Some people need more cowbell. Apparently, all Ashton Goudeau needed was more curveball. That, and no more slider.
If you want to feel some optimism about a Rockies’ pitching prospect, check out this in-depth feature by Jack Etkin that is loaded with interesting details.
Goudeau, the 27-year-old right-hander, garnered a lot of attention in the Arizona Fall League where he threw 13 scoreless innings with only four hits, no walks, 18 strikeouts, and a .308 WHIP. He capped that short season off as the winning pitcher in the AFL championship game where he posted three strikeouts, one hit, and no walks in 2 2/3 innings.
His success is part of a great story that has led to the 27th-round draft pick by Kansas City (2012) getting his first big league spring training invite in 2020. The Rockies are hoping he can contend for a spot in a starting rotation that only has two sure bets in Jon Gray and German Marquez, and hopefully three with a 2018 version of Kyle Freeland.
After struggling with the Royals and Mariners, the Rockies signed Goudeau to a minor league deal in November 2018. In the 2019 season, Goudeau totaled 78 1/3 innings with Double-A Hartford, going 3-3 with 2.07 ERA, 91 strikeouts, and only 12 walks. Working with Hartford’s then pitching coach Steve Merriman, who is now the organization’s pitching coordinator higher up in the system, Goudeau made the choice to tweak his pitching arsenal. He decided to throw his curveball more often because it is his best pitch—one that he can consistently locate and often can seal the deal on strikeouts, while also getting rid of his slider. More curveball has also meant better results for his fastball, which has hit up to 96 mph, and his changeup.
Things were going great until a bad-luck injury sidelined Goudeau for two months. In June, he broke his right hand in a hand-motion-explaining discussion where he hit it against the bench in the dugout. Crazy injury. He recovered, and although he hadn’t pitched at the Triple-A level yet, the Rockies chose to put him on the roster for the AFL to see more of his development. It turned out to be a great decision that not only could mean amazing things for the trajectory of Goudeau’s career, but for the future rotation for the Rockies as well.
With winter meetings starting next week, trade speculation and mock deals are lighting up the internet. ESPN weighed in with an imaginary deal where the Rockies trade three right-handed pitchers—the expensive and in-effective Bryan Shaw and prospects Tommy Doyle and Ryan Castellani—to the Blue Jays for right-handed closer Ken Giles. This could be a good one.
On the bright side, this gets rid of Shaw’s 7-8 record, 5.61 ERA in 126.2 innings, only for the payout of $9 million as part of his 3-year, $27 million deal (2018-2020) that also includes an option for 2021, and results in the Rockies getting a solid closer in the bullpen. Giles posted 23 saves in 24 chances with an ERA of 1.87 for Toronto last season.
However, Giles also had an elbow injury in June that resulted in him not being able to pitch on back-to-back days. That’s problematic. How would that work for the Rockies? We have to hope the Rockies are going to be in position to put a closer in on back-to-back days frequently throughout the season. The Blue Jays won 67 games in 2019 and the Rockies won 71. We have to have more consistency in the bullpen and durability is also a necessity. Does that mean he splits time with Scott Oberg and—audible gasp with lots of anxiety—Davis? Maybe any combo is worth exiling Shaw and adding a solid option in the pen even if he can’t go every day. Even ESPN senior reporter David Schoenfield says, “Shaw is included to offset salaries and to help erase the stink of the 2019 Rockies bullpen.”
Castellani has been in the Colorado farm system for six years, but saw his numbers inflate in his first Triple-A season in 2019 with an 8.31 ERA with a 2-5 record in 10 starts. Doyle, who’s been in the Rockies’ system for three years, spent 2019 at Single-A Lancaster where he posted 19 saves in 23 opportunities with a 3.25 ERA.
This one is a bit of a head-scratcher. As you read along, it starts out pretty logically.
Los Angeles: Relief pitching. (Some Dodger fans could say it was Dave Roberts’s controversial choices of managing starters and relievers that cost them the NLCS).
San Francisco: Starting pitching.
San Diego: Starting pitching.
And then …
Wait, what? Catcher? Seriously? 2019 would have resulted in three straight playoff appearances if only the Rockies had a better catcher? Was there only a limited amount of pitching options in the bucket to choose from and since the Rockies are last in mascot alphabetical order, there is just no more pitching cards to choose?
While we can admit that catcher is a need for the Rockies, as it would be great to have one with a bigger bat and better pitch framing, the top need is pitching. The post admits that the rotation and bullpen needs help, but concedes that since the Rockies aren’t likely to make any moves (see the many articles on pitchers returning to previous forms and promises of no big splashes), there is no point in speculating about it. Just because they Rockies likely won’t do anything major in acquiring or trading pitchers, it doesn’t mean it’s not the greatest need. Tony Wolters improved his batting average almost .100 from 2018 to 2019 (.170 to .262), has a good rapport with pitchers, and is a good clubhouse guy, which I know doesn’t matter to a lot of people. I believe it matters, but still admit that the Rockies need another catcher in the ranks. Still, it’s secondary to addressing pitching.
For out-of-town fans hoping for more viewing options and in-town fans without cable hoping to not get hit with local blackouts, the MLB’s new agreement to let teams sell streaming rights was good news. This article has a whole lot of exceptions and realities of how that could manifest that are a little less optimistic. Overall, it will be a big and exciting development for baseball fans. However, the timetables and logistics of how that actually looks will be greatly varied and might take a while.
This is especially true for the Rockies, who just signed a multi-year extension with AT&T Sports Networks in September that wasn’t very specific (paywall). We don’t know how long or for how much or if any streaming with possible partners like Amazon, Netflix, or others would be included and eliminate local blackouts. It’s possible that a new streaming deal could only come at the end of the new AT&T Sports Network contract ends. Hopefully good things are to come for more fans in and out of local markets, while at the same time avoiding the mess that Altitude finds itself in by not being able to broadcast Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games with Comcast and Dish because they can’t get a deal done.
After being non-tendered on Monday, Tyler Anderson was only a free agent for a day before he found himself a new one-year deal with the Giants on Tuesday. The former Rockies left-hander is still recovering from a knee injury, but this report says he hopes to be healthy by spring training and contending for a spot in San Francisco’s rotation. The amount wasn’t specified, but if Anderson would have gone to arbitration, he would have commanded around $2.6 million. The new deal is expected to be less than that.
For Colorado fans, it will be interesting to see if Anderson can get his ERA back below 5 like it was in 2016-2018 or will it be more like 2019 when he was 0-3 with an 11.76 ERA, which could be the injured knee, which cut his season short and required surgery. Anderson finished his career in Colorado with an 18-24 record and a 4.69 ERA. He never won more than 7 games or pitched more than 176 innings in a season. His ability to stay healthy is a huge factor. It’s always interesting to watch former Rockies pitchers on other teams, but this one has extra intrigue since it is an in-division situation.