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The Rockies lost, but Jon Gray was outstanding last night

Rockies news and links for September 9, 2015.

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Rockies waste Jon Gray's five shutout innings in loss to Padres - The Denver Post

Unless Jon Gray has a mental barrier that will prevent him from actualizing his pitching potential without a Pitcher Win, I don't really care how long it takes for it to come.

It's true that a Pitcher Win does, to a degree, indicate a good start. Though that's not always the case. But it is always the case that a Pitcher Win means that the team won. It just doesn't really matter to whom the Pitcher Win is allocated. Good pitchers tend to accrue Pitcher Wins incidentally because they often find themselves on the favorable side of the mostly arbitrary parameters that have to be fulfilled to secure a Pitcher Win. You'll notice incongruence between Pitcher Win storifying and the words from Walt Weiss and Jon Gray, both of whom address the more significant aspects of Gray's start last night.

Gray was brilliant yesterday in San Diego. He had command. His fastball had movement. He generated whiffs. He showed he could throw his slider for a strike. He showed he could throw his slider for a strike and still get batters to swing and miss. His changeup even sparkled.

But just like Gray's bad outings, we shouldn't overreact to a single start. Last night's start doesn't destine Gray for greatness any more than his previous two bad outings consigned him to mediocrity, or worse. So let's avoid the #take whiplash that comes with re-evaluating Gray's future with every start. We'll know just a little bit more about Gray after each one, but exhibiting patience while taking in that information will ultimately provide a clearer picture of what the Rockies have in Jon Gray.

And yet, we do have cumulative information about Gray. The information accounts for his good and bad starts. And here, the sign is very good in one way, but that good sign highlights an area of worry. In 31 1/3 innings, Gray has been worth 0.7 fWAR. That's the good part. The bad part is that his fWAR ranks fifth among Rockies starters with at least 30 innings pitched. The four below him are David Hale, Eddie Butler, Yohan Flande, and Kyle Kendrick. They've combined to produce -1.4 fWAR. Gray has been worth more fWAR in just over 30 innings that those four players have in a few hundred. Jon Gray's outlook is good, but for the Rockies to succeed, he needs to be surrounded by (much) better starting pitching.

And like I said, if Gray thinks that getting a Pitcher Win is important, and he very well might, then I really hope he gets one as soon as possible (if he pitches more this year, which is not clear yet). From the outside looking in, however, he's doing well in the more significant areas of his game. It's those things that will lead to more team wins.

Rockies activate Corey Dickerson from DL |

Corey Dickerson has been battling plantar fasciitis so often this season that I forgot he was on the disabled list for a rib injury. Beth Maiman writes that Corey Dickerson hopes to return to the starting lineup and get some plate appearances this season. He has been reinstated from the disabled list, and he lined out in a pinch hit appearance last night. There is a chance he starts today.

Arenado making case for NL MVP |'s Jeff Nelson gives a quick video review of Nolan Arenado's excellent season so far. The conclusion is that Arenado has to be considered for the National League MVP. And to that I say: eh. Insofar as Arenado has probably been one of the ten best players in the NL this season, sure, he should be considered. But if I were a voter willing to give votes to players on a last place team (and I would be that type of voter), Arenado would probably be around six on my list for NL MVP this season.

Rockies Nolan Arenado has a chest contusion |

If you missed Monday's game, Nolan Arenado dove into the stands trying to catch a foul ball. It was more anxiety-inducing than it was exciting, as it looked like he bent in odd directions on the way down. He ended up with a chest contusion. Beth Maiman of has some light-hearted quotes from Arenado, who said that he was hoping the crowd would break his fall. Arenado also indicated that his instinct led him to take the dive. It would have been cool if he caught it, but I think it would be cooler if Arenado can temper that instinct from time to time.

MLBTR Podcast Featuring Rockies GM Jeff Bridich - MLB Trade Rumors

Disclosure: I Haven't listened to this yet; however, I'm sure it's compelling, and it's on my list. It should be on your list, too, and I encourage spoilers in the comments.

10 Degrees: How baseball is to blame for Matt Harvey, and what he should do going forward - Yahoo Sports

This is worth a read from beginning to end, but the most pertinent point is fifth one, about Carlos Gonzalez. Jeff Passan writes that CarGo's second half has been literally Bondisan. He has a .473 ISO, which is a figure last posted by Barry Bonds in 2003. Passan suggests that with CarGo's swelled trade value, small market teams who won't be able to afford the money or years that players like Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Dexter Fowler will demand might be in play for CarGo.

Joey Votto leads all second half a lot - Beyond the Box Score

Speaking of CarGo's second half, he's been among the best hitters in baseball since the All-Star break. But while CarGo's has been Bondsian, Joey Votto has done him one better in the only way possible: He's been Ruthian. Of course, these are all second-half stats. I suspect that CarGo's 2016 season ISO won't be .473 and that Votto's OBP won't be .580. Still fun!


Even in a Lost Season, September Matters - Rockies Zingers

This has become a common theme, but it is worth remembering. As long as Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado are playing, Rockies baseball in September will be interesting.