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Robert Stephenson and Ashton Goudeau struggled out of the bullpen in 2022

Ineffectiveness out of the bullpen resulted in both relievers being designated for assignment

Welcome to the 2022 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2022. 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. 40, Robert Stephenson: -0.5 rWAR

No. 39, Ashton Goudeau: -0.5 rWAR

The bullpen is a volatile entity, where inconsistency and ineffectiveness are under a microscope and if you aren’t performing, you may find yourself out of the job. Such was the case for Robert Stephenson and Ashton Goudeau during the 2022 season as both found themselves booted off the 40-man roster at separate points in the season. Goudeau remained at Triple-A Albuquerque for most of the season while Stephenson ended the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Acquired from the Cinncinatti Reds prior to the 2021 season, Stephenson looked like he would be a staple in the Rockies bullpen after he impressed with a 3.13 ERA in 49 innings. The Rockies had big hopes for him in 2022, but things did not go his way as he posted a 6.04 ERA in 44 23 innings of work while also spending several stints on the injured list due to COVID or other injuries. His 4.65 FIP — along with similar walk, strikeout, and home runs rates from 2021 — suggest he was nearly the same pitcher, but an uptick in hard hits allowed and some bad luck with the Rockies' defense hurt Stephenson.

Perhaps the most detrimental aspect of Stephenson’s 2022 with the Rockies was when the runs were being allowed. In what Baseball Reference considers low-leverage situations, Stephenson gave up 21 runs, and while he had his moments this season, he would often be the culprit in seeing a game fall out further out of reach. Late in August he was finally designated for assignment and was quickly claimed off waivers by the Pirates. In case you’re wondering, he has shown some promise again with the Bucs, striking out 17 in 12 13 innings and allowing just five runs.

As for Ashton Goudeau, 2022 saw the reliever regress after a promising 2021 stint with the big-league club. Goudeau made the Opening Day roster but became unable to amass any scoreless outings. Of the 12 games he pitched in this season, he allowed at least one run in all but three of them. Goudeau was optioned to Triple-A in the middle of May, before being recalled for a few doubleheaders at the end of that month. His last big-league appearance came on May 28 against the Washington Nationals, ending his season with a 7.08 ERA in 20 13 innings with 16 strikeouts and 10 walks.

Goudeau’s struggles continued in Triple-A all season. Appearing in 20 games, and starting 15 of them, Goudeau had a 0-7 record and a 9.51 ERA in 64 13 innings with the Isotopes. He was stung the most by 15 home runs and a 1.927 WHIP, while also struggling with walks and an inability to tally strikeouts. Ultimately, Goudeau found himself outrighted off the 40-man roster in early August, in favor of younger pitchers looking for a chance.

Inconsistency and ineffectiveness landed both these Rockies on the chopping block, and with Stephenson donning a new uniform and Goudeau likely to not return to the organization, the bullpen should be an area of focus in the coming offseason as the Rockies try to improve their pitching.