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What is the outlook for Rockies pitching in 2020?

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Rockies news and links for August 29, 2019

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Rockies Mailbag: Bud Black can only work with the pitchers he has. Will it be enough in 2020? | Denver Post ($)

There are a number of questions to dive into here, but the one I’m interested in has to do with projecting the Rockies’ pitchers next season. It sure looks grim right now. I won’t argue with that. But I would argue that we don’t know much of anything when it comes to what we should expect.

For example, Patrick Saunders writes in here that, “In German Marquez and Jon Gray, the Rockies have two quality starters.” But we don’t know that, do we? At this time last year we were saying that about Kyle Freeland and Márquez. And at least some people thought Gray wasn’t cut out for the rotation.

So we don’t really know anything, whether that’s about who will stay good or who will stay healthy. That’s the deal with such a young pitching staff. But it’s also something you can spin into a positive and say that we might be pleasantly surprised by the number of pitchers who emerge and stay healthy next season. Hey, it could happen.

Saunders also looks at the criticism of Bud Black and Jeff Bridich during a rough season and notes that Bridich still probably has good job security. And that’s probably how it should be, for now, although Bridich ought not to get too many more whiffs in free agency before there aren’t some more serious questions.

Colorado Rockies: The top 5 reasons to keep watching them in 2019 | Rox Pile

Besides seeing the Rockies play spoiler, we can generally find interest in a season like this in seeing young players and prospects get a chance at big league experience. That’s among the reasons provided here by David Sharp to stay tuned this season.

I’ll be paying particular attention to young position players like Sam Hilliard and Dom Nunez, because it will matter right away for the Rockies if they look ready to contribute as soon as next season. I’ll be watching the pitchers too, but that feels different.

For example, Sharp mentions the hope that Kyle Freeland could build some positive momentum as another reason to keep watching. I would certainly love to see that too, but I think that’s different, because it feels less predictable what will carry over and what won’t from young pitchers (see above). That’s not to say it’s perfectly predictable for the hitters, but I think it’s at least a little easier to get a sense of what will translate at the big league level for them.

Arizona Fall League rosters revealed | MLB.com

Speaking of prospects, this article has the top prospects for each MLB team that will be included on Arizona Fall League rosters. For the Rockies, that list includes infielder Colton Welker and pitcher Ryan Castellani, among others.

Are the Twins hitting too many home runs? | Twinkie Town

I live in Minnesota, and I can confirm this is a question that’s starting to kick around among nervous fans. Can they really win in crunch time if they rely so much on home runs? Which, I don’t know, but I think they can. Wouldn’t there still be a similar question about how hitters will respond to the pressure of the playoffs if they were punching singles into the opposite field instead of hitting bombas?

Anyway, in the midst of this analysis is a sentence that will make a Rockies fan tear up with joy:

The Rockies are also a bad team, but the thin air of Coors Field allows balls to leave the park at a relatively high rate. That being said, the Rox have only hit 175 dingers, and have scored 281 runs that way. With the Rockies scoring 699 runs this season, that means only 40.2% of their runs have been on home runs. Maybe we can put that theory about the “Coors factor” to bed now, huh?

Send your fan mail to TJ Gorsegner.

‘Your mom’ jokes, Elton John shades and tribute piggyback rides: How the Nationals are keeping it loose | The Athletic ($)

What a headline. Former Rockies great Gerardo Parra plays a prominent role here. I think it’s kind of fascinating how these articles come out when teams get hot over the course of the season. It’s interesting because it’s hard to know if the looseness in the clubhouse helped the team win or is a result of the team winning and therefore making people happy.

I’m inclined to think it’s the latter, even if a piece like this one from Brittany Ghiroli tends to frame it as the former. Parra was a fun loving guy who had his teammates wearing “Parra for President” shirts at one point during his Rockies tenure, and that year’s team was still pretty stinky. I guess what I’m saying is I’m happy for Parra, but I don’t miss him and I don’t think the Rockies do either. If they were good, I’m sure somebody else would step in as the fun-loving goofball. Shoot, the team is bad and they’re still making cockroach gestures on the field.

On the farm

In Double-A action, Tyler Nevin (PuRP no. 7) hit his 12th home run of the season. He had two hits in Hartford’s win and drove in three runs. Ryan Vilade (PuRP no. 9) had a couple hits in Lancaster’s big win. In non-PuRP news, I feel it’s my obligation to tell you that Drew Butera hit his ninth home run of Triple-A action. We probably aren’t done with him in our lives.

Triple-A: Las Vegas Aviators 3, Albuquerque Isotopes 2

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 5, Harrisburg Senators 2

High-A: Lancaster JetHawks 12, Inland Empire 66ers 2

Low-A: Asheville Tourists 8, Charleston RiverDogs 5

Short-Season A: Boise Hawks 4, Hillsboro Hops 1

Rookie: Grand Junction Rockies 8, Ogden Raptors 5