The Colorado Rockies finished the #PurpleRowSim week with a 4-2 record. After losing the first two games to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies salvaged game three and proceeded to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates. The sweep over the Pirates was particularly impressive as the Bucs have a 42-29 record in 2020, good enough for a tie for first place in the National League Central along with the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the final four games of the week, the Rockies scored 40 total runs (by far the best four-game stretch of run-scoring for the Rockies this season).
The Hampson Also Rises
Leading the way was Garrett Hampson, who after finally receiving consistent playing time, saw his average rise from .196 this time last week to its current mark of .316. A 14-for-25 stretch at the plate will do that for you. Hampson now has an on-base percentage over the .400 mark and is comfortably over .500 in terms of slugging percentage. Hampson has been so impressive that Sim Bud Black has handed him the reins as the everyday center fielder. It wasn’t hard to force Black’s hand as David Dahl (who began the season as the everyday center fielder), Ian Desmond (who began the season as the everyday left fielder), and Sam Hilliard have all posted disappointing numbers in 2020.
The .180-batting Hilliard only received a single plate appearance this past week, in which he drew a walk, while Desmond has seen his batting average drop to .222. But what about the platoon splits for Desmond, you ask? Well, yes, he is batting better against left-handed pitching, but it’s to the tune of a .224 batting average.
Out of Left Field
Dahl had been on a terrible stretch, but a good series against the Pirates saw his slash line improve to .252/.303/.451. And he is batting .275 against right-handers. Black should generally be comfortable with penciling in an outfield (from left to right) of Dahl, Hampson and Charlie Blackmon against righties, while Desmond will probably still receive the bulk of the left field at-bats vs. southpaws. For his part, Hampson’s average is above .300 against both righties and lefties.
Another platoon appears to be shaping up at first base, where Daniel Murphy is batting .276 against righties and only .197 vs. lefties. Right now, Josh Fuentes is getting the opportunity to face lefties but is only batting .189 on the year in 37 at-bats (with no platoon split). Chris Owings has 88 at-bats on the season and is batting .250 but only .233 against southpaws, so neither jump out as an obvious platoon partner. The hope will be that Fuentes figures things out or that Owings impresses enough in his pinch-hit role to earn more action.
Speaking of platoons, whatever’s going on with Elias Díaz and Drew Butera appears to be working. They have combined for an overall slash of .260/.329/.373, but when you combine the performance of Díaz against lefties and Butera against righties, they’re batting .345 (Díaz .370 against southpaws and Butera .300 against righties). While Díaz and Butera both bat from the right side of the plate, the “platoon” has been working out quite well.
The Usual Suspects
All this talk of offense is without even mentioning the usual suspects continuing their hot hitting. Last week, Nolan Arenado and Ryan McMahon both had two-homer games (McMahon had three on the week). Arenado’s 21 home runs now lead the NL and McMahon is right behind him for second place. If it weren’t for Hampson’s other-worldly week, we might be paying more attention to McMahon’s 7-for-18 stretch. McMahon’s been a rather streaky hitter in 2020, at least in terms of AVG and OBP. His slugging percentage has been consistently well above .500. His power surge is looking more and more legit as the season wears on!
Sim Rockies Batting Stats through July 12, 2020
Making the Márquez
On the pitching side of things, Germán Márquez continues to shave down his ERA, which currently sits at 6.32 after an impressive 8-inning outing in which he allowed only two runs.
The Bullpen is Mightier
We likely won’t see any Rockies’ pitchers throw in the simulated All-Star Game, but if anyone does, it would be Tyler Kinley. And were it not for time missed due to injury, Scott Oberg could find his name in the mix as well. Regardless of the national recognition, Kinley and Oberg are beginning to make for an enviable one-two punch at the back end of the bullpen.
Kinley certainly didn’t do anything wrong when he was in the closer role, but Oberg’s return pushed him back to the eighth inning, where his 2.16 ERA and 11.2 K/9 has been tough for opposing hitters to handle.
Oberg has now made four appearances since returning from the Injured List and has yet to walk a batter, which is very good news. The fact that his walk rate has dropped to 7.2 per nine innings shows just how troubling it was. Perhaps we’re finding out the wrist issue that landed Oberg on the IL was impacting him for much of the season prior. The good news is Oberg is looking good closing out games now.
Grills Just Wanna Have Fun
Evan Grills has now made three major league starts and walked a batter for the first time ever in the first inning of his third appearance. For the first time, Grills labored in an inning (the sixth inning of Friday’s win over the Pirates), but it can be easily overlooked for now. Grills has been quite impressive.
Freeland Before Time
Kyle Freeland has not been having much success himself. In his last 14 innings, Freeland has allowed 21 runs (albeit only 15 earned) on 25 hits. He has struck out six, while walking eight. Freeland’s strikeout rate of 4.5/9 is concerning. It’s impressive and surprising that his ERA still sits at 3.77, but it would be advantageous for him to figure things out, especially with Jon Gray posting a 4.67 ERA in 17 1/3 innings in Triple-A Albuquerque, suggesting he’s not ready to return to the Show just yet.
Cold WAR Kids
Suffice to say, the Rockies have four batters who have reached at least 1.0 Wins Above Replacement. Best among the pitching staff is Antonio Senzatela’s 0.7 WAR.
Rockies pitchers did prove to be quite impressive with the bats last week, with Márquez collecting two hits and four RBI in one of his starts, while Chi Chi González hit his first major league home run and Grills notched his first big league hit.
Sim Rockies Pitching Stats through July 12, 2020
Sim NL West Standings through July 12, 2020
Sim NL Wild Card Standings through July 12, 2020