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Kyle Freeland conquering altitude with the Rockies

Rockies news and links for September 1, 2018

Kyle Freeland Was Born to Break Coors Field | The Ringer
Kyle Freeland was recently a guest on the Effectively Wild podcast with Jeff Sullivan and Ben Lindbergh. At The Ringer, Lindbergh expands upon some of the thoughts that took place in their conversation with the talented Rockies’ starting pitcher.

Even beyond the accomplishments of Freeland, Lindbergh notes just how impressive the Rockies’ pitching staff has become overall. The Rockies are the only team in baseball to have the pitchers that they drafted produce a negative WARP with their team. Now, the Rockies have an entirely homegrown rotation that ranks in the top 10 in Major League Baseball in WARP. As for Freeland, he has led the rotation in 2018 and is well on his way to one of the top seasons in franchise history. At the high-altitude confines of Coors Field, Freeland has produced a 2.27 ERA. That would rank as the best mark ever for a pitcher who has thrown at least 50 innings at home for the Rockies.

There are a multitude of differences between Freeland’s 2017 and 2018 campaigns that have allowed him to take his game to the next level. Perhaps the most easily visible adjustment is moving from the first base side to the third base side of the rubber to help him feel more comfortable and result in less fatigue.

The Particular Skill of Kyle Freeland | FanGraphs
Sullivan also expands upon Freeland’s skillset in an article at FanGraphs. While ERA likes Freeland more than FIP, Freeland has been enormously successful at limiting hard contact and locating his pitches extremely well. Sullivan draws comparisons between Freeland’s location and the likes of Mariano Rivera and Tom Glavine.

The Rockies Are Still In The Playoff Race Because Of Their ... Pitching? | FiveThirtyEight
As Travis Sawchik of FiveThirtyEight writes, if the Rockies wind up winning the National League West, it will be thanks to their pitching— not their offense. Thanks to a negative-21 run differential, most projection systems don’t predict the Rockies to be division winners. But every single Rockies’ postseason team has had at least average pitching, and the current staff’s ERA-minus ranks fourth in franchise history, after the 2009, 2017, and 2010 seasons. Rockies’ pitchers have developed a propensity to have success throwing cutters and sliders in 2018, helping to make up for a struggling offense that General Manager Jeff Bridich neglected to improve over the past offseason nor at the trade deadline.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Last minute moves heading into September | BSN Denver
In the latest episode of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman talks about the Rockies’ recent trade with the Kansas City Royals for Drew Butera. Creasman opines that the experienced catcher will be an asset to the team.

Ben Zobrist: Batting average is an ‘outdated’ statistic | Chicago Tribune
Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs has done the analytically minded a great service, discrediting the statistic of batting average as “outdated.” Speaking with Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune, Zobrist says he prefers OPS. Zobrist is creeping up on Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL lead in batting average, but is on track to finish outside of the top 10 in OPS.