Over the first week plus of the season, the Colorado Rockies bullpen has been as good as hoped for. While the middle relievers have had their struggles (looking at you Jordan Lyles) the back of the bullpen has been stellar. Greg Holland, Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino, Carlos Estevez and Jake McGee have delivered when called upon.
The Rockies won six of their first nine games by a combined total of eight runs. When given a lead the Rockies pen has delivered in a big way, earning six saves. They’ve also earned three wins by keeping the game tied or close long enough for the offense to come through with some timely hits. They earned the Bullpen of the Week nod from MLB.com with a very impressive score of 98.
The peripherals are even better. Holland, Dunn, Ottavino, Estevez and McGee have combined for 23 appearances covering 21 2⁄3 innings. Of the 78 batters faced, they have struck out 33 of them and allowed only ten hits and eight walks. That’s a 42 percent strikeout rate against a 10 percent walk rate. In case you are wondering, that’s some really good pitching. The end result has been a lot of frustrated hitters and only three earned runs. That’s a 1.25 ERA.
It’s still early in the season, the sample size is small, and things can still fall apart, but there’s one thing that we as fans can do to help ensure that they continue to have a great season. Give them an awesome nickname. So I submit to you the following options:
Greg and the DEMO Squad
This one was born from a suggestion from Eric Garcia McKinley that they could be OMG for Ottavino, McGee and Greg (Holland). I felt that it shorted the bullpen a bit since Mike Dunn and Carlos Estevez look to be solid contributors as well. Using the last letters of all five relievers resulted in the letter HOMED, which is also the only actual word in the English dictionary to use all five of those letters. Needless to say, HOMED is not a very good name for a bullpen.
When looking at the four letter possibilities, though, DEMO stood at because it can be short for demolition, which is what this group of relievers does to opponents' chances of staging a comeback against the Rockies. Since Holland has been the designated closer, I felt it proper to give him the lead role. Thus: Greg and the DEMO squad.
The downside to this nickname is the rigidness of it. A big-league bullpen rarely stays the same through an entire season. If one of the five starts to under-perform and is replaced in the back of the pen by a different reliever, the nickname falls apart—unless it’s a really lucky swap like Jairo Diaz for Dunn.
Mile High Heat
Besides being able to close out opposing offenses, the other commonality they all have is the ability to throw fastballs at high speeds. Estevez is currently averaging 96.2 mph on his fastball, and Jake McGee’s average fastball is 95.3. Ottavino, Dunn and Holland don’t clock that high on a consistent basis but have all shown the capability to bring the heat when needed. Based upon those observations, Adam Peterson suggested Mile High Heat.
Unlike the DEMO squad, Mile High Heat has the advantage of not being pitcher specific. Diaz or any other pitcher joining the bullpen in a month or two doesn’t pose any issues so long as they can throw a fastball in the mid-90s.
The Denver Broncos defense has earned the moniker “Orange Crush” at various times in their franchise history. The Rockies wear purple rather than orange; however, there is also a grape flavored crush soda, which just so happens to be purple. While we are coming up with a name for a bullpen as opposed to the defense, the Rockies bullpen is tasked with the same job as the Broncos defense, stifling opposing offenses.
Like Mile High Heat, this nickname is not pitcher dependent and is also not dependent on a replacement being able to throw a fastball in the mid-90s. It also establishes a connection between the Rockies and the Broncos which may or may not be a good thing.
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In order to pick the best nickname that will spur the Rockies bullpen on for a full season of dominance, we need your help. If you have a creative nickname for the pen, please share it in the comments. We will take the best suggestions and compile a poll later this week to have the community vote on the best one. If you like someone else’s suggestion, be sure to give it a rec so we can see which ones are the most popular.