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Antonio Senzatela finished 2018 as key part of Rockies rotation

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Senzatela began the year in the bullpen, but emerged to be a critical part of the Rockies season down the stretch

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.

★ ★ ★

No. 10, Antonio Senzatela (1.3 rWAR)

Antonio Senzatela had a good second season in the major leagues. He started off the season as the odd man out in the rotation but was placed in the bullpen to be the right-handed long reliever to complement lefty Chris Rusin. In May he spent some time in Albuquerque, and he also was put on the 10-day disabled list in June with a middle finger blister — going down at the same time as Chad Bettis with a similar injury. In his first day back, he had a dominant performance against the Giants — giving up three hits and zero runs over seven innings of work. He struggled a bit through July and August, but really hit his stride in September. In his last three games, he recorded:

September 16 @ Giants: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (86 pitches)

September 22 @ Diamondbacks: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 K, HR (75 pitches)

September 27 vs. Phillies: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, HR (95 pitches)

That amounts to a 1.62 ERA in 16 23 innings while limiting opposing hitters to just a .213/.273/.361 slash. Ryan Freemyer detailed why those last three starts stood out here.

With such a dominant end of the season performance, Senzatela was called upon to start Game 1 of the NLDS against the Brewers since both German Márquez and Kyle Freeland were unavailable. In that game, he pitched five innings while giving up two earned runs on three hits, including a two-run home run to Christian Yelich.

Overall, Senzatela had a strong second year campaign. He began to expand his pitch arsenal, perfecting his curveball and changeup to become more of a threat to major league hitters. He has a legitimate shot to make the Rockies rotation next year and could be an even more important member of the 2019 club.