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Austin House and the Isotopes bullpen demand your attention

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The Rockies Triple-A affiliate is finding strength in its bullpen

The Isotopes suffered a 6-4 defeat on Monday night in Memphis, a loss that brought them down to only one game over .500 on the season and knocked them to two and a half games back of the Salt Lake Bees in the division.

The loss wasn’t too special, baseball is a long season and there will be plenty of losses to go around, but it was unique for the Isotopes in one way this year. Their bullpen suffered the defeat. Reliever CC Lee gave up two earned runs in the defeat, bumping his ERA to 2.95 and giving him his first loss of the year.

Austin House came in with a clean eighth inning and the Isotopes failed to score for the next two frames, but the loss isn’t indicative of how good the Isotopes bullpen has been to start this year.

Start with House, the 26-year-old righty acquired in 2014 for Mark Canha has only surrendered one earned run in 19 innings this season. A 0.47 ERA with 19 strikeouts to only six walks. House’s command is his bright spot, as noted in this Baseball Census scouting report, his stuff isn’t incredible but he’s driving enough results that it is starting to command attention from anyone looking for a live arm ready for the major leagues (just in case).

House struck out two last night in a scoreless inning for the Isotopes, it’s now been eight and one third straight scoreless for the reliever.

C.C. Lee is another shrewd pickup by the Rockies that may be paying some dividends. The 30-year-old isn’t going to make anyone turn their heads, but the minor league free agent signing giving the MLB club ANY value is a win for the Rockies at this point. Lee’s scouting report can be found here. His stuff may be a tick better than House’s all things considered, with a 94 MPH fastball that runs in on right handed hitters and gives his slider extra room to be a strikeout pitch.

Beyond discoveries like House and Lee, the Rockies have prospects we’ve heard of headlining the bullpen. Matt Carasiti has been immaculate in closing this year. Eight saves in eight opportunities. He’s allowed only two runs all season (one earned on a solo home run), he’s stuck out 15, and he’s shown an improved command of the strike zone only walking four batters so far (Carasiti walked 11 in 15 big league innings last year). Jerry Vasto has continued to break out, only surrendering three hits in seven innings of work and zero runs. Vasto may be the most electric arm in the Isotopes bullpen, the lefty was outstanding in Modesto and Hartford in 2016 and if he continues to dominate hitters in the PCL he may be the first of this bunch to find themselves in Denver.

Vasto’s full scouting report can be found here, he’s long been a favorite of Purple Row.

With Tapia in Denver and Hoffman on the fringe of joining him, the Isotopes bullpen may be the most exciting piece of the Rockies Triple-A affiliate.

Other news and notes from the affiliates are below:

Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds 6, Albuquerque Isotopes 4

Mike Tauchman: 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI

C.C. Lee: 2 IP, 2 ER, 3 K

Austin House: 1 IP, 2 K

Double-A: OFF
Single-A Advanced: Lancaster JetHawks 12, Stockton Ports 10

Peter Lambert (No. 11 PuRP): 6 IP, 9 K, 2 H, 2 R

Wes Rogers: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI

Brian Mundell: 1-for-3, 2 BB, RBI

Brendan Rodgers (No. 1 PuRP): 1-for-5, 2 R

Single-A: Asheville Tourists 13, Hagerstown Suns 2

Vince Fernandez: 4-for-4, 3 2B

Colton Welker (No. 19 PuRP): 3-for-5, 2B, HR, 5 RBI

Willie Abreu: 2-for-4, 2 RBI

Brandon Gold: 5 IP, 2 R, 6 K

Tuesday Probables:

Triple-A Albuquerque: TBD vs. Memphis

Double-A Hartford: Sam Howard (0-3, 2.14 ERA) vs. Portland (Game One), Ryan Castellani (1-4, 6.00 ERA) vs. Portland (Game Two)

Single-A Advanced Lancaster: Jesus Tinoco (1-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. Modesto

Single-A Asheville: Erick Julio (3-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Hagerstown