Last night was one of the few times this season that we've been reminded of some of the good young assets this team has. Assets like Drew Pomeranz, whose ERA+ now sits at 154 after tossing 6.1 innings of one-hit ball. Assets like Tyler Colvin, whose OPS+ of 143 now only trails Carlos Gonzalez (and by a slight amount, at that) for the team lead. Assets like Dexter Fowler, who hit an impressive opposite-field shot off of Tom Gorzelanny and sports his own high OPS+ (130). Hell, even assets like Rex Brothers who, despite getting lit up by four consecutive batters (even the out was crushed), remains a very quality bullpen arm going forward, as his career 13 K/9 would suggest.
This team does have some good young pieces, and everyone knows that every good team generally always has a mix of good young talent and role-playing veterans. I believe that's what Dan O'Dowd and the Rockies brass tried to accomplish this year, but it failed. It failed, and they need to come to terms with the fact that it failed. As the team sits at 19 games below .500, now is the time to begin reassessing things. They have no shot at winning this season. Especially now that Juan Nicasio will likely be out for the season (if the team handles the situation correctly, at least) after having surgery on his knee later this month. As Keith Law mentioned yesterday in his chat, this team, as currently constructed, will not be winning anything anytime soon.
So where do we go from here? The Rockies have said publicly that Michael Cuddyer is part of the solution going forward. Look, by all accounts, he's a stand-up guy. But what is the "solution?" His appearance on the cover of Rockies Magazine this month? If you're a team in need of a rebuild (even if it's not necessarily a full-blown rebuild, which this is not, in my opinion), why would you willingly say that about a guy who makes $10 million a year and is decidedly league-average? His production will likely only decline from here, so now you're left with an Aubrey Huff situation, as Cuddyer is currently robbing playing time from a combination of Fowler and Colvin as Huff is/was of Brandon Belt. Cuddyer, of course, is nowhere near the asshole that Huff is, but from a pure baseball prospective, it's pretty much the same thing. It's not like Cuddyer isn't drawing interest from other clubs, either; many people have said the Rockies won't listen to calls on him.
O'Dowd should cut his losses, realize the veteranny clubhouse culture thing didn't work, and try to salvage some (or all) of that money, while freeing up time for young players to continue to thrive. With the team in its current situation, I'd be saying this even if Colvin wasn't red-hot (1.426 OPS, 6 HR in his last 10 games). It just does not make sense to have that guy on the roster. Same goes for Jason Giambi, who isn't actually providing ANY value to the club at the moment. Even with my pleas, it's doubtful that Cuddyer and Giambi will be going anywhere, unfortunately. However, the club could ultimately decide to deal Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Guthrie, and Ramon Hernandez (who will be back with the big club after the All-Star break, most likely). I only say that, though, because O'Dowd hasn't come out and said that he won't deal those guys. As they say, we shall see...
More links after the jump...
Moss: Edwar Cabrera bounces back from dismal showing at Coors Field - The Denver Post
Irv Moss details Edwar Cabrera's ridiculously dominating Triple-A debut in which he struck out 13 batters. Once Cabrera is actually ready to pitch in the major leagues, he has a very good chance to be a solid #4 guy in a rotation. That change-up is just too big-league, so any command of the fastball will result in good things like what happened earlier in the week in Sacramento.
Game 2 vs. Phillies The Braves took the first game of the series in Philadelphia in dramatic fashion as Tim Hudson pitched seven shutout innings on a bad ankle and Brian McCann hit a grand slam in the eighth to help propel Atlanta. Despite not scoring a run in seven innings against Kyle Kendrick, it [...]
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Fergie Jenkins 2012 Topps Archives Reprint I purposely waited to go after this card. Gone are the days of me needing to scoop up a new release the first time I see it on Ebay with a ‘Buy It Now’ … Continue reading →
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Here's his final line:
5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR
As Retro put it in last night's game recap, it was a crummy line.
Yet the Royals - as they tend to do - cite it as evidence that he's improving.
From Dutton's post game wrap:
"(He was) a lot better," manager Ned Yost affirmed. "His strike-to-ball ratio was much better. His command was much better. He made two mistakes, really, that hurt him. … Besides that, he kept us in the game. It’s something to build off of, I hope."
Entering Friday, Sanchez had thrown 955 pitches, with 533 of them strikes. He's throwing a strike in just 56 percent of his pitches. League average is 63 percent.
Against the Tigers, Sanchez threw 101 pitches with 60 strikes. Yes, he threw more strikes, but he set the bar so damn low. He's still well below league average.
Sanchez Random Suckitude Stat #1: The only pitcher throwing a lower percentage of strikes this year is Kyle Drabek who was at 55 percent before visiting Dr. Jobe.
Looking closer at Sanchez's strikes, only four of them were swung at and missed. Although, to be fair, both of his strikeouts were swings and misses. Still, Sanchez isn't good enough to be pitching to contact. Really, no pitcher is over the long haul, but that's another post.
According to PITCH f/x, Sanchez's fastball (four and two seamers... I'm combining them for simplicity) average 89 mph. That's down from the 91.6 mph he was averaging just three seasons ago. Friday in Detroit, his average fastball was clocked at around 88.6 mph.
And on Friday, his velocity dipped fairly early. From Brooks Baseball, here is his chart:
He was at 90 mph or above on just eight pitches. Six of them came in his first 20 pitches. He was able to rally and come close to the magical 90 mph mark later in the start, but this looks like a guy who entered the game with the needle close to empty. By the fourth, he was on fumes.
The other thing I take away from this velocity chart is there is extremely little separation between his fastball and his secondary pitches - namely his slider and change. Again, the gap really narrows in the fourth, the inning where he walked two and went to 3-1 on another hitter. Is the lack of separation a reason for his control problems? Dunno. Although I would hazard a guess that if all pitches are coming in between 88 and 82 mph, hitters no longer gauge speed so they can sit on location.
Sanchez Random Suckitude Stat #2: Sanchez has faced 16 batters with the bases loaded this season. In 52 innings of work. Only Tim Lincecum and Carlos Zambrano have stared down more grand slam opportunities. They each have 17. Except they've thrown 93.1 and 95.2 innings, respectively.
He home run Sanchez surrendered to Young was a fastball up. Missed location. In his postgame, Yosty said that Sanchez was keeping the ball down for the most part. From Texas Leaguers, here's his pitch plot from Friday:
It looks like his four-seamer is a "get me over" type of fastball as he has difficulty locating the two-seamer. He kept the slider down, so I guess that's something.
It's interesting to me how his pitches all have a definite plane running upper right to lower left. Any pitching gurus out there with an idea of what that's about?
Sanchez did nothing to prove he made a start he can "build on." It was the same crap, different day. The only difference is, he spread the base runners through his 5.2 innings.
This wasn't a good start by Sanchez. This was a lucky start. Even Kyle Davies had those.
Hero of the Game: Steve Cishek (0.234 WPA), for Ichthyomancy: Jose Reyes (0.215 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Hanley Ramirez (-0.158 WPA)
Play of the Game: Jose Reyes singles in the seventh inning. Greg Dobbs scores. Austin Kearns advances to third, Jose Reyes advances to second on a Jake Westrbook throwing error. (+0.209 WPA)
The Miami Marlins squeaked out another close victory on Friday night, pulling out a 3-2 win on the back of timely hitting and another good performance by Ricky Nolasco. However, the game was not without its hitches, as the Marlins were down very early in the game due in part to some ugly fielding, and Heath Bell once again made the ninth interesting on his way to picking up the eventual save.Nolasco Working
Lately with Ricky Nolasco, we have been keeping an eye on his fastball velocity and his command in terms of how many balls versus called strikes he has been getting. When watching the game, you had a feeling as though he was off on his command despite having good stuff on the evening. Well, the stuff was indeed there, as his curveball was breaking hard into the zone all evening and his fastball was at 90.2 mph for the second start in a row. We all know the importance of having his fastball at an appropriate velocity after two season of decreased speed.
As for his command, it was there as well in classic Nolasco style.
This is a classic Nolasco zone, as he was all over the strike zone yesterday night. Nolasco's balls to called strike ratio was at 1.8-to-one, which is exactly what you would expect from a typical zone pounder like Nolasco who relies on minimal mistakes. When he did miss, he often missed more down in the zone than high, which also leaves him less susceptible to hard-hit mistakes. This work inside the zone led to his only allowing one walk all evening and numerous off-balance PA.
Nolasco only recorded four strikeouts, and he did so on only seven whiffs on the evening. Nevertheless, the whiffs did look like they were of positive quality. Four swings and misses were low and out of the strike zone, meaning that he was able to get hitters to chase out of the zone. In fact, 12 out of the 42 swings against Nolasco's pitches were out of the zone, and that is a decent 29 percent chase rate. Even if they were making contact on Nolasco's pitches, at least a good many of them were in poor locations.
Heath Bell Struggles
Bell's struggles last evening were less frightening than in weeks past. After all, of the two hits he did allow, one of them was an infield single, and while the other one was a double, it was a ground balls double that evaded Hanley Ramirez and one that could have at least had some fault placed on Ramirez. Still, it was yet again another discouraging outing because it was not a very clean one. Bell's control was present, as he hit a few 0-2 counts along the way as well and got almost as many called strikes as balls. Still, he failed to strike out a batter and failed to record a swing and miss as well, which has been a recurring theme for much of the season. He also lacked enough control to hit a batter during his outing.
It was not a clean outing, and there were bits of shakiness from Bell again. It was nothing like what we have seen just a month ago, but it still was discouraging. Yes, the worst may have passed for Bell, but his declining skillset still warrants a close eye.
LoMo Long Gone
It is always good to see Logan Morrison swinging a hot bat, and of late, he has been doing just that. Last night, he hit another no-doubter, this time to left field off of Maikel Cleto. That shot did not go far, but when it came off the bat, you knew it was heading into the left field stands. After a miserable start, his power stroke has picked up since June. Morrison has hit eight of his 11 homers since the start of June, and he is hitting an odd .272/.315/.592 slash line since then. Oddly, Morrison has only walked in just under four percent of his last 111 PA, which is strange due to his typically patient self. Still, 17 of his 28 hits went for extra bases, and he was still hitting only .253 on balls in play, so we can expect some regression both in power (on the way down) and walks and singles (on the way up) to keep his line decent going forward.