Kevin Henry is definitely right about one thing—the “veteran-centric” lineups the Rockies keep rolling out there just aren’t getting the job done, especially against the Dodgers. Well, like the popular saying of the year goes, “let the kids play,” Rockies. What harm can it do?
This season is a bust. The best we can do at this point is prepare for 2020 and get some experience under the belts of the kids who could make an impact next year and eventually during the next contention window heading into 2021. They might find lightning in a bottle and finish this season on a high note while also building momentum and confidence.
In his article from mid-day Saturday, Henry encourages the Rockies to start young players—such as Sam Hilliard, Josh Fuentes, Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and Raimel Tapia—more often. Low and behold, after publication, the Rockies trotted out this lineup:
The only thing missing that would make this perfect would be Dom Nunez behind the plate, but this is a fun looking lineup. As the game is just getting started as I write this, let’s hope the kids are all right in Chavez Ravine tonight.
And like clockwork, MLB.com released its list of each team’s best rookie of the 2019 season. In a season that hasn’t gone very well for the Rockies, there weren’t many possibilities, but they chose Garrett Hampson as the rookie standout for Colorado, and I think they’re right.
The Hampster had a slow start, but the wheel is turning now. Since the All-Star break, Garrett has slashed .292/.359/.454 with a wRC+ of 97. Over the past month those numbers rise to .333/.378/.507 and a 114 wRC+. It is certainly unfortunate that he has been most productive when the season is already lost, but again, it’s quality momentum for 2020.
(P.S. have you guys and gals seen this kid run? He’s pretty fast.)
Luke Zahlmann describes Kyle Freeland’s season pretty aptly in this article, comparing his disappointing 2019 to a nightmare. When you wake up from a nightmare, one of two things usually happen. It might have felt so real that you still fear for your well-being, you’re nervous, frightened, and flustered, or maybe you take a deep breath, appreciate the fact you’re finally awake, and go about your business.
Kyle Freeland has the opportunity to make the latter his reality. Last night, he came into Dodger Stadium and pitched two strong innings, giving up three hits and striking out one while throwing 29 pitches—and a whopping 21 of those for strikes. He will have one more opportunity against San Francisco to prove his disastrous season was just a bad dream that he’s woken up from and build major momentum and confidence for 2020.
This offseason will also be Kyle’s first as an arbitration-eligible player, so there are major fiscal and career implications to how he performs this month. Everyone wants the hometown hero to succeed, but we especially want him to keep succeeding in purple.
On Saturday afternoon, the Padres announced they are parting ways with manager Andy Green. In four seasons at the helm in San Diego, Green and the Padres went 274-366—good for a mediocre-at-best .428 win percentage. The Padres, though, have young talent coming out their ears, and with a higher quality manager on their bench, they could seemingly push aside the rest of the NL West not located in Los Angeles as the next club to challenge the Dodgers for a division title.
More importantly, the Padres are setting an example the Rockies might want to pay attention to. That is, not being okay with mediocrity. The Rockies, and Bud Black, have a bit more wiggle room coming off back-to-back postseason appearances, but they can’t be complacent with how 2019 has turned out.
Moves will need to be made, in the front office maybe, but definitely on the field, if the Rockies want to not only stay neck and neck with San Diego, but pass them and challenge the Dodgers again, as well.
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After defeating the Dodgers in Los Angeles for the first time since 1999 last night (do not fact check this), the Rockies can thank their young’ns. The Rockies combined for seven hits, and McMahon, Hampson, Hilliard, Tapia, and Fuentes had six of those with a couple bombs.
RyMac went 1-for-3 with a HR, Hampson was 1-for-3 with a walk, run scored, and a SB, Tapia had two hits with a run, RBI, and SB, Fuentes hit a dinger, and Hilliard showed off his defensive prowess in center field and threw out a hit, too. Speaking of the kids, Carlos Estévez and Jairo Díaz finished off the Dodgers by pitching a scoreless inning each.
Let the kids play!