (OBVIOUSLY), but it's clearly too early to really gauge our possibilities in landing these pitchers.

In MLB news, some weak pitching by Daniel Hudson and Brad Ziegler buried the Dbacks' chances of evening their series, and they have falled down 0-2 in the NLDS. The other 3 series are all tied at 1.

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