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Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Back pain pulls prospect Butler out of AFL | rockies.com

Butler missed time midseason because of a strained right rotator cuff, which showed up after his Major League debut on June 6. Butler rehabbed, then finished the season at Double-A Tulsa before returning to the Majors for two late-season starts—a six-inning, one-run effort in a win over the D-backs on Sept. 20, and a 4 2/3-inning struggle in a loss to the Dodgers on Sept. 27.
After his final start, Butler reported unusual soreness in his upper back/shoulder area. The Rockies made the decision several days ago to remove him from the AFL club. It came to light Tuesday, the first day of scheduled games.
Butler said he visited with club physicians, who assured him that the upper-back pain was muscle fatigue that could be corrected with rest and rehab, and not a significant injury.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2014 at 06:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie butler, rockies

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Brisbee: Finding baseball’s most hopeless franchise

The included tweet should guarantee the honor just on principle.

Old teams in large markets with thin farm systems

This is where the Phillies are. This is where the Yankees are. Here be the White Sox… None of these teams will ever qualify for most-screwed status, though… their large-market status will always guarantee that there’s someone in a worse spot.

Older teams in small markets

The Reds might really be screwed… A lot of what makes the Reds a sorta-contender now, though, could still be good in the future… In about a week, the Brewers could be here… A lot of their best players are still 30 or under, though, so I’m not sure if they’re close to an “old” team just yet…

Cursed teams

the Padres… have a respected farm system, for what it’s worth, and they have young talent on the roster. Heck, they’re close to .500 right now because they’ve proven adept at developing pitchers, at least the ones who stay healthy.

They make the list, though, because they’re the Padres…

The Rockies

They get their own category because they win. What are the Rockies? Have you ever seen a team like this, a team so committed to its GM through 90-loss seasons, unless that’s not really the GM? An owner who might be something of a meddler and whose brain might be filled with gestational YouTube comments that he filters through his fingers and shares with fans?

Their franchise players are chronically hurt, and they have a long track record of breaking young pitchers, both in body and spirit. Everything about them is a mess right now, from the top down. That’s all before you get to the worst part: They already start with the biggest disadvantage in baseball, the thin air of Coors Field… It’s one of the Hilbert problems of baseball, except it’s been the same mathematicians working on the problem for the last 15 years, and most of the available evidence suggests they’re using a watch calculator with the “7” key missing.

The District Attorney Posted: September 04, 2014 at 04:27 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, mets, padres, phillies, reds, rockies, white sox, yankees

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Rockies, De La Rosa Agree To Two-Year Extension

My heart tells me to snark, but my head tells me not to. He’s no Cy Young candidate, but he’s been pretty good… (Whoops, it slipped in.)

The Rockies announced (via Twitter) that they have agreed to terms with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa on a two-year extension… The deal guarantees De La Rosa $25MM and contains no options, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

De La Rosa, 33, has fared well in this, his seventh season with the Rockies, pitching to a 4.26 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 51.9 percent ground-ball rate in 160 2/3 innings of work.

The District Attorney Posted: September 03, 2014 at 11:24 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jorge de la rosa, rockies

Friday, August 29, 2014

Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki bent on playing shortstop: “I will retire before I move”

Guess who his idol is?

Despite two major surgeries to his left hip and groin area in the past two years, despite the torn left quadriceps he sustained in 2008, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has no intention of switching positions.

“No, I won’t move,” he said in a phone interview. “I will retire before I move.”

Not to third base? Not to first base, a position that could save him from wear and tear and possibly prolong his career?

“No. It’s just who I am, it’s what I do, it’s what I have dreamed of as a kid,” said Tulowitzki, 29. “It’s all I know and it’s all I’ve ever worked for. So I guess when you have a dream and you accomplish it and someone tries to take it away from you ... it wouldn’t be worth it for me to try and move somewhere else.”

Tulowitzki, considered the game’s best all-round shortstop — when healthy — will be due $118 million after this season on a contract that runs through 2020, with a club option for 2021.

The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2014 at 07:09 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, troy tulowitzki

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Neyer: Over the hill but still strong on the hill

Hamburger Hill, in Colon’s case.

When the Rockies signed LaTroy Hawkins and said he’€™d be their highest-leverage reliever, we were all like, “Hey, what could go wrong? He’€™s only 41 and hasn’€™t done this job since 2004. And he’€™s got only two seasons in his whole career with more than 14 saves.”

Well, Monday night Hawkins collected his 21st save this season… How does Hawkins do it? Just like [Bartolo] Colon, with lots and lots of fastballs, although Hawkins does throw significantly harder, averaging around 93 miles an hour. And that’€™s the most interesting about him: Hawkins hasn’€™t lost anything off his fastball in a long time now. You’€™re supposed to lose something as you age. That’€™s what they always say, right? But Hawkins threw 93 in 2002 when he was 29, and he throws 93 in 2014 when he’€™s 41. He threw his slider 88 and his curveball 78 in 2004 when he was 31, and he throws his slider 88 and his curveball 78 in 2014 when he’s 41.

One more note about Hawkins ... As you might recall, he began his career as a highly regarded starting pitcher. Except that didn’€™t work out well, at all. After five seasons that included 98 starts and a 6.11 ERA, the Twins finally shifted Hawkins to relief duties, and in 15 years as a fireman—€“ he hasn’€™t started a single game in the last 15 years—€“ he’€™s posted a solid 3.25 ERA. Of course, many failed starters have enjoyed long careers as relievers. But I’€™m not sure many have done it as dramatically as LaTroy Hawkins.

The District Attorney Posted: August 26, 2014 at 02:09 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: bartolo colon, latroy hawkins, mets, rob neyer, rockies

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ringolsby: Helton’s numbers stack up against the best

Percy Helton having a visor is one thing…Todd Helton having an adviser is another.

Hall of Fame type numbers?

“Obviously, that would be a great honor, but there’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “You have the vote.”

Just one, he was told.

“Well,” he said with a smile, “put in a good word for me.”

...And here’s something else to consider.

As dominant as he was at Coors Field, Helton outplayed the bulk of Hall of Famers on the road.

There are 116 position players in the Hall of Fame who had at least 4,000 plate appearances since 1912, which is how far back the home-road splits extend for Stats Inc. Among those 116 position players:

• Helton’s .287 road batting average is higher than 45.

• Helton’s .386 road on-base percentage is higher than 84.

• Helton’s .469 road slugging percentage is higher than 74.

• And Helton’s .855 road OPS is higher than 78.

And Helton even ranks well among the smaller group of 21 Hall of Fame first basemen who have had at least 4,000 plate appearances since 1912.

Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Orlando Cepeda, Lou Gehrig, Billy Terry and Jimmie Foxx are the only ones who are ahead of Helton on the road in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

Helton has higher numbers in all four categories than Ernie Banks, Jim Bottomley and Tony Perez.

He has a higher road on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS than Rod Carew and George Kelly.

And a higher on-base percentage, average and OPS than Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey and Eddie Murray.

Not that Helton has ever paid that much attention.

Repoz Posted: August 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: hof, rockies

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gammons Notes - 8/17/14

PLEASE, please, please tell me Selig didn’t make people watch him poop.

There is no question Rob Manfred can be a very good commissioner, as Tim Brosnan would have been, and so would Bob Iger had baseball been willing to look outside their house…

Manfred is not going to have the hammer [Bud] Selig held over owners, and utilized like Lyndon Baines Johnson. Which is why, as the storm fronts collide between now and 2016, he needs Bill DeWitt to hold together the center. DeWitt was approached early on about throwing his name in for Commissioner, and he declined. But he now may be the most important owner, successful, decent, rational…

Want people to watch past the sixth inning? Limit rosters to 11 pitchers and eliminate the exhausting, boring tic-tac-toe matchups in the last three innings which, among many things, never allows us to see a David Ortiz or Joey Votto bat against a righthanded pitcher in those final innings. Want to cut back on the replay challenges? Start spending the money to develop umpires (read “As They See ‘Em” by Bruce Weber) to understand why there are so few young umpires coming along. Want some younger demographics? Try Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw as the faces of the game and stop talking about the good ole days…

there are issues Tony Clark and the new leadership want addressed, from travel (how ‘bout them getaway night games) to ballpark and even visiting clubhouse health issues in some cities. Both clubs and the union want to re-address the draft and international signing issues. The union does not want the draft in any way tied to free agency. Small markets want better balance between won-lost and revenue standings, so that top five markets like the Astros and Cubs are rewarded for poor performance, while well-run franchises the Rays, Athletics and Indians are punished…

Manfred needs a strong, respected leader like DeWitt to step forward, keep perspective and focus his fellow owners on what they have, not what each owner thinks he should have for his own fiefdom.

[Giancarlo] Stanton, according to [Jeffrey] Loria, isn’t going anywhere… If Loria has to backtrack and Stanton does go elsewhere, it likely will be the final nail in his ownership’s coffin. Jeffrey loves the game, he may well have saved baseball in Miami, and now he has a very difficult task moving it forward in a city easily distracted from one star-laden team at a time.

Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, liked by one evaluator to a Ron Gant who can play center field, will soon sign, for somewhere from $40M to $70M. The Yankees are big players… There are two side issues involved here. One is that MLB is studying how Cuban players get out to Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, etc., and who and what is involved in cases that are likened to human trafficking.

The second is a concern some teams have about the calcium Cubans get in their diets. Both Jorge Soler and Jose Iglesias have been sidelined by stress fractures, and one club official says, “any Cuban player we sign in the future will have his bone structure and diet closely monitored. We worry about milk and all calcium intake.”


Friday, August 15, 2014

Carlos Gonzalez shut down for the season for surgery

CarGone. (Sorry.)

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose sweet swing was soured by a string of injuries this year, resigned himself Thursday to an early end of his season because of a nagging knee ailment… The Rockies, after consulting with Gonzalez and several doctors, decided their star slugger needs season-ending surgery to repair a left patella tendon tear…

Gonzalez has suffered through knee tendinitis since last season, and an MRI on Wednesday showed his injury grew worse in recent weeks, according to Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger.

The news on Gonzalez comes a day after the Rockies learned all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will need season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip…

Gonzalez, 28, played in just 70 games this season, hitting .238 with a .292 on-base percentage and 11 home runs, far below his career numbers… The Gold Glove-winning outfielder has been bothered by numerous injuries this season. He played through a left ankle sprain suffered after sliding into the outfield wall in Detroit to make a catch two weeks ago. And he needed surgery to remove a tumor in his left index finger in June…

There has been stress at home too, with the premature birth of twin girls June 13. His wife, Indonesia, delivered after only 30 weeks. She and the girls returned home from a hospital last Friday…

The Rockies struggle without Gonzalez and Tulowitzki. With both players in the starting lineup this season, they are 28-27. Without them, the Rockies are 18-47.
.

The District Attorney Posted: August 15, 2014 at 12:53 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos gonzalez, injuries, rockies

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tulowitzki To Undergo Season-Ending Hip Surgery

How does that work… instead of a hospital bed, they use a fixed-gear bicycle?

The Rockies received more bad news on the injury front today, as Thomas Harding of MLB.com tweets that MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki will miss the remainder of the season to undergo surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip.

Tulowitzki, 29, has appeared in just 91 games this season but is hitting a hefty .340/.432/.603 with 21 homers in 375 plate appearances and elite shortstop defense.

The District Attorney Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:34 PM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, rockies, troy tulowitzki

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rockies’ Brett Anderson likely done for season with bulging disc

Anderson is the pitcher version of Nick Johnson.

Colorado Rockies starter Brett Anderson has been diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back and is likely to miss the remainder of the season, Rockies trainer Keith Dugger told reporters Sunday.

Anderson will see a specialist Monday to determine the next step in his treatment.

The left-hander was forced to leave his start last Tuesday after just three innings when his back locked up, at which point the Rockies said Anderson was likely headed to the disabled list. He missed three months earlier this season with a fractured index finger.

Anderson has an extensive history of injuries, having not made more than 19 starts in a year since his rookie season in 2009. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and missed almost four months last season due to a stress fracture in his foot.

The 26-year-old recorded a 2.91 ERA in his eight starts this season. Traded to Colorado from the Oakland Athletics before this season, Anderson has a $12 million club option or a $1.5 million buyout for 2015.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: brett anderson, pitcher injuries, rockies

Monday, July 28, 2014

O’Connor: Tulo looks more A-Rod than Jeter

Now if only the Yankees had a Nolan Ryan to give up for Tulofregosi…

Tulowitzki happens to wear No. 2 in Jeter’s honor. Tulowitzki also happens to play shortstop for the last-place Colorado Rockies, who happened to be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday while their disabled star was sitting nine rows behind home plate inside Yankee Stadium—one day after those Colorado Rockies misspelled Tulowitzki’s name (they forgot the “t” between the “i” and the “z”) on 15,000 jerseys in a giveaway promotion at Coors Field, of course.

Tulowitzki has made it fairly clear he wants to play Jeter’s position, in Jeter’s house, in 2015, and by taking in Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4 among 45,062 fellow fans, he all but rented a plane and put it in writing across the Bronx sky.

“Wow,” one baseball official said when notified Tulo was in the crowd for Paul O’Neill’s bobblehead day. “It’s not many times when someone in the stands is better than what is on the field for both teams.”

....But really, Tulowitzki should’ve known better. He should’ve known he’d come across looking a lot more like Alex Rodriguez than Derek Jeter.

Everyone around baseball knows Tulowitzki respects Jeter above all peers—“He once bought my cologne for all his teammates,” the Yankees captain said—and would love nothing more than to find himself on the fortuitous end of an offseason trade that allows him to earn the final $118 million guaranteed on his deal in pinstripes.

Tulowitzki said so himself at the All-Star Game, where he was reminded the Yankees would be in the market for a shortstop worthy of replacing Jeter.

“No doubt—I think everybody knows that,” he said. “Everybody wants that perfect story, whoever it may be. Whether it’s me or somebody else who took over for Derek, no doubt, it makes for a great story. But for right now, it’s just talk until it gets closer to happening in the offseason.”

Repoz Posted: July 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, yankees

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hurdles remain in Mets-Rockies deal for Tulowitzki, Gonzalez

The Rockies and Mets would seem to be perfect trade partners.

Colorado has star players at the very two positions the Mets need in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, and it needs to think about retooling things after another year fighting and losing the altitude/injury battle.

The Mets have a stash of young pitching prospects, just the sort Colorado so badly needs.

And, in fact, Rockies people have identified the Mets as one of the teams—perhaps the perfect team—that could potentially make a trade of at least one or of their two cornerstone players work. Colorado likes the Mets’ young pitchers, according to people familiar with their thinking, in fact much more than they like some other teams that have shown interest in Tulo and CarGo.

No surprise, the Mets have checked in again with Colorado, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported, and as expected the teams will talk again about Tulo and CarGo.

The two teams should have some interesting conversations since they do seem to be such a positional match. However, the chances of a deadline deal involving Tulo and Cargo still seem remote, at best.

You don’t say?


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)...

Competitive Balance Round A

  Marlins
  Rockies
  Cardinals
  Brewers
  Padres
  Indians

Competitive Balance Round B

  Reds
  Athletics
  Mariners
  Twins
  Orioles
  Diamondbacks

As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).

Its about time the Cardinals got some help to become more competitive.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Dave Cameron: 2014 Trade Value: The Top 10

7. Salvador Perez

If there’s one piece of feedback I got more clearly than any other last year, it was that I was too low on Salvador Perez. I had one friend in the game tell me should have been in the top five, and I had him at 36. My bad, Kansas City. Consider this a mea culpa.

Perez might not yet be the best catcher in baseball, but there are a lot of people convinced that he’s going to be in the near future. He’s basically a power spike away from being Jonathan Lucroy, only he’s four years younger than Milwaukee’s backstop, and at a point where many catchers are still honing their craft in the minors. And while framing metrics don’t love him the same way they do Lucroy, his defensive reputation is still stellar, as he shuts down the running game as well as anyone.

And then there’s the contract. Because the Royals locked up Perez after just 39 big league games, he’s set to make $2 million each of the next two years, and then they have team options for three additional years at $4 million, $5 million, and $6 million respectively. It’s $19 million over five seasons, or an average of $4 million per year. The best catcher in the American league is signed to the kind of deal you give a decent middle reliever.

Perez doesn’t even have to get any better to be one of the biggest steals in baseball. If he does improve, though, he might eventually challenge for the top spot on this list.

BUT WHO IS #6????


Friday, July 11, 2014

Rockies Owner: ‘Maybe Denver Doesn’t Deserve A Franchise’

This guy needs to mellow out.  Anyone know a good way to do that in Colorado?

[A] season ticket holder… sent an email to the Rockies fan feedback line July 5t, writing, “The Monforts have no business owning a baseball team and their missteps in hiring ‘the good old boys’ for front office and management positions is solid evidence of their ineptitude. They have ruined pro baseball in this region while generating millions of dollars in profit.’ ”

... the next day, July 6 at 6:47 p.m., [owner Dick] Monfort personally emailed the fan the following: “By the way you talk maybe Denver doesn’t deserve a franchise, maybe time for it to find a new home. Thanks.”

The message was sent from Monfort’s iPad and in a phone call with CBS4 Thursday night, Monfort confirmed sending the email.

“I sort of remember,” said Monfort. “I do remember that. I was rapid firing it.”...

He went on to explain that, “What I meant to say was maybe we, the owners, don’t deserve a franchise.”

Monfort was adamant that despite what he wrote, he was not threatening to move the team and did not mean to write, “Denver doesn’t deserve a franchise.”....

This marks the second time in a week a controversial email has emerged from Monfort in response to an unhappy fan. A Grand Junction man, Michael Ferguson, emailed the team following a loss July 4 expressing his displeasure with the product on the field, to which Monfort responded, “If product and experience that bad don’t come!.”

The District Attorney Posted: July 11, 2014 at 12:22 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dick monfort, public relations, rockies

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rockies owner Dick Monfort to angry Rockies fan: “don’t come!”

  “I pretty much just filled out the survey and kinda wrote a little bit about how it’s frustrating to spend the money and go see [Rockies] teams that are constantly struggling all the time,” said Ferguson.

  Two days later, he found out his comments did not go unnoticed. Ferguson received a reply in his inbox simply stating, “If product and experience that bad don’t come!”… signed owner, chairman and CEO of the Colorado Rockies Dick Monfort.

The customer is always…

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 09, 2014 at 11:48 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez growing tired of losing in Colorado

...said Tulowitzki, reviewing the 17 years Helton spent as the face of a franchise that never won a division title. “He played in a couple postseason games and went to one World Series. But that’s not me. I want to be somewhere where there’s a chance to be in the playoffs every single year.”

With the expanded playoffs, that’s everywhere.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 05, 2014 at 06:38 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: big whiny baby, rockies

Clayton Kershaw ups scoreless innings run to 36 in Dodgers’ win

The hard-throwing lefty nearly had no-hit stuff against Colorado again, allowing only two singles over eight innings as the Dodgers beat the Rockies 9-0 on Friday night.
What’s more, Kershaw (10-2) extended his scoreless streak to 36 innings before being replaced by a pinch hitter in the ninth. Kershaw bottled up the top-hitting team in the majors in nearly matching the no-hitter he threw against the Rockies on June 18 at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw struck out eight and walked one.

“You don’t ever want to give up a run,” Kershaw casually said. “I guess that’s the goal.”

And that was a start that lowered his K:BB ratio. Enough said. And oh yeah, this was in the ballpark of terror known as Coors Field.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:39 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, rockies

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brewers clear bases after wild pitch

The Milwaukee Brewers scored plenty with the bases loaded in Saturday’s 9-4 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, but they didn’t need a hit do so.

Three runs came in after a wild pitch.

Heads up play by Segura.  Only thing that could have made it better is if Carlos Gomez had been the final run and broke into an eight part celebration dance that cleared the benches.  Please reserve a spot for me on the Brewers bandwagon.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 22, 2014 at 03:22 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, clusterf, rockies

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tempers flare as Rockies beat Braves

The Rockies led 8-3 in the eighth when Dickerson fouled away a pitch and knocked off Laird’s facemask.

...

With his next pitch, Atlanta reliever David Carpenter hit Dickerson in the thigh and was ejected.

“I guess Carpenter thought it was on purpose,” Dickerson said.

Ah, those loveable scamps are at it again.

 

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:34 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, rockies, unwritten rules

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rockies OF Gonzalez has tumor removed from finger

‘‘It helps explain some of the things that CarGo’s been dealing with and why that finger kept blowing up on him,’’ Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ‘‘It helps answer some of the questions we had about him.

I can only imagine how Michael Douglas thinks you get this type of cancer.

 

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:45 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos gonzalez, injury, medicine, rockies

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Nolan Arenado breaks finger on slide

ATLANTA— Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado left Friday night’s game against the Braves after fracturing his left middle finger on a head-first slide into second base.

Arenado led off the second inning with a double to left field. Arenado’s slide beat shortstop Andrelton Simmons’ tag. The play stood following a review that lasted 3 minutes, 48 seconds.

The first organization to outlaw head first slides by their players wins a gold star from me.  And that review time is obscene.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 24, 2014 at 01:31 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, rockies, stop sliding head first

Friday, May 09, 2014

Sullivan:  Strikeouts are up across MLB, but Rockies aren’t down with that

Is Blake Doyle (Denny and Brian’s brother) the Leo Mazzone of hitting coaches?

Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs has noticed that Rockies have cut their strikeout rates despite the league rate going up:

Blackmon’s chopped his strikeouts by more than half. Rosario’s chopped them by almost half. Gonzalez has shed a third, and Cuddyer has shed more than that, and so on and so forth. Young players and veterans alike have whiffed less often, and strikeout rate is one of those numbers that stabilizes fairly quickly. Or, if you prefer different terminology: strikeout rate tends not to be that noisy. You can generally read into it sooner than you can read into, say, batting average, or a pitcher’s ERA. The Rockies haven’t stopped striking out, but they’ve been better about it without sacrificing walks, and we’re at the point in the year where that’s starting to look fascinating.

puck Posted: May 09, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Perry: Nolan Arenado of the Rockies: Emerging star in 20-something set

Given the notable early-20s positional talent around the league—Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, others—it’s easy to overlook Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. However, given Arenado’s skills and skills growth, it’s time we start thinking of him as one of the top young performers in the game today. Indeed, he’s emerging as a star, and he’s proving himself to be a core contributor with the bat and glove.

First, the defense. Arenado won the Gold Glove last season, so it’s not as though his fielding chops are any kind of secret. Still, calling him a “mere” Gold Glover may actually undersell how special he is defensively. Per Ultimate Zone Rating, Arenado in fewer that 1,400 defensive innings has saved 21.9 runs relative to the average MLB third baseman.

Arenado particularly excels at making the impossible and near-impossible play. Over at FanGraphs, the Inside Edge scouting service grades players on their ability to make plays of varying difficulty. When it comes to plays that between 10 percent and 40 percent of major-leaguers would make, Arenado leads all third baseman since 2013 (minimum 1,000 defensive innings) with a success rate of 63.2 percent. In terms of those plays that 10 percent or less of MLBers would make—i.e., the “impossible” snare—Arenado, with his percentage of 14.3, ranks behind only Manny Machado since the start of last season.

...Offensively, Arenado is still developing, but developing he is. This season vs. last, he’s increased his OPS+ from 82 to 104 while also lowering his strikeout percentage, showing stronger fly-ball tendencies and, per Jeff Zimmerman’s data, increasing the angle on those fly balls. As well, his gains in BABIP and home runs as a percentage of fly balls aren’t so extreme as to suggest that luck is the driver.

Let’s also keep in mind that Arenado showed lots of offensive upside in the minors despite being younger than his peer group at every stop. He turned 23 just a couple of weeks ago, and he’s showing signs of what’s a more typical offensive aging curve. That is, the best with the bat is almost certainly yet to come.

Taken together, Arenado’s offensive ceiling and his present defensive exellence make him one of the more intriguing young players in the game. As for the hype he deserves, the column inches will come soon enough.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: May 03, 2014 at 04:51 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, sabermetrics

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