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Ashton Goudeau found a home (for awhile) in long relief for the Rockies

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The well-traveled long reliever settled back in at Coors Field

Welcome to the 2021 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2021. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

★ ★ ★

No. 26, Ashton Goudeau: 0.3 rWAR

If the Rockies have an award for “Most Frequent Flier Miles in 2021,” it surely went to right-handed pitcher Austin Goudeau.

Goudeau’s travels began after he was drafted by the Royals in the 27th round of 2012. He played in their system until being traded to the Mariners in March of 2018. In November of that year, he became a free agent and signed with the Colorado Rockies, playing in the Rockies’ system until being promoted to the major leagues on July 23, 2020, and finally appearing in a game on August 17. He pitched 8 13 innings for the Rockies in 2020 before being designated for assignment.

That’s when he really began accumulating miles:

  • November 20, 2020 — Claimed off waivers by the Pirates
  • December 7, 2020 — Claimed off waivers by the Orioles
  • March 18, 2021 — Claimed off waivers by the Giants
  • April 10, 2021 — Claimed off waivers by the Dodgers
  • April 18, 2021 — Claimed off waivers by the Rockies
  • April 29, 2021 — DFA’d by the Rockies
  • May 2, 2021 — Claimed off waivers by the Reds
  • May 29, 2021 — Traded to the Rockies for cash considerations

That’s a lot of baseball teams. As I was researching this piece, Hank Snow’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” became a baseball ear worm.

For Goudeau, it was a challenging time. As he explained to Rox Pile, “The journey to get here [which involved six transactions] was stressful . . . There was a stretch for like a month—it was like every two weeks—I was with a new team. The bad thing was I wasn’t playing in games. I would show up to a team, throw a bullpen, try to wind up with a schedule—and by the time I did—I was on to the next team.”

Eventually, however, he settled with the Rockies where he’s worked primarily in long relief, although he did start the Rockies’ final game of the season. He’s earned an ERA of 4.26 (ERA+ of 113) while appearing in 25 13 innings across 11 games. Goudeau’s FIP is 4.55, and he has a WHIP of 0.947.

Here he is striking out Giants pitcher Logan Webb:

He did not actually strike out a lot of hitters this year and had a K% of 19.8.

It’s also worth noting that in 2021, Goudeau had his first hit as a major league player:

He went on to slash .167/.167/.167 for a wRC+ of -27, so he did not present an offensive threat.

Bud Black said of Goudeau, “He has performed . . . He just wants a chance to probably stick somewhere in the big leagues and let everybody know that he is a Major League pitcher. I think there is a confidence to Ashton and I do think there is a determination to prove that he belongs and belongs to stay because he feels he is a good pitcher.”

What the future holds for Goudeau remains to be seen. Given the Rockies’ decision to DFA Chi Chi González, Goudeau may have a future with the Rockies in long relief. If not, he can get back to work on achieving Platinum Flier status.