Apr 17, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg (45) in fifth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Scott Oberg.
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Drafted in the fifteenth round in 2012 out of the University of Connecticut, Scott Oberg has really surprised the Colorado Rockies as he’s advanced quickly through the system as a minor league closer posting high strikeout rates and success at every level at which he’s played.
Now in 2015, he finds himself making the jump from AA to the big leagues with just one inning of AAA experience in between. Needless to say, the jump has been difficult at times, but Oberg has also shown flashes of the stuff that the Rockies clearly like about the young reliever.
What The Numbers Say
FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.
Steamer likes Oberg to throw in more than 20 games for the Rockies this summer, which would certainly be a feat considering how quickly he’s jumped through the minor leagues in the last two and a half season to even get to this point.
They don’t believe he’ll be too overmatched at the big league level, either, with a projected ERA and FIP both right around 4.20, more than eight strikeouts per nine innings, and a better than two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio. Needless to say, considering Oberg’s current station, those would be serviceable numbers for someone who, in the not-so-distant future, could possibly turn into a special late inning reliever for the club.
Call to the Pen
Oberg’s best-case scenario is something we’ve already seen in, well, a couple of his outings this year; a plus fastball that’s located well and can get big league hitters out in tight situations, as he did to Justin Upton in Denver a little over a week ago.
A breakout season from Oberg (or, even half a season with likely movement back and forth between Denver and Albuquerque) would solidify him as a key cog in the future of the Rockies bullpen that, right now, is being led by three relievers (John Axford, Rafael Betancourt, and LaTroy Hawkins) who surely won’t be around for much longer after 2015.
The Rockies are throwing Oberg into the fire, and at times his numbers have been ugly, but he’s also clearly got the makeup and the stuff to overcome the heat.
Remember that day game in Los Angeles? Yeah…
Oberg needs more time in AAA, but it’s interesting to see the Rockies so insistent on having him up in the big leagues this early, and then keeping him up here around other roster moves the team has made. Clearly, they believe him to have some kind of serious upside considering how quickly he made it to the big leagues (as a 15th round draft pick!), and how often they use him out of the bullpen this season.
Nevertheless, he will hit the skids hard, because nearly every Major Leaguer does in his rookie season. Expect to see Scott Oberg shuttled back to Albuquerque once or twice this summer before he (hopefully) finds his way back to Denver for good and possibly asserts himself as a key member of a future Rockies’ bullpen for a few years to come.
Give us your predictions!