Yohan Flande was among the Colorado Rockies' 10 most valuable players in 2015.
I assure you, there are no typos in that previous sentence.
Flande was worth a full win above replacement on the mound, according to Baseball-Reference, ranking behind only Jorge De La Rosa and Chad Bettis (more on them later in this series) among Rockies hurlers. Flande's performance—4.74 ERA, 5.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 68⅓ innings—was good enough for a right-around-league-average 99 ERA+. The Flan Man provided the majority of his value out of the bullpen, posting a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings spanning nine appearances in the Rockies' swingman role.
Don't look now, but Flande has proved to be a serviceable—not great, good or really even average, but definitely serviceable—big league pitcher for two years running, putting up a 91 ERA+ in a decent 127⅓-inning sample size. Flande does it with a fastball and change-up combination, that is, per Fangraphs, above average in terms of value.
How about that?
The fastball isn't thrown particularly hard, averaging 90-91 mph, and Flande exhibits a velocity difference of only 5-6 mph between the heater (term used loosely) and change. But there's clearly enough deception there to allow him to not go full Kyle Kendrick (though Flande did allow 14 homers in his limited work in 2015).
In a nutshell, Flande is definitely not the worst pitcher on the staff. In fact, he's shown enough that the Rockies have chosen to keep him on the 40-man roster for two years running.
Here's the best thing I can say about Yohan Flande: The Rockies' decision to keep him during each of the last two offseasons is completely justifiable. Sure, a lot of that has to do with the state of the group of pitchers at the highest level of the organization. However, Flande deserves some credit, too. To show that, here is a list of pitchers who have at least 125 innings under their belts and a worse park-adjusted ERA than Flande over the last two years:
|42||Rubby De La Rosa||88||290.1|
Let's be real: Flande isn't going to be a significant contributor on the Rockies' next winning team. But, they have, can and will do worse than an average-ish 29-year-old left-hander who will earn the league minimum for at least the next two seasons.