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. 39, Jesus Tinoco: -0.3 rWAR
Like many teams this season, the Rockies felt the effects of COVID-19 on its roster. Prior to the series finale against the Angels in Anaheim at the end of July, the Rockies had to make an emergency move after adding scheduled starter Chi Chi González to the COVID-19 list. There was only one man for the job to replace him: Jesus Tinoco.
The last surviving member of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, Tinoco has struggled to find a place at the big-league level with the majority of his innings coming in 2019 when he pitched in 24 games for the Rockies. He was then traded to the Miami Marlins in August of 2020 where he pitched five clean innings with the team before being claimed off waivers by the Rockies a month later. Tinoco became a non-roster invitee to Spring Training with the Rockies in 2021 but was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque where he spent the entire season, except for one single game.
On July 28, the Rockies selected Tinoco’s contract to replace González. The Rockies had to revert to a “bullpen game” due to the last-minute roster changes. Lucas Gilbreath and Antonio Santos held on to the Rockies' narrow lead through the first three innings. After giving up a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, Santos was replaced by Tinoco to face David Fletcher. Unfortunately for Tinoco, it was not an ideal appearance for the right-handed pitcher. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Tinoco hit Fletcher with a pitch.
With two-way star Shohei Ohtani up to the plate, Tinoco served up a three-run blast to right field that gave the Angels the lead. Two batters later, he would surrender a two-run home run to Justin Upton to extend the Angels’ onslaught with two outs. Another solo home run in the top of the fifth by Max Stassi would signal the end of Tinoco’s time with the Rockies.
In his lone appearance of 2021, Tinoco amassed a 33.75 ERA while allowing five runs on five hits including three home runs in just 1 1⁄3 innings. He would be sent back to Albuquerque the next for the rest of the season where his struggles continued.
In 56 innings with the Isotopes, he posted a 6.00 ERA and gave up 36 runs on 60 hits while opponents batted over .300 against him. Another alarming figure for Tincoco was the fact that he allowed 27 walks compared to just 58 strikeouts.
At 26-years-old, Tincoco may be running out of time to find a place in the big leagues. His status with the team this coming offseason will be in question among the other decisions the team will be making. He has some peripherals that made him an attractive piece in the first place, but if he wants to succeed as a big-league pitcher, Tinoco needs to develop consistent strike-throwing skills that prevent home runs and limit walks.