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The Colorado Rockies are reaping what they sowed in the rotation (plus Pebble Report)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, April 17, 2023

The Colorado Rockies are off to a rough start in the 2023 season. Sitting 5-11 after a three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, the Rockies are still searching for their first series win after five tries already.

There is plenty to point to for the team’s woes. Defensive miscues and a lackluster offense that has managed just a 73 wRC+ are clear signs for the sputtering performance. As is the starting rotation, which has produced some of the worst numbers in the league so far.

Rockies SP 2023

Stat Rockies League Rank
Stat Rockies League Rank
K/9 7.06 27th
K/BB 1.78 27th
HR/9 1.98 27th
FIP 5.98 27th

Only the Oakland Athletics – who have essentially decided to punt on being a professional franchise until they get a new stadium – have consistently performed worse in the rotation this season. But what makes the situation bittersweet is the games the Rockies have managed to win have come on the back of terrific performances from their top two starters Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez.

With a 4-1 combined record in six starts, the two have pitched to a 2.57 ERA with just 26 hits and seven walks allowed in 35 IP. Between the two, Freeland has shined the brightest as he holds a microscope 0.96 ERA with his two runs allowed coming on solo home runs in the same start.

That party hasn’t lasted long, however, as right forearm inflammation has landed Márquez on the 15-day injured list. The news could have been worse as many initially feared damage to the righty’s UCL, but losing a key contributor to an already struggling and injured roster is salt in the wound.

In Márquez’s absence, the club is forced to lean on the rest of the rotation to help pick up the slack and reinforcements from the minors to fill the spot. Unfortunately, the numbers are not encouraging.

Feltner, Gomber and Ureña 2023

Stat 3/4/5 starters
Stat 3/4/5 starters
K/9 7.88
K/BB 5.97
HR/9 2.63
FIP 7.4
ERA 8.84

Ryan Feltner, Austin Gomber and José Ureña have filled-out the rotation, producing numbers that leave much to be desired with an 0-7 record in nine starts. The three have combined to allow 11 HR in 37 ⅔ innings, more homers than four MLB teams have surrendered in total. Their 13.4% combined BB% would rank as the worst mark in the majors, as would their unsightly 8.84 ERA.

The problems for each have been notable. Feltner has struggled to hold up after the first time through the order, with his OPS-against ballooning to 1.511 in his third time against the lineup. Gomber has struggled to keep hitters off-balance, evident by his 44.9% pull-rate and FB% just a hair below 50%. As for Ureña…well there’s no other way to say it but he’s been awful.

To start, Ureña has a dreadful 9.90 ERA and 10.87 FIP, managing to last just 10 innings in three games started. He is averaging 7.20 BB/9, has an extraordinarily-high 33.3% HR/FB and absurd 52.5% hard-hit%. All of this has culminated in a peak-level Barry Bonds slash line of .370/.455/.804 against him.

This is not to say the group cannot find success. After all, it is obviously a very small sample-size so it is fair to expect better results from the trio moving forward to help balance the overall numbers. But this is also the same group that constructed the majority of the rotation in the second half of last season, combining for a 5.65 ERA in 53 GS.

There is also the potential that some of the younger arms can step-up and improve the club’s outlook on the mound. Noah Davis certainly hit that mark with five shutout innings in his first MLB start on Sunday. Behind him, Karl Kauffmann and Jeff Criswell are also refining their craft in Triple-A Albuquerque and could conceivably come-up to the big league team. Plus, the likely return of Antonio Senzatela in May should be a positive addition.

But that is a lot of hopes and “ifs” for an underwhelming rotation to this point. Those hopes and “ifs” seemed to always be the plan, though, as the front office did little to address the rotation in the offseason except quickly re-sign Ureña. There were affordable free agent options and trade targets to explore, but the organization ultimately felt comfortable in putting this group out there, instead.

There’s still time for it to turn around. But so far, the decision to do little to address the rotation does not seem to be paying off for the Colorado Rockies.

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Reliving the Peak of Troy Tulowitzki | Jomboy Media

YouTuber Jolly Olive provides a detailed career-overview of longtime Rockies’ SS Troy Tulowitzki. Covering his accomplishments, unfortunate injury-history and fallout with the Colorado franchise, Olive gives a convincing and entertaining argument that Tulo was close to being one of the greatest of all-time at his position.

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Pebble Report: April 10-16, 2023

It was a strong week for the Rockies minor league system as three squads won their series while the other — High-A Spokane — split their first series of the year.

There were many performances of note, but none bigger than Coco Montes, who slugged three homers on his way to a 1.483 OPS in 26 AB. Montes’ performance was certainly worthy of player-of-the-week consideration and raised his season slash line to an impressive .393/.479/.738 with 16 runs scored and half of his 24 hits going for extra-bases.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (4-2, 9-6 overall)

Strong starts by Karl Kauffmann (No. 23) and Noah Davis (No. 29 PuRP) paved the way for Albuquerque’s series victory with each allowing just two runs — Kauffmann doing so over six innings. Davis’ performance earned him a trip to the majors, where he dazzled in his first start with five shutout innings against the Seattle Mariners. Things did not go as well for Jeff Criswell (HM PuRP), who was torched for 10 hits — four clearing the wall — and 12 ER in just 3 13 IP.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (4-2, 5-4 overall)

Bladimir Restituyo delivered a strong 7-for-23 performance in Hartford’s series win against Reading (PHI), tagging two doubles and home runs. Hunter Goodman (No. 19 PuRP) also frequently left the yard, notching three home runs and seven RBI. Zac Veen (No. 2 PuRP) tallied his first dinger as well, to go with three stolen bases.

High-A: Spokane Indians (3-3, 3-3 overall)

Two 2022 draft picks highlighted the belated opening week for the Indians. Gabriel Hughes (No. 8 PuRP) stole the show early with five no-hit innings in his 2023 debut. Hughes kept zeros across the board for Eugene (SF), striking out six while avoiding the walk throughout his start. The star in the field for Spokane was Sterlin Thompson (No. 14 PuRP), who went 11-for-23 in the series. Thompson gathered a homer and three doubles to go with two stolen bases and six batted-in.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (4-2, 6-3 overall)

Jordy Vargas (No. 10 PuRP) flashed his potential in a brilliant way in his second start, punching-out eight in four innings against Stockton (OAK). 2022 fifth-round selection Connor Staine also delivered a strong performance, striking out four without issuing a walk while holding the Ports scoreless over five innings. At the plate, E.J. Andrews slugged three home runs and Kody Huff continued his hot swinging with 7 RBI.

Week of 7/31-8/6 (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Adael Amador 3 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 3/17 0 3 6 0
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 3/19 1 3 7 0
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A 4/19 0 2 4 0
Jordan Beck 9 Double-A 6/18 0 8 1 0
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 Double-A 4/9 0 0 3 0
Michael Toglia 13 MLB 9/28 0 5 7 1
Sterlin Thompson 14 High-A 4/20 0 2 7 3
Dyan Jorge 16 Low-A 3/21 0 1 3 0
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hunter Goodman 19 Double-A 3/12 1 1 4 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 5/22 1 3 12 0
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 6/23 0 1 4 1
Ryan Ritter HM High-A 7/19 0 0 10 0
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 3/17 0 1 6 0

Week of 9/11-9/17 (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 1/1 5.0 0/0 1 10
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Case Williams 26 Double-A 1/1 2.2 7/6 3 3
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 Double-A 1/1 6.0 1/1 2 5
Noah Davis 29 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
McCade Brown 30 TBA (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 1/1 5 3/3 3 6
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 2/0 3 0/0 3 5

Season to Date (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A (IL) 36/172 2 23 43 22
Adael Amador 3 Double-A (IL) 78/255 12 37 32 14
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 83/327 13 29 67 6
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 110/438 10 52 135 18
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A 68/302 6 15 68 2
Jordan Beck 9 Double-A 132/487 25 73 142 20
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 Double-A 127/479 25 32 132 1
Michael Toglia 13 Triple-A 79/308 16 53 82 3
Sterlin Thompson 14 Double-A 104/355 14 38 74 17
Dyan Jorge 16 Low-A 56/198 0 13 35 10
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB 15/49 5 8 19 1
Hunter Goodman 19 MLB 83/348 25 41 98 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 101/445 17 77 142 4
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 73/311 5 33 81 13
Ryan Ritter HM Double-A 124/441 24 62 152 20
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 126/439 14 42 116 12

Season to Date (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A (IL) 16/16 43.2 47/46 25 57
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A (IL) 14/14 66.2 51/46 26 83
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A (IL) 13/13 64.0 35/30 24 69
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 19/19 90.0 53/45 32 108
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A (IL) 15/15 67.0 48/44 25 66
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A (IL) 4/4 11.0 11/11 6 9
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A 20/20 91.2 66/65 35 94
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A 18/18 86.1 70/65 38 60
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A (IL) 10/9 31.0 27/25 20 32
Case Williams 26 Double-A 23/23 101.2 87/80 51 79
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 Double-A 19/19 92.1 44/40 37 134
Noah Davis 29 MLB 14/14 56.0 33/29 33 48
McCade Brown 30 TBA (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM MLB 19/0 23.1 9/9 10 27
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 28/25 116 103/100 69 130
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 45/0 55.2 42/38 54 81

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Upcoming Schedule

Triple-A Albuquerque: 4/18-4/23 vs Oklahoma City (LAD)

Double-A Hartford: 4/18-4/23 vs Binghamton (NYM)

High-A Spokane: 4/18-4/23 @ Tri-City (LAA)

Low-A Fresno: 4/18-4/23 @ Rancho Cucamonga (LAD)

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