Two Colorado Rockies Set To Regress In The Second Half

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Jun 2, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher R. Betancourt (63) reacts after giving up a grand slam in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. The Dodgers defeated the Rockies 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Pitchers Rafael Betancourt and LaTroy Hawkins

Yeah, I know, that makes three total regression candidates.

This one seems like a siren, wailing so obviously that absolutely everybody in the Colorado Rockies’ front office ought to see it.

No offense to either Rafael Betancourt or LaTroy Hawkins, but both are not exactly young, and both have had their dark spots already this year.

Go a full season with any reliever and you’ll see some gruesome outings here and there, but with these two, I think you’re way too optimistic about the Rockies if you don’t see them struggling to get outs in meaningful situations by September.

I’ll give it to Hawkins; he’s impressed me in the last few weeks. In his last eleven games, he’s thrown 10.1 scoreless innings with no walks and nine strikeouts (again, what the hell do I know?). One thing should concern you, though, and we talked about it earlier with Hawkins, though it holds true with both: it’s tough for each of these guys to miss bats.

Betancourt is still more or less near his career averages in strikeouts per nine innings (at 8.8 per nine this year, Betancourt is lower than his career average of 9.5 per nine, but comparable to his average of the past few seasons). However, Betancourt is giving up hits at a rate he never has in his career, allowing 29 in 25.2 innings (10.2 hits per nine innings) for the highest hit rate of his 12-year big league sojourn.

Hawkins has never been a strikeout pitcher, though as a reliever, his numbers are predictably higher than they were back when he was starting games in the 1990s in Minnesota. As I wrote several months ago, Hawkins’ troubles stem from his contact percentage, which is significantly higher than most relievers (hey, the guy is 42 years old) at 87.6% this season on pitches in the zone. Despite a good last ten games from Hawkins, don’t expect the shutout trend to continue.

Let’s be honest, though — it’s OK if Hawkins and Betancourt faded by the end of the year. The Rockies aren’t going anywhere, and it would hopefully allow the club to see some other relievers showcase their stuff at the big league level, like (hopefully soon-to-be-healthy) Brooks Brown, or Simon Castro, Ken Roberts, Tommy Kahnle, Scott Oberg, and more.

Call me a pessimist, or a realist, or a hater, or an idiot, but — for different reasons — Nolan Arenado, LaTroy Hawkins, and Rafael Betancourt will regress from their first halves for the Colorado Rockies as the year closes out. Sorry, y’all.

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