Jeff Bridich did nothing at this trade deadline and that’s okay. You can gripe or moan all you want, but I can guarantee you Bridich wasn’t doing nothing, there just weren’t deals that looked right. In a world where value and arbitrage are so important for a team in the Rockies’ position, I can’t fault Bridich for his inaction, especially considering the success his deals have produced up until this point. Some have come in bigger deals and some in lesser known ones, but there are five young players whom Bridich has identified and brought into the organization and have had great success in year No. 1.
No matter how you look at it, it’s inexplicable that Wolters is still losing the playing time battle to Nick Hundley. Right now, the only thing that sets them apart is Hundley’s veteran experience, which isn’t fair because Wolters can’t help his age. Initially, Wolters struggled offensively and that was why he wasn’t playing much, but his bat has since surpassed Hundley’s.
In 10 fewer games, Wolters has been more valuable at the plate, on the basepaths, and behind the dish. Their walk and strikeout rates are similar as well as their runs and RBI numbers. Hundley has a bit more power while Wolters provides more value on the basepaths, but for the sake of the argument, their offensive value is enough to squash the “Hundley’s bat is better” argument.
Wolters’ defensive wizardry has been well-documented on this site, but it can be perfectly summed up by these two tweets;
#Rockies' Tony Wolters ranks 7th of 94 MLB catchers in fielding runs above average, @baseballpro's all-encompassing defensive stat.— Purple Row (@PurpleRow) August 18, 2016
Wolters has had less playing -- in most cases, significantly -- than all six catchers who rank above him. FWIW, Garneau 71st, Hundley 90th— Purple Row (@PurpleRow) August 18, 2016
Final thing I’ll say about Wolters: the Rockies gave up nothing to get him. He was a waiver claim from the Cleveland Indians, who struck out on the trade deadline catching market when Jonathan Lucroy vetoed a deal with them. You can’t get much better in terms of value. Man, bet they wish they still had Wolters now, huh?
Glad he’s on our side.
Hoffman’s rocky debut aside (heh), he’s had one heck of a year in his first full professional season. I’ll say again: first full professional season. He was on the road to recovery in 2015 from a pre-draft Tommy John’s surgery and has really flourished this year in Triple-A Albuquerque, posting a 4.02 ERA in 118.2 innings along with a 24.2 strikeout percentage and a 8.6 percent walk rate.
For comparison, Jon Gray was slightly worse in Triple-A before his call-up last year, and we know how good he’s been this year. Gray posted a 4.33 ERA in 114.1 innings with a 21.7 strikeout percentage and 8.1 percent walk rate. Similar numbers for both pitchers and similar time frames for the call-up. For those wondering if there’s a plan in place, the above numbers provide some proof, albeit in a small sample size.
It’s way too early to pass judgement on the value of the Tulo trade. It will take years to really determine a “winner,” and a lot of that hinges on the success of Hoffman.
Marquez seems to be the gem of the Corey Dickerson - Jake McGee trade. Out of the four players included (prospect Kevin Padlo also went to Tampa Bay in the deal), Marquez is the only one who has significantly produced in 2016. McGee has struggled out of the Rockies bullpen, Dickerson has a 91 wRC+ in 109 games, and Padlo is hitting .221 in High-A.
Marquez, on the other hand, has produced a 3.53 ERA in 148 innings this year. He posted a 22.8 strikeout percentage and a stellar 6.0 percent walk rate at Double-A Hartford before earning a call-up to Albuquerque a few weeks ago. He’s been just as good in Triple-A; his strikeout rate is up to 28.2 percent and his walk rate has stayed the same at 6.5. Marquez has a chance to contribute for the Rockies next year and Bridich deserves credit for bringing him into the organization.
Again, it’s too early to judge the value, but the early return seems promising.
Yency Almonte and Wander Cabrera
Almonte and Cabrera need to be talked about in the same vein. Both of these pitchers were acquired in dump-off trades involving Tommy Kahnle and Rex Brothers, respectively. They’ve vastly outperformed their trade counterparts at lower levels of competition, but prove that every move counts.
Almonte has been stellar across two levels for the Rockies. He started the year in the launching pad known as the California League and earned his way to Double-A Hartford, where he’s allowed only three runs in 13 innings for the Yard Goats. Almonte has a mid- to high-90’s fastball and needs to develop an average offspeed pitch to be a major-league starter, but the fastball has life and makes him a very exciting prospect.
Cabrera is just 18 years old and still in the Dominican Summer League, but he’ll be stateside in 2017. In 482⁄3 innings, he’s allowed only 13 runs and has struck out 51 batters. We won’t have any idea how good he truly will be until he faces some better competition, but to get an exciting young prospect for a guy who is out of baseball a year later? That’s a deal I’d take every time.
Kahnle has struggled with the Chicago White Sox, producing 14 walks and 13 strikeouts in 15.2 innings in the majors. Brothers didn’t even make it out of the Chicago Cubs’ spring training camp; he was released March 10 and has yet to sign with another team. If one of Almonte or Cabrera can contribute for a few years at the major league level, the return will be considered a steal.