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Rockies catchers show promise that overshadows their inexperience

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Rockies news and links for January 15, 2017.

Rockies betting Tony Wolters, Tom Murphy will grow up quickly behind the plate | Denver Post

It’s happened more than once this offseason where somebody, somewhere, says something like “the Rockies are a Matt Wieters signing away from competing.” My views of the Rockies’ catcher situation have led me dismiss such things. On the contrary, I’ve been looking at the catcher situation as set and ready to go. Wolters and Murphy, Murphy and Wolters.

Patrick Saunders reminds us that while it really does look like it will be the duo of Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy situated at catcher, they are still less of a sure thing than I might have been assuming. They’ve only started a combined 78 major-league games at catcher. That’s not to say that the Rockies should add a catcher who will take playing time away from either of them. It’s only to say that they haven’t had too much seasoning in the majors.

Catcher isn’t an area of concern, but it could be an area of high variability. The major questions, in my mind, are whether Wolters’s defense and game calling remain superlative enough to cover his questionable bat, and whether Murphy can learn how to not strike out so damn much. I’ve no doubt they both still have things to learn about handling catching duties on a daily basis. It has to happen in the majors.

The 100 greatest Colorado Rockies: No. 92, Jeromy Burnitz | Rox Pile

Ben Macaluso continues his series and ranks Burnitz at 92, despite the fact that he played just one season with the Rockies. If Neifi Pérez isn’t in the top 50 I’m gonna be mad.

Silly Baseball Faces Visual | Daren Willman

This is a simply fantastic combination of whimsy and insight. Daren Willman, the creator of Baseball Savant and the Director of Baseball Research and Development for Major League Baseball, created statistically based smiley faces for a slew of major league hitters. Here’s how to interpret the handful of relevant screengrabs below:

Cheek color is based on average exit velocity, the rosier the higher.

Eyes represent swing and miss, the larger the eyes the more holes in the bat.

Head size reflects home runs, more dingers means more melon.

Hat color refers to ISO, the redder the better.

The mouth is batting average, the smilier the mouth the higher the average.

And now, the images. First, here’s Trevor Story. Nice sized head, hat a sexy shade of red, as are the cheeks, and eyes not too big. Very good.

Here’s a two-fer. Nolan Arenado looks happy and ready to handle. His hat and cheeks scream power and his eyes are sharp. Chris Carter, while showing off a great hat, has eyes and a mouth shape symptomatic of and possibly resultant from seeing pitched baseballs that he’s simply going to swing and miss at.

Another current Rockies player and a still possible future one, Charlie Blackmon and Mark Trumbo. Trumbo’s not frowning as much as you’d think, and the head is large enough that it’s starting to lose its crimson hat. The eyes bug a bit. Charlie Blackmon’s eyes, however, are a little beady. The pinkish hat and cheeks speak to power whose value is heightened when you remember he’s a centerfielder who also hits leadoff. It almost looks like it’s not a humanoid face at all. That is, until, you look at our final image.

Uh, DJ LeMahieu is more bird than person here. Those tiny eyeballs are almost overtaken by the pupil, and that smile can only be called beakish, pointing to an average exit velocity that’s almost certainly higher than you would have expected it to be. New Rockies player Ian Desmond’s mouth is on the right side of smile, but the eyes are looking a little big.

That’s all I need to write the sentence, which I didn’t even know was anywhere inside me: I’d still prefer the bulbous heads of Mark Trumbo or Chris Carter at first base.