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The Colorado Rockies and the curious case of copious unique lineups (plus Pebble Report)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, June 19, 2023

If you’re not already aware of Blake St. Banter, you need to be. A great resource for not only the Colorado Rockies MLB squad, the crew at BSB also excels at providing deep insight into the Rockies’ farm system and the young prospects themselves (along with the occasional collaboration with the Purple Row Pebble Report squad).

This season, they have been hot on the trail of manager Bud Black’s lineup card. Specifically, the constant creativity that Black has used on a day-to-day basis:

For the sake of clarification, the “unique lineup” they are referring to is a 1-through-9 batting order that has not previously been used this season. For the latest example, there is one small alteration (Mike Moustakas batting sixth and Randal Grichuk seventh) that made this a previously unused batting-order.

Flipping spots between two veterans in a given game is insignificant. But the number headlining the tweet is not. In all but two games this season, the Rockies have used a different lineup.

2023 NL Unique Lineups

Team Unique Lineups
Team Unique Lineups
ATL 48
PHI 50
STL 54
NYM 57
ARI 59
MIL 59
WAS 61
SDP 61
LAD 62
CHC 64
CIN 65
SFG 66
PIT 68
MIA 70
COL 71
* As of Saturday 6/18

While the Rockies have posted the most unique lineups in the National League this season – and second most in all of baseball only to the Oakland A’s – it is not necessarily an immediate indicator of success. After all, the Tampa Bay Rays have just two-fewer unique lineups than the Rockies this season but have comfortably sat upon the throne as the best team in baseball since Opening Day.

But there is context to be garnered from the initial data. The league-average OPS is .728, a figure only three spots in the Colorado lineup – the three, four and five spots – has achieved. Meanwhile, all but two spots in the Rays’ order have comfortably reached that level. The Atlanta Braves, who have the fewest unique lineups used this season and also just handily disposed of Colorado in a four-game series, are even better with just one lineup spot collectively batting below league-average.

Overall, this seems like a testament to the flux of the Rockies’ roster this season. With the veteran additions late in Spring Training, the numerous injuries sustained and subsequent prospect call-ups this season, it has certainly been a balancing-act for Black and the coaching staff.

“I think it’s just nowadays where things are different, where guys are given off days… there’s some analytics involved, I’m sure, with a lot of us, where you place guys (is) based on matchup and pitching.” said manager Bud Black during the last home stand.

“You look at the opposition’s bullpen, how they use their bullpen and what you want. What you want to maybe occur as the game goes on. Injury factors of guys not on the roster. That constitutes you putting your best nine guys out there on a given night based on, you know, your 12 or 13 players that you have.”

“But I think the impact on the player is minimal. That’s just me. And of course, if you ask any player...they just want to be in the lineup. They don’t care where they’re at. Now, there’s some guys, some guys it affects. But I would say that’s a very small percentage of guys that it impacts.”

At the end of the day, is the lineup reshuffling the reason for the team being 16-games under .500 entering Monday? No.

But for a team that is increasingly starting younger players trying to establish themselves, it’s fair to at least wonder if a little more consistency could help move their development along. For now, however, we can at least point to the amount of different lineups used as an example of the club’s continuous attempt to find competitive consistency.

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Detroit Tigers acquire right-handed reliever Blair Calvo in trade with Colorado Rockies | Yahoo!

After being designated for assignment last week, the Rockies traded Blair Calvo to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday for cash considerations.

Rockies swept by Braves, give up record 12 homers in four games | Denver Post

It was a disastrous road series for the Rockies against the Braves. The pitching staff surrendered 12 home runs in Atlanta, the most given up by Colorado in a four-game road series.

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Pebble Report: June 12-18, 2023

The week as a whole wasn’t spectacular for the Rockies’ farm system as only the Low-A Fresno Grizzlies took their series against Inland Empire (LAA).

The biggest news of the week came late on Sunday, with ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel reporting that OF Yanquiel Fernadez (No. 12 PuRP) will be called-up to Double-A Hartford. If true, it’s a well-deserved promotion for Fernandez. The 20-year-old is hitting .314/.356/.946 this season and has further tapped into his raw power with 17 homers already this season — just four less than his season-total last year in almost half-as-many plate appearances.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (3-3, 27-42 overall)

The Isotopes offense showed well on the road against Tacoma (SEA). Michael Toglia (No. 13 PuRP) led the team with two long-balls while six other Albuquerque hitters went yard once, including Yorvis Torrealba for the first time in Triple-A. Luis Cessa made two starts in the week, dazzling in his first outing with eight strikeouts over six innings with two runs allowed before fizzling with five runs in 3 23 innings in his second outing.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (3-3, 27-35 overall)

It was feast-or-famine for the Yard Goats’ bats on the road in Reading (PHI). Of the team’s 44 hits, 21 went for extra-bases. Jack Blomgren led the way with six knocks and finished with a healthy 1.064 OPS in five games. Grant Lavigne (No. 20 PuRP) epitomized the offense, going for extra-bases in three of his five hits but finishing with a subpar .276 OBP. Gabriel Hughes (No. 8 PuRP) was roughed-up in his first start of the week for 10 runs in 3 23 innings, but righted the ship some the second time with three runs allowed over 5 13 IP.

High-A: Spokane Indians (1-5, 32-30 overall)

Carson Palmquist (No. 28 PuRP) delivered a terrific performance at home against Eugene (SF), striking out ten to just one walk over six innings in his start. Zach Kokoska had another fine week at the dish, hitting two doubles and two bombs on his way to a 1.105 OPS. He finished tied in the team-lead in hits with Adael Amador (No. 3 PuRP) with seven. Amador tallied two doubles, a triple and home run en route to a 1.369 OPS. Overall, he has continued to show the same stout plate approach he showed in Low-A last year, and now has a BB-to-K of 31-to-24 at High-A Spokane.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (4-2, 34-29 overall)

Skyler Messinger homered and doubled on his way to a coveted 3/4/5 slash-line in six games against Inland Empire (LAA). Ryan Ritter (HM PuRP) one-upped his fellow infielder, though, finishing with an .842 SLG% due to all seven of his hits going for extra-bases. Caleb Franzen twirled the best start of the week for the Grizzlies, striking out six while allowing just one run and three hits over six innings.

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: 6/20 - 6/25 @ Reno (ARI)

Double-A Hartford: 6/20 - 6/25 vs Eerie (DET)

High-A Spokane: 6/20 - 6/25 vs Tri-City (LAA)

Low-A Fresno: 6/20 - 6/25 @ Modesto (SEA)

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