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The weaknesses are glaring, but what are the strengths of the Rockies?

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Colorado Rockies news and and links for Monday, May 24, 2021

There are a lot of things that are wrong with the Colorado Rockies and their near-NL-worst record of 18-29 represents that. From an inconsistent offense to a bullpen prone to imploding and the inability to manufacture runs on the road, there are only a few teams in the league with this kind of unique ability to find so many ways to lose games. But what does this team do right? What are its strengths? Are there any?

There are. When you look past all the losses, there’s a few things this team has going.

Speed

This is an aspect of the team that I think often gets taken for granted. The Rockies have some of the best speed in the league with guys like Trevor Story, Garrett Hampson, Raimel Tapia and Yonathan Daza. As a team, they have stolen 27 bases which is sixth-most in the majors. The four mentioned above have combined to score 85 of the team’s 218 total runs. They’ve only been caught stealing seven times this year so there’s an argument to be made that the Rockies could use some more aggressiveness on the basepaths to get more runners in scoring position. This could be especially important since the Rockies are only slugging .398.

By turning up the aggressiveness, the Rockies can better take advantage of another strength which has been how well they’ve hit with runners on (.272 BA for 3rd best in MLB). That combination of increased steals with speed and timely hitting can create a lot more runs than it already has and could be really useful on the road where the team has had an extremely difficult time scoring.

Playing at home

The record that gets brought up a lot is the team’s dreadful 2-17 road record. It’s deserved; the team has been near-unwatchable on the road but the flipside of that is that team has been...dare I say it… decent and fun at home. That’s right: the Rockies are 16-12 and actually score a lot at home. Our own Evan Lang dove deeper into the disparaging home/road numbers last week but the most eye-popping numbers involve the starting pitching. Strangely enough, every starter but Germán Márquez has a much better ERA at home than on the road. On the other side of the ball, the offense is top five in home OPS at .795 but completely disappears on the road with a league-worst .573 road OPS.

So hey, at least they’re fun to go see in Denver?

First base

After a few years of the Daniel Murphy and Ian Desmond experiences at first base, the Rockies have quietly built up the first base position to be an area of strength and depth on the major league roster. I can’t remember a time when the Rockies had so many quality options at first with a .297-hitting C.J. Cron, a steaming-hot and recent NL Player of the Week in Josh Fuentes, and Connor Joe who’s carrying a .391 OBP in 46 plate appearances. Not to mention Ryan McMahon is no slouch at first base and while he hasn’t played there this season, he could do so if needed. Matt Adams is… well, he’s an option.

★ ★ ★

3 moves that Rockies Twitter would make if they ran the show | Rox Pile

Rockies Twitter is an entertaining place filled with lots of hot takes, reactions and emotions. Rox Pile puts together a few moves that Rockies Twitter has been clamoring for some time; it includes the removal of a couple of coaches, an increase in role for analytical data and a decrease in role of a certain owner who’s name rhymes with Vick.

Freeland nearing return from IL | MLB.com

Kyle Freeland is expected to make his return on Tuesday against Jacob DeGrom and the Mets. Coming off two solid rehab starts for Triple-A Albuquerque, Freeland is excited and ready to make his 2021 season debut. Also included in this story are notes from Ryan Rolison’s Triple-A debut that went a little rougher than he would have liked.

On the farm

The Albuquerque Isotopes walked off the Oklahoma City Dodgers 11-10 on Sunday with a Brian Serven solo home run off old friend James Pazos. It was one of two home runs hit by Serven on Sunday, the first one came as part of a six-run seventh inning. All but one player in the lineup recorded at least one hit; five of them including Sam Hilliard and Nick Longhi earned themselves two hits. José Mujica made his third start of the season but was tagged for six earned runs in just four innings. Mujica has now given up at least five runs in each of his three starts which totals 18 earned runs in just 10 13 innings.

The Hartford Yard Goats were defeated by the Somerset Patriots 10-3 on Sunday. The loss completes a six-game series sweep of the Yard Goats. Starting pitcher Will Gaddis got knocked for eight earned runs including three home runs in just three innings. The offense was not able to respond and managed only four hits. Two of the runs were gifts from the Patriots on two separate throwing errors. The effort was led by DH Coco Montes who recorded a triple and Jameson Hannah who went 1-for-4 with a walk. The team was 0-for-8 with RISP.

The Spokane Indians lost to the Everett AquaSox 11-6. Starter David Hill went four innings and allowed two earned runs but it was reliever Trysten Barlow who was credited with his first loss. Barlow gave up three walks for three runs and was taken out of the game without recording an out. Riley Pint also made a relief appearance for one inning and gave up two hits, four unearned runs and two strikeouts. On the offensive side, catcher Willie MacIver went 2-for-3 with a walk and a three-run home run in the first.

In Fresno, the Grizzlies fell to the San Jose Giants 6-4. The team was leading for the entire game until the top of the ninth when reliever Juan Mejia gave up three singles, a walk and a wild pitch to give the Giants the lead 3-2 before being pulled out of the game. The inning got even worse when Giants catcher Ricardo Genoves hit a three-run home run to make it 6-2. Third baseman Mateo Gil went 3-for-4 with a double.

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 11, Oklahoma City Dodgers 10

Double-A: Somerset Patriots 10, Hartford Yard Goats 3

High-A: Everett AquaSox 11, Spokane Indians 6

Low-A: San Jose Giants 6, Fresno Grizzlies 4

★ ★ ★

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