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Rockies Pitching: The Meatball Paradigm

Rockies news and links for Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Today’s Rockpile has something for everyone: First, for something a little different, I’ll discuss the Rockies. I’m sure this is not something you were expecting But just for fun, I’ll also briefly mention teams that are not the Rockies!

But wait! There’s more! You’ll also get intangibles. And for those of you rolling your eyes, don’t worry: You’ll get tangibles as well.

We’ll also briefly discuss social justice, but in case you were concerned, never fear. No actual justice is involved!

I can also promise you occasional sincerity, moderate to high levels of snark and at least one (1) of the following: sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll.

So buckle up because I’m on an airplane and haven’t slept much in the past few days.

Can starters succeed with low fastballs? |


Can starters succeed with low fastballs?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    (30 votes)
  • 23%
    (28 votes)
  • 18%
    (22 votes)
  • 31%
    All of the above
    (37 votes)
117 votes total Vote Now

A lot of pitchers are having success pitching up in the zone — for example, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg and basically the entire Dodgers pitching staff. So logically the Rockies should look at what successful pitchers are doing and emulate that. Right?

Absolutely. If the Rockies pitchers can all figure out how to become Gerrit Cole, they should do that. We even have some ideas about who this approach can help.

Barring that, the answer is a bit more nuanced.

Pitchers can’t just pitch up in the zone. They have to execute up in the zone. Can the Rockies pitchers do that? I don’t know. A lot of them seem to have some control issues. And if a pitcher isn’t throwing as hard as Walker Buehler and he misses up in the zone, that’s called a meatball.

Meatballs are not a good strategy.

WARPed on WAR: How each site’s WAR views the Colorado Rockies | Roxpile

This is an interesting read about how WAR is calculated and how FanGraphs, Baseball Reference and Baseball Prospectus use slightly different formulas to calculate it.

Even the numbers aren’t as straightforward as they seem.

Rockies’ offseason questions: Trevor Story’s raise, big-money contracts for bad relievers | The Denver Post ($)

This article also references Moneyball, in that the Rockies say they don’t have money to spend. And to be fair, a lot of players will make a lot more next year than they did this year, including Trevor Story ($5 million in 2019 versus a projected $11.6 million in 2020) and Nolan Arenado ($26 million in 2019 versus $35 million in 2020).

Also, something you may not know is that the Rockies owe a lot of money to several players who have largely underperformed in their tenure with the Rockies.

Hugs, kids’ songs and so much dancing: How the Nationals clubhouse became ‘something special’ | Washington Post

If you’re bored of numbers, good news: This one is about clubhouse culture. The Nationals haven’t always been known for having a good one. Remember Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper? Or Stephen Strasburg and whatever people wouldn’t let him pitch in the postseason?

But this year things are different. They’re having fun. This article suggests an influx of Latin culture is responsible for this turnaround, led by Gerardo Parra and Aníbal Sánchez. I’m not sure how I feel about saddling Latin players with the responsibility of making everyone else’s lives fun, but I’ll say this:

Baby Shark is catchy as hell.

Opioids in Baseball: ‘More people are going to die if this doesn’t get fixed’ | NBC Sports

I touched on this one last week, but this article speaks more strongly about drug use among players, who knows about it and how effective increased testing would be. In that order:

  • Opioid use is a big problem in our country. Why would it be any different among Major League Baseball players?
  • Of course people know about it. It’s not possible that no one knows when a player is seriously addicted to opioids (or anything else, for that matter).
  • Not very. Opioids would be hard to test for, and would testing even do anything to help the players who were addicted? Probably not.

Astros Staffer’s Outburst at Female Reporters Illustrates MLB’s Forgive-and-Forget Attitude Toward Domestic Violence | Sports Illustrated

I know. This should be a fun, happy place where we go to get away from all the negativity, politics, trolls, bots, etc.

Unfortunately, some of us don’t have the luxury of using sports as a place to get away from the real world. Watching a series in which Roberto Osuna or Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth inning, with a commercial for male sexual enhancement products on either side, is a stark reminder that baseball remains an exclusive place. Even when women are invited in, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re welcome. And some people go out of their way to ensure the status quo remains.

This is stupid, and it sucks.

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Today’s Rockpile was brought to you by Baby Shark and jet lag. Also the letter Q.