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Rockies’ closer Wade Davis has 40 saves, but is he worth $52 million?

Rockies news and links for September 18, 2018

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Colorado Rockies: Has Wade Davis lived up to his contract? | Rox Pile
In case you missed it, the Colorado Rockies spared no expense signing free agent relief pitchers over the 2017-2018 offseason. The player who received the highest contract, Wade Davis, has been the most effective. Signing for three years and $52 million, Davis not only set a Rockies’ reliever contract record, but he is the highest-paid bullpen arm in the history of baseball. The Rockies reportedly offered the same contract to Greg Holland, their closer from 2017. After settling for a one-year deal with the St Louis Cardinals, Holland pitched an utterly disastrous 25 innings for the Redbirds. After being released by the Cards, Holland has since latched on with the Washington Nationals, and has turned his season around. Whatever way you slice it, Davis has put up better numbers overall in 2018.

But, as Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt asks, is he worth the record-setting amount that he was given? While Davis has a career-high 40 saves, his 4.48 ERA (3.88 FIP) leaves much to be desired. And he has six blown saves and six losses attached to his name in a Rockies uniform. Nonetheless, the Rockies are in a prime spot to make the postseason, and having Davis’ veteran experience in the closer’s role plays no small part.

Saunders: Led by Scott Oberg, Rockies’ revamped bullpen will be key to playoff hopes | The Denver Post
A far less expensive option who has put up even better numbers out of the Rockies’ bullpen this season is Scott Oberg, who has a 2.22 ERA (2.87 FIP) entering Monday’s action. Since he was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on May 28 after a demotion, that ERA sits at a remarkable 1.08. Oberg has been leading the charge among Rockies’ relievers, providing one of the most useful options alongside Davis, Adam Ottavino, and Seunghwan Oh (who is working his way back from a minor hamstring injury). Along with these names, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post also points out that Chris Rusin has been an improved pitcher in the season’s second half. I would also throw Yency Almonte’s name into the ring of most reliable Rox relievers.

Sarris: How Trevor Story ironed out his angles and broke out | The Athletic ($)
If this is your first time reading about the Rockies, first, welcome to Purple Row! Secondly, Trevor Story is having a very good year. It wasn’t always like this for Story, though. To begin the 2017 campaign, the Rockies’ shortstop was hitting balls too high in the air and hitting them to the opposite field. This year, Story has improved his launch angle and is pulling the ball with authority, oftentimes out of the ballpark. The Athletic’s Eno Sarris goes in depth to see the correlation between Story’s fly-ball percentage, oppo-percentage, and wOBA.

‘Put the ball in play, get a good result’: Rockies found a hitting stroke in an unlikely place with Antonio Senzatela | The Athletic ($)
When the Rockies where shutout by the Giants in their first two games of this weekend’s series in San Francisco, tensions were running high on Sunday afternoon. A two-run single from starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela broke the ice, scoring the first runs in a 3-2 victory. Nick Groke of The Athletic details manager Bud Black’s reaction to the big hit.

BSN Rockies Podcast: One of the biggest series’ in franchise history | BSN Denver
In the latest episode of the BSN Rockies podcast, Drew Creasman previews what may “one of the biggest series’ in franchise history.” He also discusses who might be ready to step up offensively after the Rockies struggled to score runs at AT&T Park over the weekend.

How Culberson Became “Charlie Clutch” in Atlanta | FanGraphs
You may remember Charlie Culberson, Colorado Rockie, slashing .227/.273/.327 (good for a 47 wRC+ and -1.2 fWAR) from 2013-2014. He’s now found himself a home as a role player for the Atlanta Braves, delivering a 117 wRC+ thus far in 2018. He’s also the only player in Major League Baseball history with four career walk-off home runs and less than 30 homers overall. Two walk-off shots for the Bravos in 2018 has earned him the nickname of “Charlie Clutch.” David Laurila of FanGraphs asked Culberson how he feels about the moniker and about the concept of “clutch” overall.

The Cubs’ schedule nightmare: 30 games in 30 days | Bleed Cubbie Blue
The Chicago Cubs find themselves in a grueling stretch of playing 30 games in 30 days. This isn’t necessarily a unique issue. The Chicago White Sox had to play 34 games in 34 days in 2017, but the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was supposed to ease some of these issues in 2018. With the record number of postponements in April due to dreadful weather conditions, things haven’t been able to work out as planned. Sara Sanchez of Bleed Cubbie Blue expects this will add yet another step in the completion of a complicated CBA heading into 2021.

How an understanding of advanced statistics has increased my appreciation of baseball | Fish Stripes
Mitchell Custer of Fish Stripes responds to a recent article by Joel Sherman of The New York Post claiming that advanced statistics are ruining the game of baseball. There are a lot of good anecdotes to unpack from Custer, but he ultimately suggests, “I’d implore you to try reading up on [advanced statistics] before completely rebuking them.”