Relief pitchers have made the word “fungible” common among baseball watchers. And because bullpens at any given moment are the sum of a handful of these volatile parts, they deserve the descriptor as well. Rather than simply wonder “who’s good this week?” and “who’s been bad?” we thought it would be useful to capture the state of the Rockies’ bullpen in that time-honored institution, the power ranking.
The Rockies’ bullpen roles and hierarchy has changed frequently this season. These completely subjective rankings should be viewed as temperature takings for the week. Obviously, past performance factors in, but who’s performing well right now also plays a role. Each of the voting members, Bryan Kilpatrick, Eric Garcia McKinley, Jordan Freemyer and myself, felt differently about some of the members of the ‘pen. These rankings are based upon the average of each of our individual polls.
Four members of the Rockies bullpen have been a part of the pen for the entire season so far: Greg Holland, Scott Oberg, Jake McGee, and Jordan Lyles. Chris Rusin started the season on the disabled list, while Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn have both spent some time on the DL during the season. The last member of the Rockies current bullpen, Antonio Senzatela, recently transitioned to the bullpen to make room for Jon Gray in the starting rotation.
Not counting the starting pitchers, who have made emergency bullpen appearances, there have been four other relievers used by the Rockies. Carlos Estévez has been racking up frequent flyer miles this season between Triple-A and the big league team. After starting the season on the roster and being optioned in April, Estévez has been recalled and optioned three more times already this season. Jairo Díaz and Shane Carle have each made the round trip from Albuquerque to the Rockies and back once. Chad Qualls was an ineffective member of the ‘pen between his two trips to the disabled list before being designated for assignment last week.
At the beginning of the season, the bullpen hierarchy was pretty clear. Holland closed games and Ottavino and Dunn were the primary setup options and pitching the seventh or eighth inning based upon left-right matchups. McGee was the substitute for all three if any of them needed a day off while Estévez and Oberg could fill-in or pitch in games where the Rockies were not leading. Rusin was the long-man when the team was leading and Lyles when the team wasn’t. Unfortunately, between injuries and changes to the ‘pen things are no longer as clear. Dunn and Ottavino have struggled as the season has progressed. When combined with injuries, figuring out the Rockies bullpen is a bit more confusing.
Without further delay, Purple Row’s bullpen power rankings (stats are from the last seven days):
Bullpen Power Rankings
Do you agree with our rankings? Be sure to let us know in the comments, and share your current power rankings of the Rockies’ bullpen.