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.
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No. 14, Antonio Senzatela: 0.5 rWAR
Starting the first year of a 5-year, $50.5 million contract, there were some expectations for Antonio Senzatela in 2022. As part of the pitching core that all signed extensions during or before their arbitration years, the Rockies potential success at least partly hinged on Senzatela, Germán Márquez, and Kyle Freeland.
Unfortunately for the Rockies and Senzatela, the first year of the contract did not go as planned. He went on the injured list twice, missing parts of May and July, before tearing his ACL in August and landing on the IL for the third time to end the season. He underwent surgery for the ACL tear and is expected to miss the start of the 2023 season and return in early May.
Due in part to his missed time and the inevitable slow starts due to rehab, Senzatela experienced one of his worst major league seasons by traditional metrics. He finished the year 3-7 with a 5.07 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. All three marks registered as the second-worst of Senzatela’s six-year career. His peripheral numbers, however, showed some signs for positivity.
Antonio Senzatela, Yearly Numbers
Hitters hit .349 against Senzatela in 2022, which was by far a career worst. This was buoyed by an historically unlucky BABIP of .386 (FanGraphs has it as .383 and as the second worst season on record). It could be argued that that is just his career average dramatically regressing to the mean - he had previously had BABIPs of below league average for two years, which is an impressive thing to do at Coors Field. His FIP reflects this disparity at 4.05, actually the second best mark of his career.
Antonio Senzatela, Yearly Batted Ball Rates
Looking at his actual batted ball rates, the higher BABIP makes sense. While his ground ball rate stayed consistent relative to previous years, Senzatela gave up more line drives and fewer fly balls. He relied more on his fastball than he has in years, throwing it almost 60% of the time, and it seems that in a league where more and more pitchers are developing plus plus high 90s fastballs, Senza’s mid-90s heater just wasn’t cutting it. The rest of Senzatela’s pitch usage is consistent from years past (see Purple Row’s Mario DeGenz’s summary of Senzatela’s usage) and the rest of the league has caught up.
With more than $40 million committed to Antonio Senzatela over the next four years, the Rockies are in no position to make a serious change in their pitching hierarchy. He’ll be 28-years-old for Opening Day next year and has shown in the past that he has the potential to be a valuable contributor to any MLB rotation - let alone the pitching-starved Rockies. However, similar to the rest of the Rockies arms, he’ll be asked to show that he’s more than just potential if the Rockies are to have success.