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Young Rockies having success, but most playing time will go to veterans

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Rockies news and links for August 18, 2018

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With shifting expectations, David Dahl and Ryan McMahon are finding ways to make a positive impact with the Rockies | The Athletic ($)
Since July 29, the day McMahon was called up, Ryan McMahon and David Dahl have combined to post a .278/.381/.514 slash line, while Ian Desmond and Gerardo Parra have combined to deliver a slash of .208/.283/.257 (h/t to Jordan Freemyer). It seems safe to say that over the past few weeks, the youngsters McMahon and Dahl have shouldered much of the load for a struggling Rockies’ offense, while positive production from veterans Desmond and Parra has been virtually nonexistent. It seems that a likely result would be the young producing players receiving more starts and at-bats, but that doesn’t sound like something Rockies fans should expect.

“Their sudden contributions are helpful,” writes Nick Groke of The Athletic. “But not quite worthy of full-time status.” Groke says that the “veteran players have earned too much trust from their manager.” Rockies Manager Bud Black made sure to note that McMahon had been 2-for-17 with eight strikeouts as the time of his interview with Groke. Black also mentioned that Dahl was “still finding his way.” Groke also notes that Desmond “continues to add worth, including a sacrifice fly” in Thursday night’s win over the Atlanta Braves.

It’s unclear exactly what people would like to see from McMahon and Dahl that would make them preferred options than the veteran bats — other than to literally be veterans themselves.

With his thumb on the scale, Bud Black is deftly guiding the Rockies away from panic and into contention | The Athletic ($)
Also from The Athletic, Groke praises Black’s for his relaxed approach at the manager’s helm. Black recently reached 800 wins in his managerial career. “A manager will never accumulate that many victories by chance,” writes Groke. Key moments mentioned as playing into the team’s success this season are Black choosing to stick with veterans Jake McGee and Chris Iannetta in the finale of the Rockies’ recent series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field.

Colorado Rockies: Changes need to be made to the starting lineup | Rox Pile
Aaron Hurt of Rox Pile makes a different case about playing time, positing that the players that are having the most success should receive the most starts, regardless of their veteran status.

Colorado Rockies missed a golden opportunity at the trade deadline | Rox Pile
As we head deeper into August, the time to improve the roster through waiver trades is dwindling. One position that could certainly use an upgrade is at catcher. In terms of fWAR and wRC+, only the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals have gotten less production from their backstops than the Rockies. Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry wonders if the team should have taken a flyer on Wilson Ramos. Ramos was injured at the time he was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Philadelphia Phillies, but has since returned from the Disabled List and has hit well. Overall, Ramos has a slash of .308/.355/.510 on the season, entering Friday’s action.

The key thing about the Ramos trade is that the Phillies gave up a pittance for him— just cash and a player to be named later. That’s significantly less than even the Rockies gave up in the Seunghwan Oh deal (prospects Forrest Wall, Chad Spanberger, and Bryan Baker).

BSN Rockies Podcast: Will the top of the lineup get hot down the stretch? | BSN Denver
In the latest episode of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman analyzes the finale of the brief two-game series between the Rockies and the Houston Astros. After a clunker of a performance from starter Tyler Anderson, Creasman wonders if members of the rotation might be starting to wear down. Sticking with the topic of the rotation, Creasman discusses the possibility of locking up Kyle Freeland to a long-term deal, and if any member of the current rotation could stack up against a 2010 version of Ubaldo Jimenez.

With a higher average and declining strikeouts, Trevor Story continues emergence as a Rockies’ offensive cornerstone | The Denver Post ($)
Kyle Newman of The Denver Post highlights Trevor Story’s 2018, a season which has cemented the shortstop as a “cornerstone” of the Rockies’ offense. Story says that he takes a lot of pride in his heightened batting average, and has made lowering his strikeout totals a priority.

Rockies Insider: Colorado’s baserunning must improve as team makes repeat playoff push | The Denver Post ($)
Also from The Denver Post, Newman addresses the issue of the Rockies’ baserunning in 2018. While the team is not necessarily slow, they have struggled with running into outs on the bases in non-force and non-steal situations.

The Redisappearance of Matt Kemp | FanGraphs
After a resurgent beginning to the season, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers finds himself plummeting back down to earth, mired in a 5-for-58 slump. As Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs writes, it’s all about Kemp’s lack of success against offspeed and breaking pitches. Kemp has always been a good fastball hitter- .328 average and .601 slugging percentage against the heater for his career. And even with Kemp slashing .173/.264/.280 in the season’s second half, he is still hitting .345 with a .621 slugging percentage against fastballs in the same time. However, Kemp has been given 208 pitches that are not fastballs or sinkers in the second half, and his only hit against them has been one single against a curveball.