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.
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No. 45, Yency Almonate: -1.1 rWAR
After an outstanding 2020 that saw him ranked ninth in our Ranking the Rockies series, and as the second-best reliever on the roster, Yency Almonte had his worst statistical year in 2021 and it wasn’t even close.
Nearly three weeks ago, Justin Wick chronicled Almonte’s struggles. Fortunately, since that article was written on Sept. 14, Almonte has pitched 4 2⁄3 scoreless innings and ended 2021 on a high note. So that’s positive.
As Wick mentioned, Almonte pitched much better on the road than at home this year, something rare among the Rockies pitching staff. He had a 10.67 ERA and 1.96 WHIP at home, compared to a 3.48 ERA and 1.11 WHIP away. Those numbers are also nearly identical first half (10.67 ERA and 1.93 WHIP pre-ASG vs. 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP post-ASG). Granted Almonte missed half of July with a COVID diagnosis, but still.
So obviously Almonte figured some things out in the second half, but was it enough for him to save his job? Will 2022 yield a Yency Almonte closer to the 2020 version, or the 2021 version?
If it’s the 2020 version, then Almonte should be a key to the young Rockies future. He could return to be an anchor in the oft-maligned bullpen. But if it’s the 2021 version, he could be a DFA candidate in Bill Schmidt’s first offseason as full-time GM since he is out of minor league options.