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Carlos Estévez was a workhorse for the Rockies in 2019

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The right-hander established himself as a late-inning option for Bud Black.

Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

★ ★ ★

No. 7, Carlos Estevez (1.6 rWAR)

Carlos Estévez had quite the reversal of fortune in 2019, after a 2018 season in which he did not make an appearance in the big leagues, the right-hander led the Rockies in appearances and led the team’s relievers with 72 innings pitched.

Estévez took to the mound 71 times for the Rockies in 2019, posting a 3.75 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, he walked 23 and struck out 81 as opposing hitters batted .250/.306/.450 against him. Perhaps the biggest blemish for Estévez was the 12 home runs he allowed in the 72 innings he pitched.

The basis for Estévez’s success in 2019 was his fastball, which he threw close to 70% of the time. Estévez’s fastball averaged 97.9 miles per hour, the fifth hardest in baseball among pitchers who pitched at least 50 innings. He also had a whiff rate of 30.5% on his fastball in 2019, registering 57 strikeouts with it.

Estévez also thrived in the late innings, with a 2.02 ERA in 35 23 innings pitched in the 8th inning or later. Opposing hitters hit just .175 with two home runs in 126 at bats in those innings as well.

Going into 2020, Estévez has established himself as a reliable late-inning option for the Rockies. His 11 holds in 2019 were second on the team, just one behind Bryan Shaw. He was also second in rWAR and 4th in WPA among Rockies relievers this season. That should mean he will figure into Bud Black’s plans in the late innings once again next year.