Well, this isn’t terribly encouraging. In a conversation with Nick Groke, new Rockies manager Bud Black seems to advocate for rigid bullpen roles, top to bottom. Groke summarizes:
Black said in his ideal bullpen, he would have a distinct closer, an eighth-inning setup man, a lefty specialist, a righty specialist, middle relief, a long man and a backup long man.
I’ve come around to accept that players like having the closer role defined, and that having one closer might be good for the team overall. (As long as it doesn’t mean losing an elimination game in the postseason game while the team’s best reliever is piddling around in the bullpen.)
But managers should be more nimble outside of that role. The more I hear from Black, the more I like the signing. But this sort of rigid view of the bullpen is a good way to let two or three games go over the course of a season. Given how competitive the National League West and Wild Card races should be, those games could matter a lot.
Prior to Tyler Anderson’s major-league debut, I didn’t know how emotional he was on the field. To me, he was his scouting report and limited statistics. If asked, I would have described him as a “polished college lefty who relies on control but has suffered setback due to injury.” I didn’t realize he was a bulldog on the field until seeing him pitch in the majors. Don’t scout the statline, they say, but it’s also useful to remember that player’s bring emotional profiles that sometimes don’t make their way into scouting reports.
Anderson starts the spring opener this afternoon. It’s a meaningless game. But, as Thomas Harding notes, “Anderson is a competitive fellow.” Indeed he is. He’ll pitch either two innings or 30 pitches this afternoon.
Come to the end of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jairo Díaz is one of the Rockies’ best relievers. Díaz missed all of 2016 to Tommy John surgery. If the fireballer has his command and velocity back, he could be a major contributor. Thomas Harding reports that he feels good and has faced live batters already this spring.
Even though he was among the youngest players in Double-A last season, it’s hard to see Ryan McMahon’s 2016 as anything other than a step backward. Circumstances could have played a role. He was learning first base, and the “Hartford” Yard Goats had no home. Still, if he was fast-tracked before, it’s likely the Rockies are pumping the breaks a bit now.