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Purple Row Rockies Madness: No. 1 Pedro Astacio vs. No. 3 Brian Fuentes

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Elite 8 matchup in the Mile High Region

Due to the cancellation of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, Purple Row is hosting our own Rockies Madness Tournament this year. We selected the 36 best players in Rockies history to determine the best player in franchise history. We sorted them into four regions to force the most interesting matchups: Infielders, Outfielders, Mile High (for relievers and starting pitchers who began their career before the humidor), and Humidor (for starters who began their career after the humidor). All stats are from Baseball Reference.

Today is the Elite 8 matchup in the Mile High Region: No. 1 Pedro Astacio vs. No. 3 Brian Fuentes.

Pedro Astacio, Starting Pitcher

1997-2001

Astacio Rockies Career Stats

bWAR W L ERA G GS IP SO WHIP
bWAR W L ERA G GS IP SO WHIP
10.8 53 48 5.43 130 129 827.1 749 1.463

Notes

• In 2010, Astacio posted the most wins of his career with a 17-11 record and a 5.04 ERA in 232 innings spread out over 34 starts. His WHIP was 1.435.

• Astacio leads the Rockies all-time list with 14 complete games. His 53 wins are sixth best in team history and his 8.148 strikeouts per nine innings is fourth best in Rockies history.

• Astacio had the 5th best WAR (5.9) among NL pitchers in 1999 and the best fielding percentage (1.000) for NL pitchers in 1998 and 2000.

• Astacio was voted onto the Rockies all-time 25-man roster, which was voted on my fans and announced to celebrate the 25th year of the existence of the team in 2018.

Brief Career Overview

Pedro Astacio never won any awards with the Rockies. He never led the league in anything except earned runs (145 in 1998), home runs (39 in 1998, 38 in 1999), and hit by pitches (17 in 1998). But he more than any other pre-humidor pitcher proved that pitchers can have success in Coors Field. Traded from the Dodgers on August 19, 1997, in exchange for Eric Young, he struck out over a batter per inning and posted a 122 ERA+ in seven starts, propelling the Rockies to a winning record for the third season in a row. He signed with the Rockies that offseason and in 1999 set numerous single season franchise records: innings pitched (232) and complete games (7) still stand today, while strikeouts (210), bWAR for pitchers (5.9), and wins (17) were not surpassed until Ubaldo Jimenez’s 2010 season. As former Mets GM Steve Phillips put it, “He’s the pitcher who mentally has not been affected by pitching in Colorado. Pedro has always tended to throw strikes. He’s aggressive with his stuff and trusts his stuff is good enough.”

Brian Fuentes, Relief Pitcher

2002-2008

Fuentes Rockies Career Stats

bWAR W L ERA G SV IP SO WHIP
bWAR W L ERA G SV IP SO WHIP
9.8 16 26 3.38 428 115.0 410.1 470 1.238

Awards

  • 3x All Star (2005-2007)

Notes

  • Brian Fuentes was the first reliever and third pitcher in Rockies history to be named an All-Star (unfortunately he never appeared in the actual game).
  • Fuentes pitched sidearm, which is unusual for a left-handed pitcher and difficult for hitters to pick up.
  • In 2006 Fuentes was chosen to help represent the United States in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
  • In the Rockies 2007 run, he pitched in all three games against the Phillies and was the winner of the deciding game.

Brief Career Overview

Cut from his high school baseball team after his junior year, Brian Fuentes eventually went on to be the first reliever to represent the Rockies in the All-Star Game, doing so (without appearing) from 2005-2007. He remains the all-time Rockies leader in games finished (243), saves (115), strikeouts by a reliever (470), and, if you prefer your stats nerdy, Win Probability Added (8.0). In seven seasons in Denver, he posted a 144 ERA+. He remains on the short-list of best relievers in franchise history.

★ ★ ★

Poll

Mile High Region: Elite 8

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    No. 1 Pedro Astacio, RHP
    (107 votes)
  • 43%
    No. 3 Brian Fuentes, LHP
    (84 votes)
191 votes total Vote Now