Welcome to the 20th Purple Row edition (and 125th overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we don't forget about baseball while counting down to a holiday weekend. Let's get into it...
Today is the first day of September, which means that October is approaching quickly, which means that the MLB postseason is approaching quickly. September brings the return of college football and the NATIONAL FOOTBAW LEAGUE, but it's also a great month for baseball fans like us.
The Rockies, obviously, will not have much of an impact on the September races. Not current Rockies, anyway. Lots of one-time regualrs at Coors Field will be playing a major role in who gets in, who doesn't, and what happens when the postseason starts.
(For the most part, I'm only looking at players on teams' active roster as of Monday here, so no September call-ups. All stats and standings through games played Monday.)
We begin in the National League...
St. Louis Cardinals: 85-46, Five-game lead in NL Central
The Cardinals have compiled baseball's best record without any former Rockies on the active roster. Of course, Matt Holiday would be a key component of their lineup, but he's currently shelved on the 15-Day DL. He hopes to be back in time for the postseason. Matt Belisle is also on the Cards' DL.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 79-50, 5 GB in NL Central, 5.5-game lead in WC1
The team with the 2nd-best record in the National League doesn't have any active former Rockies either. (I wonder if there's something to this.) Rob Scahill, a Rockies draft pick who pitched here from 2012-2014 is currently on Pittsburgh's DL.
Of course, manager Clint Hurdle is calling the shots for the Bucs. As of this morning, he's compiled a 412-365 (.530) record in Pittsburgh over five years. He won the Manager of the Year award in 2013 and was the runner up last season. He was 534-625 (.461) over six full seasons and parts of two more as manager in Colorado.
The more I think about it, it's pretty interesting that the National League's two best teams have three Rockies on their combined rosters and all of them are on the DL. How fitting.
Chicago Cubs: 74-56, 10.5 GB in NL Central, 5.5-game lead in WC2
Fowler's play of late is what got me thinking about putting this post together in the first place. The Cubs just keep winning, and while much has been said about their homegrown youth movement, Fowler has been a key. He's having his second solid season since leaving Colorado, but unlike in Houston last year, this one should lead to a postseason appearance. Since July 11th, Fowler is hitting .323/.446/.570. The Cubs are 28-14 over those 42 games. Fowler has 12 doubles, three triples, and seven homers in that stretch. His 15 homers on the year are already a career high.
Another homegrown Rockie is on the Cubs' roster, though Jonny isn't having much of an impact. He's appeared in 70 games, compiled 128 plate appearances and an OPS of just .553. Defensively he's played second, third, and shortstop. Seems to be a similar role to the one he played when he was in town.
Hammel is having another good year in his post-Rockie life. He's taking the ball every fifth day for a should-be playoff team and pitching pretty well. His ERA is 3.42 and his FIP is 3.62. He's averaging 9.1 SO/9 and just 2.0 BB/9. Hammel has put together a nice little career since leaving town. What an incredibly unique concept!
New York Mets: 73-58, 6.5-game lead in NL East
Cuddyer got off to an awful start in New York, racking up a slash line of just .243/.289/.354 in 75 games through July 5th. That's an OPS of .643! That's really bad! But in the 24 games (15 starts) since then, sandwiched around a DL stint, Cuddy has been mashing to a tune of .391/.440/.623. Trading for Yoenis Cespedes helped the Mets' offense, but so has Cuddyer's resurgence.
Uribe started his career in Colorado way back in 2001. He played his first three years here and never really did much. (314 games, .258/.298/.408). Uribe has managed to carve out a long, respectable career since. This season he's played 29 games for the Dodgers, 46 for the Braves, and 29 (and counting) for the Mets. He's been an average hitter for the Mets (Literally. OPS+ of 100) but average hitters are what the Mets needed and his arrival has given them a boost. They're 20-9 in games in which he's played.
If I'm honest, I had no recollection of Torres' time in Colorado. (I hope we can still be friends.) He pitched in 31 games for the 2012 Rox and the team record in his appearances was 9-22. He's been with the Mets since. In '13 and '14 he was pretty solid, but this year he's slipped a bit, with an ERA over 4. That said, he'd probably be the most reliable arm in the Rockies' bullpen this year.
That's it for the Mets. One time I had a neat dream where Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz were all on Rockies but that hasn't happened in real life. YET!
Washington Nationals: 66-64, 6.5 GB in NL East
Everyone's World Series favorite continues to stumble and figures to be watching the postseason on TV. Can't blame any former Rockies though!
Los Angeles Dodgers: 73-57, 4.5-game lead in NL West
After one injury-shortened season in Colorado, Anderson has managed to stay healthy in L.A. (Of course he has!) and has made 26 starts. He's managed to bring some stability to the Non-Greinke-or-Kershaw rotation, posting a 3.43 ERA in 152.1 innings so far.
After three unstable years in Denver, Nicasio's first year with another organization has been a success. (Of course it has!) Nicasio works primarily out of the 'pen now (save one start against... the Rockies) and has been good, compiling a 3.04 ERA and a 2.83 FIP.
You know, the Rockies could really use a guy like that in their bullpen. Or rotation.
(But seriously, after all Juan has been through it's nice to see him have success. I wish it wasn't with the Dodgers, but still.)
San Francisco Giants: 69-62, 4.5 GB in NL West, 5.5 GB in WC2
It seems like neither the Dodgers nor the Giants want to win the NL West. One of them will, though. If it's the Giants, they'll do it without the help of any former Rockies, unless Jeremy Affeldt comes off the 15-Day DL.
Switching over to the American League...
Kansas City Royals: 80-50, 13-game lead in AL Central
You may or may not recall that Guthrie was once a pitcher with the Colorado Rockies. You also may recall that as a pitcher with the Colorado Rockies, Guthrie was not very good at pitching. Following a heavy sigh, I suppose we needn't recall such horrors today. After two and a half years of solid pitching with the Royals, Guthrie has been pretty bad this season. So that's nice. In 23 starts he's got an ERA of 5.62 and a FIP of 5.39. His WHIP is 1.56. I can't imagine Guthrie getting a start in the postseason. Maybe he can chill in the 'pen and playfully harass ball boys come October.
Frank the Tank has settled into a 7th-inning role with Kansas City and has performed very well. On the year, in 54 innings over 55 appearances, Morales' ERA is just 2.17 . However, a closer look exposes downright dominance. In 41 appearances dating back to May 15th, Morales has a 1.35 ERA and just a .190 batting average against. Morales will likely play a key role as the Royals attempt to win the World Series.
I can not confirm whether or not he still fidgets with his hat and wipes brow between every pitch or maintains the attention span of a hummingbird on crack while on the mound. I hope so.
Minnesota Twins: 67-63, 13 GB in AL Central, 1 GB in WC
The surprise contenders in the American League are doing it with no connections to the Rockies on their active roster.
Toronto Blue Jays: 74-57, 1.5-game lead in AL East
Let's see... Trying to think here... Any former Rox on the Jays?
I'll be brief, since I know most of you are on top of this one. Tulo hasn't been all that good with the Blue Jays, but they've done nothing but win since he came to town. He's hitting .231/.333/.385 in Toronto. He hit .300/.348/.471 this year for the Rox.
Hawkins, at age 42, has been nearly perfect for Toronto. In 12 appearances, he's given up one earned run. He's struck out 11 and walked two. He's got one win and one save.
If the Jays hold on and make the postseason, Hawkins will be my favorite storyline in the whole damn thing.
(Also of note: The Blue Jays called up Jeff Francis today. That means the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays have three guys who were on the 2007 Rockies. The 2015 Rockies have zero.)
New York Yankees: 72-58, 1.5 GB in AL East, Four-game lead in WC1
No connections to the evil empire. That's probably for the best.
Houston Astros: 73-59, Four-game lead in AL West
You'd be forgiven if you don't remember Will Harris in a Rockies uni. The Rox drafted him in 2006. He pitched 20 games as a late-season call-up in 2012. After a couple years in Arizona, Harris is having an excellent year as a late-inning reliever for the upstart Astros. He's got a 1.40 ERA in 58 innings while striking out a batter per frame. Who knew?!
McHugh made four starts for the Rox in 2013, going 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA. His opponents hit .384 off him! Holy crap. Anyway, after an excellent 2014 season, he's made 26 starts for the 'Stros this year and his been about league average with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.276 WHIP.
Texas Rangers: 68-62 4 GB in AL West, One-game lead in WC2
The Rangers are on fire and are doing it without any old Rox.
So to wrap it up, a handful of old friends who once wore purple pinstripes have moved on to teams that are doing relevant and important things in Major League Baseball in 2015. Specifically, keep your eye on Tulo, Fowler, Cuddyer, Anderson, Nicasio, and Morales. They all figure to be prominent pieces to the postseason puzzle.
How do you feel when you see former Rockies go on to have success with another organization? Are you happy for them? Or does their success just rub salt in the wound during an awful Rockies season like this?
Now we proceed to the weekly departments...
Proudly presenting the 2015 CFB head shot of the year: Nebraska DE Ross Dzuris pic.twitter.com/ilgKzwBWk3— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) August 27, 2015
Vin Scully has seen these people in his career as a broadcaster Cubs SS Addison Russell: Born 1994 A's Manager Connie Mack: Born...1862— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) August 29, 2015
Odell Beckham Jr. is warming up for the regular season. pic.twitter.com/CRbEhxuRdq— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) August 30, 2015
Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with post ideas, videos, or other media I should know about. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.