You’re reading the 2018 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at the season had by every player to play for the Rockies in 2018. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the least amount of rWAR and end up with the player with the most.
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No. 29, Brooks Pounders (-0.2 rWAR)
Brooks Pounders was drafted in 2009 in the second round by the Pirates out of Temecula (CA) High School. He spent the next seven years toiling in the Pirates and Royals systems before making his MLB debut on July 6, 2016 for Kansas City. He bounced was called up and optioned three times and made 13 MLB appearances that year with a 9.24 ERA, 13 strikeouts, and six (!) home runs.
On December 1, 2016, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for Jared Ruxer, who’s yet to appear above Double-A. Brooks Pounders started the 2017 season with the Salt Lake Bees and was called up five times over the course of the year. He made 11 appearances for the Angels, pitching 10 1⁄3 innings with 12 strikeouts and five walks en route to a 10.45 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. After he was sent back to Triple-A for the fifth and final time for the season he didn’t allow a run in 12 2⁄3 innings.
On November 6, 2017 he was granted free agency and signed a minor league deal with the Rockies 30 days later. He began the year in Triple-A Albuquerque but earned a call-up to the big league club on April 24 when the Rockies optioned Scott Oberg and his 6.55 ERA to the Isotopes.
Brooks Pounders ended up taking over mop-up duty in his 14 appearances over two months for the Rockies. In just three of those games was the score within three runs, and one of those he came in with a one run lead and left with a three run deficit. Two months after his call up, Scott Oberg replaced him on the active roster.
Overall he finished with a 7.63 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP over 15 1⁄3 innings pitched. He had 17 strikeouts against just two walks but allowed 25 hits, including three home runs. He was tied with Andrew Miller, Corey Knebel, Trevor Bauer, and Colin McHugh with a 13.3% swinging strike rate but also had the second highest BAbip (.458) among pitchers with at least 10 innings. He could miss bats, but when he didn’t the batter typically became a base runner.
He threw the last pitch of a 11-3 win over the Marlins on June 22. The next game pitch he threw came on June 29 against the El Paso Chihuahuas and each of the next 358 came at Triple-A. On October 9, 2018, Brooks Pounders was granted free agency by the Colorado Rockies.
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It may seem odd to go through the history of a guy who made 14 appearances for the Rockies over two months in 2018. Brooks Pounders did not have a great year for the Colorado Rockies. To this point he hasn’t had a great major league career. But the important thing is he’s had a major league career.
Baseball is a difficult sport. There are over 4500 players in the minor leagues, all hoping to someday get their shot at 750 roster spots in the big leagues. The path there is not a straight one. It’s not just a matter of getting drafted then just spending a year at each level and going onto the majors. Sometimes it means going back and forth between levels. Sometimes it means changing organizations a few times. The vast majority do not make it. The ones that do sometimes end up with a career 8.92 ERA.
But Brooks Pounders made it. He was the 18,785th player to debut in major league baseball. 4,851 have pitched in as many games (38) as Brooks Pounders. Exactly 200 have pitched as many games (14) for the Colorado Rockies.
Surely someone will pick up Brooks Pounders and see if they can turn the swing-and-miss potential into a viable big league reliever, but it probably won’t be the Rockies. Two years from now you’ll probably have forgotten Brooks Pounders ever played for the Rockies, or in the major leagues at all. He’ll probably never even be the answer for a Rockies Sporcle Quiz. But he was here.
His name is Brooks Pounders. And he was here.