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Brendan Rodgers and his reverse splits

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

The Coors Hangover is a well-known issue for Rockies hitters, and as every casual fan takes delight in pointing out, hitters who wear the purple pinstripes often see a massive discrepancy between their Coors Field numbers and their road numbers. This is not news for anyone who follows the team, of course; the 2021 Rockies are hitting an MLB-best .281/.342/.486 at home compared to an MLB-worst .215/.289/.346 on the road. So what if I showed you this?

Brendan Rodgers Home/Road Splits

HR AVG OBP SLG K% BB% EV (mph) LA (º)
HR AVG OBP SLG K% BB% EV (mph) LA (º)
2 .295 .339 .417 17.9% 4.2% 90.0 7
10 .268 .322 .500 20.3% 6.4% 88.1 6

Up top are Rodgers’ home numbers, at the bottom go his road numbers, and the difference in homers is staggering. 10 to 2! It’s not a case of hunting heaters either: Rodgers has twice as many home runs on breaking and offspeed stuff on the road (4) than home runs at Coors period. However, why is that? It’s not like he’s hitting the ball way harder or more in the air on the road, it’s actually the opposite... and then you look at HR/FB%.

Home run to flyball rate is a stat that says how many of a hitter’s flyballs turn into homers, and it’s sort of like BABIP in a way, where hitters and/or pitchers can influence it, but it tends to stay around a certain value throughout a large enough sample size. If a hitter has a sky-high HR/FB%, he’s probably playing a bit over his head, and if a pitcher has an extremely low HR/FB%, then maybe that home run prevention of his is not all process and/or skill.

Rodgers’ HR/FB% on the road is pushing 25%, which is very high, and about twice as high as the Rockies’ team-wide HR/FB% on the road. So, we found our explanation, everything makes sense, and Brendan Rodgers will regress to the mean. We’re done here, right? Well, no, because his Coors HR/FB% is just 6.1%, which is astonishingly low. I mean, Daza, Tapia, Hampson, and even Joshua Fuentes have better HR/FB% numbers at home.

Let’s look at a couple more charts, just for fun. Here’s Rodgers’ spray chart for all batted balls at home...

... and here’s the same spray chart, but on the road (without his HR and two groundball outs yesterday in Atlanta).

You can see it right away. Rodgers has been making a lot of 370+ feet outs at Coors Field, and very few on the road. Also, strangely enough, he has an almost anti-pull batted ball tendency at home, but sprays the ball more evenly on the road. Is that a small sample size? Likely, but I do think Rodgers’ natural tendency to hit the ball up the middle contributes somewhat to that lack of home runs at Coors. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for him to become a dead pull hitter; he has the bat speed and the hand-eye coordination to not need those shortcuts in order to unlock his power. He’s likely severely underperfoming at Coors and somewhat overperforming on the road, which evens itself out quite nicely indeed. I’m very excited to see how he does moving forward.

★ ★ ★

2021 Top 100 Prospects, Updated List | Baseball America ($)

Featuring a big rise for Mr. Zac Veen, who’s been making a tremendous impression on the baseball industry.

Top 5 players to play for the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves | Rox Pile

There’s some good players on this list, including a couple of Blake Street Bombers. Also, there are five players who have only played for either the Braves or the Rockies, which is about five than I thought!

On The Farm

The final game of the season between these two ballclubs was a tightly contested one in Albuquerque. Both teams got good outings from their starters to get to that point, as the Isotopes’ Ryan Castellani (5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 HR) kept up with El Paso’s Adrián Martínez (5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR) into the sixth inning. The key rally for the ‘Topes came in the bottom of the 8th when, trailing by a run, center fielder Wynton Bernard singled with one out, which was then followed by Nº 10 PuRP Ryan Vilade drawing a walk, putting the go-ahead run on base. Josh Fuentes then ripped the very next pitch into center, scoring both Bernard and Vilade and giving Albuquerque a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Isotopes are now 51-63 following the win after taking five of seven from El Paso. They’ll have a day off before heading to Sugar Land for a six-game series.

A legitimate pitcher’s duel in Hartford, with Portland’s Víctor Santos (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR) and the Yard Goats’ Matt Dennis (7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR) going back and forth for most of the game. Both teams combined for just seven hits all game, but Portland managed to scratch out a run after a leadoff double in the top of the 8th that came around to score two batters later. The Yard Goats are now 37-67 after dropping the series opener against the Sea Dogs, and this latest setback marks their seventh consecutive loss. Just five more ballgames remain for them.

What a weird, Ubaldo Jiménez-esque outing this was for Nº 13 PuRP Helcris Olivarez. The good? 6.2 innings of no-hit ball, eight strikeouts, and no homers allowed. Great! The bad? Four walks, 101 pitches... and two earned runs (which, to be fair, scored after he was lifted from the game). Huh? Also, Olivarez allowed no hits through 6.2 IP and was on the hook for a loss until Spokane rallied for four runs in the 9th inning, which is just so weird, and on top of that, the go-ahead run in this game was scored on a passed ball in the 10th inning. Baseball’s great, isn’t it? Anyway, the Indians are now 64-49, starting the final series of the regular season with a win.

A rare ugly ballgame for the Fresno Grizzlies in the first of what will be eleven straight against the San José Giants (between regular and postseason play). They struck out 14 times, made four errors, got caught stealing and picked off, stranded seven, and went 0-for-3 with RISP. Starter Anderson Amarista was not helped at all by his defense (4.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR), and was badly outdueled by the Giants’ Kyle Harrison (5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 0 HR). Perhaps the fact that it was the team’s first game in a week could be part of the explanation, but whatever the case, it was a bad day at the office all-around for the Grizzlies, who are now “only” 72-38.

★ ★ ★

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