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Starting pitching should continue to be a strength for the Rockies

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Rockies news and links for October 13, 2018

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Colorado Rockies: Looking ahead to the 2019 rotation | Rox Pile
There aren’t a lot of pleasant memories that come to mind when thinking about the postseason that the Colorado Rockies experienced in 2018, largely because the offense became nonexistent. However, the starting rotation did not falter, as Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson and Antonio Senzatela all held their own and did more than enough to keep their team in position to win their games. The Rockies will have the starters to look forward to as a bright spot once again in 2019. These four are the most likely candidates to be a part of the rotation next season. Jon Gray’s spot isn’t assured, and Chad Bettis and Jeff Hoffman have all shown that they can be effective starters at times. Two of these three will be on the outside looking in.

As detailed by Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt, the best thing is that all of these starters will be around for multiple seasons. Bettis, the 29 year old “long-toothed veteran” will have his contract come off the books first after the 2020 season. Anderson and Gray will hit free agency after 2021, and all of Freeland, Marquez, Senzatela and Hoffman won’t be on the open market after 2022. The most talented component of the Rockies will be with the team for some time, which likely means the contention window shouldn’t be closing for at the very least another four years.

Rockies Insider: Assessing whether Colorado should upgrade at catcher this offseason | The Denver Post
The 2017 season showed the catching position to be a clear weakness for the Rockies. After 2018, we unfortunately don’t have much better to say. Chris Iannetta was coming off a 2017 that saw him slash .254/.354/.511 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. If that production carried over to 2018, it certainly would have been a boon to the Rockies’ offense, but Iannetta saw his slash drop to .224/.345/.385 in his second go-around with the Rox. Tony Wolters showed he still can’t hit Major League pitching, even if he’s defensively gifted and did pick up a timely hit in the National League Wild Card Game against the Chicago Cubs. Tom Murphy’s prodigious power sort of carried over to the MLB level, but his alarming 45.8% strikeout rate made him just as valuable with the bat as Wolters. Drew Butera was brought over in a waiver trade, but if anyone expected him to improve the position, they were fooling themselves.

In 2019, Butera will be a free agent, but the hope will be that at least one of Iannetta, Wolters and Murphy will turn things around. OR the Rockies could look to free agency, where Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos are the only two backstops who would have a clear starting role on whatever team they join. Grandal has a history with Performance Enhancing Drug use and Ramos has a history with injuries, but both are clear upgrades if the Rockies are looking for them. Kyle Newman and Jeff Bailey of The Denver Post break down the catcher market and offer a poll for you to include your say into what the Rockies should do behind the dish in 2019.

Pipeline names Rockies’ Prospects of the Year | Rockies.com
MLB Pipeline’s staff has ranked their Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year for each team. For the Rockies, Roberto Ramos (who came in at No. 25 on the midseason PuRPs balloting) wins Hitter of the Year honors, while Rico Garcia took home the award for Pitcher of the Year. Both finished the year with the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats. Looking back at the midseason PURPs polling thread, it’s nice to see that many of you had these two enter your rankings!

Thomas Harding of MLB.com spoke to Rockies senior player development director Zach Wilson about what he has seen from both in 2018, and his quotes are worth reading in full. Highlights include Wilson crediting Ramos for starting to be more selective at the plate and some very high praise for Garcia as well, with Wilson calling the latter “the real deal.”

Around Baseball

Let’s look back on last year’s free agent class | Royals Review
Max Rieper of Royals Review looks at how the 2017-2018 free agent class performed in the first year of their deals. It was a wacky offseason, with many star players taking until Spring Training to sign. Many of those that did had to settle for less money and years than what they had initially hoped for. The big acquisitions for the Rockies were three relievers- Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee. It wasn’t a good time to splurge on relief pitching as five of the seven players who signed multi-year deals and were below replacement level were relievers. Shaw and McGee were two of them. The two players on the list who weren’t relievers were Eric Hosmer, who the San Diego Padres signed to the biggest contract of the offseason (8 years, $144 million) and old friend Tyler Chatwood, who latched on with the Cubs for 3 years and $38 million. Hosmer basically became Ian Desmond for the season with -0.1 fWAR and a career-high 60% ground-ball rate. Chatwood walked an astounding 95 batters in 103 2/3 innings, while striking out 85.

We mustn’t forget about players like J.D. Martinez and Lorenzo Cain, however, who certainly backed up their earnings with performance. And Lance Lynn, Jhoulys Chacin and CC Sabathia also turned in good seasons for a lesser cost.

Arizona Diamondbacks to switch to synthetic grass at Chase Field | AZ Snake Pit
AZ Snake Pit passes along a press release from the Diamondbacks that officially announces that the team will use artificial turf beginning with the 2019 season. Understandably, the climate at Chase Field is not the greatest for growing natural grass, as the roof is closed much of the time. This will be something the Rockies will need to keep in mind as their make their journeys to Phoenix in the coming seasons

MLB continues its investigation after Pirates’ prospect Ji-hwan Bae is found guilty of assault in South Korea | The Athletic ($)
Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospect Ji-hwan Bae has been found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend on New Year’s Eve in 2017 in South Korea, reports The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel. This marks continued trouble for the Pirates organization, as Jung Ho Kang (also from South Korea) essentially missed two full seasons due to allegations of sexual assault and a third drunk driving offense which made him unable to obtain a work visa to the United States.

Hensley Meulens, Joe Espada among top candidates in Twins managerial search | Twinkie Town
There’s a managerial opening with the Minnesota Twins and there is no shortage of options. Maija Varda of Twinkie Town runs down the list of candidates.

A modest proposal for Wrigley Field’s landmark scoreboard | Bleed Cubbie Blue
Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue has some ideas for improving the scoreboard at Wrigley Field.