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Dinelson Lamet couldn’t replicate 2022 success

The veteran right-hander struggled as both reliever and starter in 2023

Welcome to the 2023 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2023. 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. 54, Dinelson Lamet, -1.4 rWAR

After a solid stint with the Colorado Rockies down the stretch of the 2022 season out of the bullpen where he ranked at No. 18 in our series, it made sense for the team to re-sign Lamet to a one-year $5 million contract to avoid arbitration. The hope was that Lamet could replicate something akin to the 4.05 ERA in 19 games in 2022, to a full season’s worth of work in 2023.

Unfortunately, that was not the case one bit.

Over the first month of the season, Lamet made 11 appearances, allowing 15 runs, 14 earned, on 14 hits in just 10 13 innings. In what was an otherwise solid and reliable bullpen at the time, Lamet’s 12.19 ERA was a glaring blemish. On April 28 facing the Arizona Diamondbacks, Lamet allowed five runs on three hits while recording just one out in the ninth inning.

Following an outing on May 3, the Rockies placed Lamet on the injured list with lower back stiffness. The injury came with opportunity as it allowed Lamet to reset from a rough first month and presented a chance to return to a starting rotation. Due to the losses of Germán Márquez, Antonio Senzatela, and Ryan Feltner to injury along with the release of José Ureña in April, the Rockies felt it worth a shot to see if Lamet could return to his glory days as a starter with the San Diego Padres.

Lamet made three starts with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes and dazzled in his 10 innings of work. Over three games he allowed just one run on six hits while tallying 11 strikeouts, including a six-strikeout 4 23 inning performance, against just one walk. All indications showed that the move could pay off and the Rockies could salvage Lamet's season and boost their rotation.

Again, that was not the case.

In his first start for the Rockies, Lamet lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits against the Diamondbacks. His second start was a little better, allowing two runs over three innings against the San Francisco Giants. His third start showed continued improvement when he allowed two earned runs over five innings of work against the San Diego Padres. However, it would be his final start that ended his Rockies career.

Facing the Atlanta Braves, Lamet was pounded for eight runs on five hits over four innings of work. He managed to strike out five batters, but walked just as many and coughed up three home runs in what was a nightmare series for the Rockies in Atlanta. He was designated for assignment on June 17, the very next day.

All in all, Lamet made 16 appearances, including four starts, with an unsightly 11.57 ERA in 25 13 innings along with 31 strikeouts, 22 walks, and six home runs. His 23.1% strikeout rate was solid but his 16.4% walk rate was almost double the league average rate of 8.7%. He was also getting hit hard by opponents who batted .349/.455/.642 with a 52.5% hard-hit rate.

Lamet ended up in the Boston Red Sox organization following his release, making just one appearance in early August, but he rejected an outright assignment from the Red Sox and has been a free agent since August 14.

Unfortunately for Lamet, he was unable to replicate the flash-in-the-pan success of the 2022 season with the Rockies. It was a worthwhile move to bring him back for 2023, but credit must be given to the Rockies for cutting Lamet loose when they did, rather than continuing rolling him out through the rest of the summer. There is still a chance that Lamet can get his career back on track with a new team in 2024 since he is just 31 years old, but it’s extremely unlikely that team will be the Rockies.

★ ★ ★

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