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Ranking the Rockies: No. 40 Michael McKenry regressed, and lost his job to the future

Michael McKenry will test the free agent waters this winter after a disappointing 2015 cut short by injury.

At least we'll always have Michael McKenry's walk-off home run!
At least we'll always have Michael McKenry's walk-off home run!
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies are in the middle of a re-build, no matter how hesitant those in charge may be to use the word. And all re-builds, regardless of the path a club may choose to take, have several things in common, including high player turnover and roster transition. Along the way, capable players become casualties of the future, in a system valuing youth as a rebuilding club attempts to attain long-term success.

Michael McKenry is a capable catcher who has lost his gig to the future, gone after being granted free agency earlier this month. In his stead, the Rockies will continue to employ veteran (presumptive) starter Nick Hundley, and several younger backup catchers. Dustin Garneau and Ryan Casteel are on that list, but obviously the name to watch (and the one that effectively pushed McKenry off the Rockies' roster) is prospect Tom Murphy.

McKenry regressed in 2015

McKenry's second stint in Denver the last two seasons was one of mixed success and failure. After a surprising 2014 (.315/.398/.512 with nine doubles and eight homers in 57 games), McKenry came back to earth this year, slashing just .205/.329/.402 in 152 plate appearances before missing the last several weeks of the season after knee surgery. As is true for most players, he got worse away from Coors Field, hitting just .159 (10-for-63) in 18 games.

McKenry slugged 10 of his 14 extra-base hits in May and June, including all three of his triples within a ten-day period in mid-June; after the Rockies' win on June 6, with McKenry having gone 2-for-5 with a triple, he was slashing .288/.382/.542. That was as good as it got for him in 2015.

From that moment on, McKenry saw his average drop 83 points, his on-base percentage 53 points, and his slugging percentage 140 points to his final slash line. In July and August combined -- nearly seven weeks of action -- McKenry went just 5-for-38 (.132) with two doubles and a home run, while striking out 12 times.

McKenry will land on his feet next year

To what degree Michael McKenry's end-of-season slump was due to knee problems, what portion was simply expected regression from a strong 2014 (at Coors Field, no less), and what may have been the inevitable slide of a player who deservedly lost his job to younger catchers are all fully up for debate.

You can certainly make the case that 2014's McKenry -- and by extension, the up-through-June-6 version of him this season -- is a strong backup backstop. That version of McKenry, with a healthy knee, will play for some ball club in 2016. It just won't be in Denver.

At least we'll always have this, y'all:

That was an absolute bomb, by the way. Like, holy crap.