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Full scope of Rockies’ offensive woes yet to be realized

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Rockies news and links for May 17, 2018

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Rockies dodge disgrace at San Diego, but their offensive depression is still pending | The Athletic ($)
The Colorado Rockies lineup was thoroughly dominated on a Tuesday afternoon in San Diego against the Padres— by of all pitchers, former Rockie Jordan Lyles. It was the culmination of a downright rotten week for the Rockies’ offense. Just two days prior, Milwaukee Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta struck out 13 Rockies in his major league debut. Over the past week, the Rox have averaged 3.6 runs scored per game, even having played five games at the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field.

The 2018 Colorado Rockies currently have the worst wRC+ in baseball, and even without park adjustments, rank a very poor 23rd in wOBA. The worst performance has come from first baseman Ian Desmond, who is in the second year of a 5-year, $70 million contract with the Rockies. Desmond is tied with Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles for the worst fWAR in baseball at -1.0, which can only be described as impressively bad for so early in the season. Desmond ranks in the bottom 10 in most offensive categories in baseball, though he has certainly not been the only problem. Six Rockies players have collected over 50 plate appearances and have been considered below average by wRC+: Desmond, Gerardo Parra, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan McMahon, Tony Wolters, and Pat Valaika.

Amazingly, the Rockies (23-20) are only two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the National League West. There is certainly a window of opportunity to do well in the division, but the Rockies will need to collectively show that they can hit.

Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu seeing hand specialist about injured thumb | The Denver Post ($)
One of the more successful offense performers in the Rockies’ lineup has been second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who has discovered a penchant for hitting home runs early in 2018. Unfortunately, LeMahieu was placed on the 10-day Disabled List after suffering a sprained left thumb. And now the injury may be more severe than initially anticipated. The results are not available as of this writing, but LeMahieu saw a hand specialist late Wednesday.

Colorado Rockies: Time for them to go away | Rox Pile
The Rockies have played much better baseball on the road than at home this season, and that needs to change. Home runs have been the most successful part of the team’s offensive game and, contrary to the popular narrative, the Rox have had an easier time hitting the long ball on the road. The pitching staff has also produced better strikeout, walk, and earned run numbers in away games.

Colorado Rockies: Looking at the roller coaster 2018 season | Rox Pile
It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a 2018 for the Rockies. Outside of a six-game winning streak, the Rockies have largely traded wins and losses with very inconsistent play. Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt suggests recalling Tom Murphy, Jordan Patterson, and Raimel Tapia from Triple-A to help shake things up. Unfortunately, these are players at positions blocked by veterans— even if those veterans are not performing well.

Top 22 Prospects: Colorado Rockies | FanGraphs
FanGraphs released an analysis of the Rockies’ Top 22 prospects on Wednesday. As Eric Longenhagen writes, the farm system, though not currently “bad,” could look “rough” once Brendan Rodgers (PuRP No. 1) graduates and if Riley Pint (PuRP No. 3) doesn’t pan out. Fortunately for the Rockies in the short-term, the MLB team is relatively young and players like Tapia, David Dahl, and Jairo Diaz are young players not eligible for the prospects list who can make quite the impact in the Majors.

Let’s break down all 160 Minor League team names | Cut4
Jake and Jordan from CespedesBBQ separated all 160 Minor League baseball teams into 17 categories. The Hartford Yard Goats (Double-A affiliate of the Rockies) are among the 24 teams in the “Land Animals” category, while the Albuquerque Isotopes (Triple-A) get their own category- “Simpsons Jokes.”

Aside from the Isotopes, my favorite Minor League name is probably the Akron RubberDucks, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

Agent asks Red Sox to trade Blake Swihart | NBC Sports
Playing time has been scarce for former top prospect Blake Swihart of the Boston Red Sox. The catcher-turned-utility player has only received 32 plate appearances in 2018, and has not been utilized as a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter, despite the team’s expressed intentions during the Spring of using him in such a role. Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made an odd comment about Swihart’s playing time, saying “your 25th player usually doesn’t play that much anyway.” This has prompted Swihart’s agent, Brodie Scoffield to request that the team trade him.

The Supreme Court’s sports gambling decision won’t ruin sports because any damage is already done | SB Nation
The Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports gambling on Monday. I wasn’t entirely sure what this meant when I first heard about it, and Harry Lyles Jr. of SB Nation provided some clearer details for me and perhaps for you as well. An interesting note from Lyles Jr. is that the effective elimination of the “black market” for gambling could pave the way for a better chance to address the issue of addiction.