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Arenado and Bettis continue to improve and carry the Rockies

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Rockies news and links for Sunday, May 6, 2018

Arenado’s apple jack sends Bettis past Mets | MLB.com

Last night, the Sandblaster came through for the Rockies again and led the offense with a monster solo shot in the first inning against Steven Matz and the Mets. Statcast calculated the exit velocity at a scorching 106 mph and the distance traveled at 430 feet. Thanks to a shutout gem from Chad Bettis, and clean innings from Ottavino and Davis, the home run turned out to be enough and the Rockies won game two of the series in Queens.

Arenado’s bomb and an insurance RBI single from David Dahl in the ninth inning provided just enough offense to win the game, but the real difference maker was Chad Bettis. Nolan’s solo home run is sure fun to watch, but two total runs isn’t much. Let’s not kid ourselves — seven shutout innings from Bettis is the reason why the Rockies won this game.

The starting rotation has a sub-two ERA over the past ten games, and is the biggest reason why the Rockies are 7 - 3 in that stretch. It’s no secret they need to figure out how to fix the offensive production of this team (*cough*steponestartDahl*cough*), but if the Rockies want to find themselves in a position to make the Postseason, it will be up to the pitching staff to carry them through this slump. Hats off to you, Chad Bettis!

Nolan Arenado keeps getting better | Purple Row

Nolan Arenado is good at baseball. You might even say he is very good at baseball. Throwing caution to the wind, it could be argued Nolan is one of the top-5 players in the game of baseball today. Would you believe us if we told you he’s still getting better?

In all seriousness, Ryan Freemyer takes a closer look at some data that shows Nolan is remarkably still learning how to improve his game. As Rockies fans, we get to marvel at the defensive prowess, power, and baseball IQ he brings to the table each day, and it’s easy to forget Arenado is only twenty-seven and has years and years to continue to impress us. We’ve witnessed it for many seasons now, which is why it’s wild to imagine we might only be starting to discover the best version of the Sandblaster yet.

The Rockies and Ian Desmond: The case to DFA | Purple Row

Hitting the ball in the air is more and more a signal of success in major league baseball. Similarly, the best run producers share the qualities of making hard contact and getting on base frequently. As most of us are painfully aware, Ian Desmond is doing none of these things, and has the 2nd most AB’s on the team this season. It has been said Ian and his .208 BABIP can only go up. It’s a nice sentiment, but as Adam Peterson points out:

Desmond hits the ball on the ground 73.1% of the time. He hits the ball up the middle 51.3% of the time, and 67.1% of the time it’s not hit hard. That means 25.1% of balls he hits are ground balls, up the middle, hit weakly or medium. That doesn’t exactly scream “regression”...

Money, contracts, and value aside, Ian Desmond is just not playing baseball at a level that warrants a regular spot in the lineup. There is just no excuse for it anymore. With a -0.7 fWAR as of May 2nd, Ian has been statistically the worst everyday player in Major League Baseball.

But what it really comes down to is lineup construction. No, I don’t think Desmond should or needs to be DFA’d — but he is not an everyday player, and needs to play only opposite a lefty (who he’s slashed .300/.378/.575 against). The lineup isn’t currently built to manage this scenario very well, with the only other RHB outfielder being rookie Noel Cuevas.

As a result, Ian continues to be sent out to left field or first base on a daily basis, and the Rockies are worse off for it. Jeff Bridich and Bud Black need to commit playing time to David Dahl, platoon Desmond, and find a true 1B if they hope to contend in 2018.

Colorado Rockies: 3 strange numbers from a strange month | Rox Pile

I like to think of April to the 2018 season like myself waking up and getting ready for work — uncoordinated, sloppy, stricken with delays, and just plain odd. Colin Gaiser of Rox Pile breaks down three strange stats from the opening month of baseball and what they mean for the Rockies’ chances at securing a playoff berth. It truly is a bizarro world where the Rockies can’t hit, pitching is our strength, and Coors Field is a home field disadvantage...

Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon’s rank among the best center fielders | Rox Pile

In another post from Rox Pile, JD Jensen asks, “Is Charlie Blackmon the best center fielder in baseball?” Well, the answer is no, but you could certainly make the argument he is #2 or #3. Of course, Mike Trout is the no doubt top choice, but that’s asking a lot to be compared to one of the best talents to ever play the game of baseball ever. So Trout aside, how does Chuck stack up?

JD makes some arguments for a few intriguing names you might not expect to see on this list, and who could say no to some good ol’ fashioned power ranking? Personally, I have Blackmon as third best. Besides Trout, I would only pick George Springer ahead of Charlie. What about you? Any other names deserving of inclusion or undue respect?