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Saturday Rockpile: Josh Rutledge takes a walk

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The Rockies second baseman has seen a dramatic improvement in his plate discipline in 2013.

Josh Rutledge doing something he's been doing much more often in 2013, not swinging the bat.
Josh Rutledge doing something he's been doing much more often in 2013, not swinging the bat.
Justin Edmonds

Of all the ghastly stats from the 2012 Rockies season, the one that surprised me the most was perhaps the fact that Josh Rutledge walked just nine times in 291 plate appearances. That was good for a shockingly low walk rate of just 3.1%.

However, Rutledge has already surpassed his 2012 walk total in 2013, this season he has walked 10 times in 116 plate appearances, his 2013 walk rate of 8.6% is right about in line with the league average.

However, thanks to some poor BABIP luck (his .250 BABIP this year is down 65 points from his rookie season), his OBP has improved by just one point, from .306 to .307. However, that BABIP number should change, as our own Chacinisthefuture points out, Rutledge's expected BABIP this season is .331.

Rutledge's increased walk numbers stem mainly from an improvement in his pitch selection. So far in 2013, he is swinging at 28.2% of pitches outside of the strike zone, as opposed to 38.2% last year.

Whether you attribute Rutledge's improved plate discipline to the tutelage of Dante Bichette, maturity, or simply a return to his pre-2012 walk numbers, his increased walk rate, and by proxy his increased ability to get on base, makes him a much better candidate to bat second and makes the Rockies lineup just that much more dangerous.

Links:

Rockies notes: Belisle takes blame for loss; Tulo, Fowler injury updates - Denver Post
Patrick Saunders provides a late-night blog from last night with notes from the 7-4 loss to the Rays and updates on the statuses of Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler.

Sky Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz punishing Triple-A hitters this season - Denver Post
Irv Moss has a feature in today's Denver Post on Drew Pomeranz, who has posted a 2.54 ERA in five starts in Colorado Springs this year.

Happy Birthday, Rene Lachemann - Brew Crew Ball
Brew Crew Ball takes a moment to wish a happy 68th birthday to former Brewers manager and current Rockies first base coach Rene Lachemann.