Entering this season, we had a pretty good idea of who the two best starting pitchers would be for the Rockies. But Kyle Freeland has had as disappointing a season as I can remember, and while German Márquez battles inconsistency, he has still shown flashes of brilliance. In the void, Kyle Newman argues, Jon Gray is emerging as a “co-ace” in Freeland’s place.
In just about every meaningful pitching metric and statistic, Jon and German are either first or second, and it’s not particularly close. As Newman mentions, Jon leads the club in ERA, but he’s second to German in FIP, HR/9, and fWAR. In other key stats, Jon is first in K/9 (min 30 IP), ERA-, LOB%, and—if you’re into this kind of thing—wins.
So what has changed for Gray? According to him, it’s mostly a mindset thing. Despite the terrible “headcase” narrative that’s been floated around, Jon is proving he has what it takes to battle in tough situations and stay true to his abilities. Instead of dreading men on base, he’s viewing it as a challenge, asking himself, “How cool would it be to leave the runners stranded out there?”. His confidence is showing, and it is indeed very cool.
Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers, who had a great opportunity to receive consistent playing time on the big league roster with Trevor Story’s injury, has found himself on the injured list with shoulder impingement, according to Chris Haft of MLB.com. As a corresponding move, the club brought up RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez to start last night’s game.
Rodgers hasn’t been bad this year, but he hasn’t exactly been good, either. In 76 at-bats so far, Brendan is slashing just .224/.272/.250 with just two of his 17 hits going for extra bases. With an ISO of .026, the power he has displayed at the minor league level clearly hasn’t translated yet. It’s a vital part of his game, so hopefully having some time to heal will help.
Tom Verducci writes a compelling article here about the decline of major league bullpens this year and there are some very interesting numbers and figures presented. Ever since the mound was lowered from 15 inches to 10, relief pitchers have collectively posted a lower ERA than starters. For the first time since 1969, that is no longer the case.
Of course, the Rockies bullpen had to make an appearance in this one. Wade Davis is brought up because Verducci classifies him as one of the many “poor investments or outright busts” that are veteran bullpen arms recently. Also, late inning ERAs have been on the rise in particular, and the Rockies currently have the sixth-worst eighth-inning ERA of all time. Tom goes on to say the current pitching model is broken—what do you think?
Just a quick hit from Eric Single of SI on the upcoming College World Series matchup between Michigan and Vanderbilt. The rooting interest for most Rockies fans is Karl Kaufman, the team’s 3rd pick (77th overall) in this year’s draft. It will be fun to see Kaufman in the spotlight and be able to watch him pitch on college baseball’s biggest stage. Michigan will also be the underdogs against powerhouse Vanderbilt, so there’s another reason to pull for the Wolverines. Regardless, let’s hope Kaufman puts on a show.
Just a friendly reminder that today is the “Starters Election” for the All-Star Game, and you need to vote for Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and Trevor Story to make it to Cleveland as National League starters! It’s a new format, and you’ll have just over 24 hours to make your picks. Fans (that’s you) can only submit one full ballot on MLB platforms, as well as 17 unique player votes (the equivalent of one ballot) on Google—per valid email address.
Vote totals are completely reset, too, so the more than 1 million vote lead Nolan had over Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson now means nothing. Everyone will need to make time to vote so Cubs and Braves fans don’t ruin this. Don’t forget to vote for the Rockies’ American League partners, Hunter Dozier, Carlos Santana, and Austin Meadows.
On the farm
Oops, Yonathan Daza did it again, had a big game for the ‘Topes, got lost in the moment, ooh baby baby. Okay, I’m sorry, but Daza did go 1-for-4 with a three-run home run yesterday and continues to shred Triple-A pitching. The Rockies sure hope Daza finds a way to translate this success to the big league level soon.
For Lancaster, Ryan Vilade had two hits, including a triple, and a stolen base—his 13th this year. Ryan has put together a nice little 12-game hit streak and raised his 2019 slashline to .287/.380/.429.
Grand Junction had an offensive onslaught last night and scored fourteen runs against the Owlz. Walking Cabrera hit his first home run, a two-run shot, before later being removed from the game. The major league Rockies sure could use some of that rookie Rockies mojo at the plate right now.
Short Season-A: Boise Hawks 4, Eugene Emeralds 0 | MiLB.com