Today marks the end of the first “half” of the 2022 season and as the All-Star Game festivities get underway, it only seems fitting that we look back on the season thus far and highlight some of the good, some of the bad, and some of the ugly that I took away from the season at this point. So put on your best Clint Eastwood grimace, clench that jaw, and get ready to stare down each other, and let’s get to it.
The Good: New kids on the block
With some obvious holes heading into the 2022 season, the Colorado Rockies needed to make some moves in several key areas. In a bizarre twist we aren’t typically accustomed to, the majority of new additions to the team have turned in fairly adequate to fantastic performances thus far.
Despite injuries taking a toll, we have seen bits and pieces of Kris Bryant’s offensive potential in the past couple of weeks and he is continually getting more comfortable with the team, and now that he is active on the roster you can tell the difference his leadership on the field makes a difference in the clubhouse. Randal Grichuk hasn’t been the powerhouse we hoped he would be, but he is still hitting .250 on the season with nine home runs and 41 RBI and gradually hitting the ball in the air more.
We’ve seen José Iglesias and his bat become a nice surprise this season and he is one of the best hitters in baseball on the road this season with a .363 AVG which is a welcome attribute for the Rockies. For a guy just meant to warm the seat at his position for prospects, he has gone above and beyond at the plate and has cleaned up his defense even though it’s still not as good as you want it to be.
Chad Kuhl’s emergence as the best starting pitcher for the Rockies this season thus far is an unexpected development. He has the lowest ERA in the rotation at 4.11 and a 4.46 FIP. He has filled in nicely for Jon Gray and is now a candidate to be a valuable trade trip or could even be an extension target for the team. In addition, Alex Colomé has also settled in nicely in the bullpen, despite being one of the slowest pitchers in baseball, his 2.67 FIP is the best in the ole arm barn currently.
It’s difficult for new players to make an immediate impact with the club, but the crop of guys that joined the Rockies this season have done so admirably and I’ve enjoyed having them all on the team.
Other Notables: C.J. Cron became an All-Star, Daniel Bard returned to dominance, Tyler Kinley was unhittable, Chuck Nazty is back
The Bad: This isn’t the rotation you’re looking for
Outside of Kuhl, it’s been a rough season for the Rockies rotation regulars returning in 2022. The egregious difference in 2022 has been Germán Márquez. After being named an All-Star in 2021, Márquez completely changed his approach this season. He changed up his pitch arsenal usage and the results did not follow, especially when it came to his fastball, and he has pitched to a 5.47 ERA. He’s begun to return to form in his last few starts to end the first half as he has gone back to what made him dominant in the first place, but they need Márquez to continue to get back to his ace status.
Much like their teammate, both Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland have taken some steps back in 2022. Both were recipients of long-term extensions with the Rockies and have had similar results this season. They each have an ERA of a little under five while struggling to string together a strong stretch of quality starts. Injuries have hindered Senzatela this season in addition to returning to an old pitching approach that wasn’t effective, and Freeland just can’t seem to find the magic of his 2018 season again but keeps on chugging along and battling in every start.
Lastly, Austin Gomber just hasn’t looked comfortable all season. His 6.11 ERA is the highest on the team and at times his curveball has not been as dominant as it has been before. Much like the rest of the rotation, walks have been a problem and missed locations on pitches have resulted in an abundance of home runs and extra-base hits surrendered.
Other notables: Lack of power, Injuries decimating the roster, Bullpen struggles, We hit too many ground balls
The Ugly: Lead gloves and dead bats on the road
If you look up ugly in the dictionary it’s just going to show you the Rockies' defensive stats on the season and their offensive road numbers.
It’s almost a given nowadays that the Rockies are going to be terrible offensively on the road. They lack power on the road, and despite leading all of baseball in batting average, that’s a misleading stat because as a unit the club is quite flawed, especially on the road. They have 344 strikeouts away from Coors Field to just 110 walks and have a .292 OBP. They struggle to get on base and sometimes can’t even hit the ball and generate some offense. It’s torture to watch the Rockies on the road.
However, what isn’t a given is the defensive miscues the team has had this season. Sure, they have cleaned things up quite between the end of June to now, but that still doesn’t erase how bad things were the months prior. Their 59 errors are tied for second in all of baseball which has helped lead to a -11.5 Def according to FanGraphs. Sure, the team has turned a ton of double plays, but they have played so much sloppy baseball and given up roughly 43 unearned runs this season. It’s been bad, and luckily they have addressed it and hopefully contained it from getting any worse.
A new half
So, the Rockies have been a bit more mediocre this season than any of us hoped they would be. There are definitely some highlights and lowlights, but I still see a team with more potential than what they are producing. Hopefully, everyone involved in the decision-making can address all aspects and not just focus on one good thing, but rather on all areas that can help the team reach its potential.
★ ★ ★
So it sounds like Juan Soto is going to be heading to the trading after rejecting a huge offer from the Washington Nationals. Now, we are more likely to see George R.R. Martin finally finish his last Game of Thrones book before the Rockies land a huge star like Juan Soto. However, our pal Noah Yingling tries to answer the question that we are all thinking because playing out hypothetical scenarios in our minds are lot more fun than reality sometimes.
★ ★ ★
On The Farm
Zac Veen got the start in left field for the NL Futures in Los Angeles during the Futures Game. He was the only NL Future with multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Notably, Veen showed off his speed on the base paths by swiping both second and third in the same inning. Overall a great showing by the highly anticipated Rockies prospect.
Another AB, another single to left— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) July 17, 2022
steals 3rd pic.twitter.com/KhVNoEAE4d
The Isotopes utilized six pitchers on the night to navigate nine innings of one-run ball against Sacramento. Karl Kauffman started on the hill and have up the lone run to the River Cats in 3 2⁄3 innings while walking five and striking out four before giving way to the bullpen to carry it the rest of the way. The Isotopes had nine hits come from the top four spots in the lineup thanks to Sean Bouchard, Elehuris Montero, and Carlos Perez each knocking two hits, and Wynton Bernard had three hits. Montero notched a triple in the game, while Bernard blasted his 15th long ball of the season.
Mitchell Kilkenny got the start for Hartford tonight and tossed 6 2⁄3 strong innings of work, but was stung for three runs in the seventh as the Yard Goats took home the victory on Saturday. The Hartford offense came alive in the fifth inning as they trailed 1-0, thanks to a pair of home runs from Willie MacIver and Michael Toglia. They would add five more in the seventh to make it a 9-4 final. Toglia provided plenty of offense on the night going 4-for-4 with a three-run homer.
Despite tallying 10 hits as a team, Spokane managed just two runs in the ninth innings as they dropped the game 6-2 to Eugene. Joe Rock started on the hill and delivered 5 2⁄3 strong innings, allowing three runs, but the offense couldn’t string together hits to back him up. The team went 2-for-12 with RISP, while Braiden Ward, Hunter Goodman, and Colin Simpson each had multi-hit nights.
Victor Juarez has continued to get roughed up a bit over his past few starts after allowing six runs in four innings of work during his loss to Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday night. Fresno also struggled to string the bats together, after they scored four runs in the first two innings but would be held scoreless until adding one in the top of the ninth. Juan Brito had the most notable night for Fresno, going 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI.
★ ★ ★
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