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Wednesday Rockpile: Things That Are More Productive than the Rockies' Offense

1. Farmville

2. Arguing politics anything on the internet

3. The Department of the Redundancy Department

4. Sisyphus' Rock-Rolling

5. Resisting the Borg

If you haven't been made aware, the Colorado Rockies' offense has been putrid. To be more clear, they've been putrid of late especially, as this eight game stretch of 13 runs scored marks a franchise low. Dave Krieger calls the lineup a work in progress, detailing the mass regression of Colorado's young hitters this year. That's like calling a hacked off limb a flesh wound. Fun fact -- the Rockies' team slugging % this year is .392 and the team's OPS is .708. Also, Colorado either walks (8.9%) or strikes out (22.4%) in nearly one third of their plate appearances -- that's in the top 5 in MLB.

Here's the issue in addition to these offensive struggles that has really deepened Colorado's offensive swoon: the Rockies haven't distributed the runs they have scored efficiently at all. How bad has it been? So far in 2011, the Rockies have scored 3 or fewer runs in 34 of their 60 games (56.7%). Last year, which as I may remind you was hardly a banner year for the offense, Colorado scored 3 or fewer in 66 of their games (40.7%).

If Colorado was scoring even at last year's pace, they would have scored 3 or fewer in only 24 games so far. At Colorado's current winning pace when they score 4 or more runs (21-5, .807 win %), those extra ten games of 4+ runs would give the Rockies 8 more wins -- that's a 36-24 record.

I know, I know, it doesn't work like that, but my point is that if the Rockies were even scoring runs with a little tighter distribution around 4 instead of 3, they'd be above .500 right now. Yes, the 2010 team scored 4.75 runs/game while this year's iteration is at 4.18, but when I say the Rockies are the unluckiest team in the league now (I have before and I'll say it again), I'm not lying.

When you look at Baseball Prospectus' MLB standings, they have it broken out by actual wins as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd order wins -- which basically attempt to show what record that team deserves given its production. In 1st order wins (which is calculated with runs scored and runs allowed using the Pythagenport method), Colorado has the 2nd highest disparity, 2.8 wins lower than their stats say they should be.

When you move to 2nd order wins, which uses EQR and EQRA (which adjust for park factors), the Rockies are by far the biggest underachievers, coming in at -5.2wins. In 3rd order wins (which adjust for the relative strength of their opponents' hitting, pitching, and fielding), the Rockies again "lead" MLB, 5.4 wins below what would be expected of them. To put that in perspective, the team with the second highest 2nd and 3rd order wins disparity is the Braves at -3.2. The Rockies have been the most snakebit team in the league this year, and it hasn't been particularly close.

At the very least, the Rockies are playing like a .500 team this year. And yet, here they are scuffling four games below the .500 mark. Is this all bad luck? Well no, probably not (need to execute better, have better PAs, etc.), but a huge portion of it is just that what production the Rockies have had has come at an inopportune moment. Let us hope that last night's game marked the nadir for the offense's 2011 swoon.

Notes on the draft and some Rockies news after the jump.


MLB Draft

Colorado focused on position players on day two. With their first two picks of the 2011 MLB Rule 4 Draft's second day, the Rockies picked OF Carl Thomore of a New Jersey High School and C Peter O'Brien of Bethune-Cookman.

Thomore, described by Baseball America as a "grinder with plus power", overcame a horrific ankle injury last year to rebound to 2nd round status. Here's an article about him in March (with video) that even has a quote from a Rockies regional scout. Thomore sounds like he's going to sign:

"I'm going to get better every day," Thomore said. "In four years, I'll be an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies."

Meanwhile, O'Brien is described as a power-hitting catcher who may move to 1st base (though other reports see him sticking at catcher). Here's a scouting report and some video.

Steve Foster at Inside the Rockies has a nice summary of the 29 players the Rockies picked yesterday in the draft, including some links to scouting video. There is only one person on that list that is older than me. Yikes. For more information and to track day 3 action, make sure to follow along at Purple Row and keep this link from Rockies Roster open to see who Colorado picked in each round.

Irv Moss of the Denver Post echoes a comparison that others here and elsewhere have already made -- Tyler Anderson is like Jeff Francis but with a little more velocity.

Meanwhile, our own Russ Oates has a 2010 draft review up at SB Nation Denver.

Other Links

Bill Petti of Beyond the Boxscore wonders: Is the fact that Troy Tulowitzki is striking out less making him a worse hitter? Short answer -- his patience has come at the expense of making pitchers pay for leaving fastballs up in the zone. In fact, his fastball swing and miss rate has more than tripled from last year. It doesn't really make sense to me, but then again Tulo's entire season doesn't make sense. At all.

The Rockies couldn't find any takers for Jose Lopez after they put him on waivers, so they released him yesterday. If only they could release that $3.6 million salary too...

Charlie Blackmon had a whirlwind first day in the majors. Let's hope that his second day includes a Rockies win.

On a positive note, it looks like the Ubaldo Jimenez of old is back. Need proof? Will this gif of his 99 MPH "splitter" to Brad Hawpe last night convince you?

Finally, Grant has his power rankings again...and this time ti's best drafted player names.