On Underrated Colorado Rockies’ Pitcher Christian Bergman

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Aug 21, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher C. Bergman (36) delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies always need as much pitching depth as they can get — and one second-year pitcher is proving himself with a quietly solid season out of the bullpen.

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The Colorado Rockies can never have too much pitching. At least that’s what I keep telling myself in post after post after post on this site as another disappointing season mercifully ends.

Depth matters (let alone quality depth) so any time somebody does something good, we’re conditioned to think it’s noteworthy and commendable. (Or, perhaps in some cases, it’s more about the soft bigotry of low expectations .)

Whatever the case, Christian Bergman is having a very high quality season out of the ‘pen, let alone considering how quiet it’s been. Granted, he’s in long relief and typically we see him entering games with the Rockies losing by several runs, as television sets turn off all across the greater Front Range.

Bergman doesn’t throw the high leverage innings you need when you build a bullpen from scratch to win games. But he lives in the same vein as Yohan Flande (had Flande been relieving this year and not forced into the rotation): Bergman pitches when called upon in any situation, mostly throws up zeros, does it without overwhelming or overpowering stuff, and throws a lot of strikes.

[ Related: One woman’s take on why she still watches the Colorado Rockies ]

Like Flande, too, Bergman gets hit hard; even in his solid 2015 season (3-0, 3.81 ERA, 4.22 FIP in 27 games), Bergman’s allowed 9.7 hits per nine innings and a homer every eight. Part of it is his lack of overpowering stuff; a fastball that doesn’t touch 90 mph won’t earn Bergman any long-term spot in a rotation or the back end of the bullpen.

But that doesn’t need to happen, and it’s not on Bergman to pitch out of his role if the Colorado Rockies’ front office fails to fill the bullpen like they should. Like Flande (I know, but he is a great comp), Bergman has the potential to be a good swingman. It’s a credit to Christian, too, that he’s having such a good season after he struggled in his rookie campaign, thrown into the deep end of the rotation when he wasn’t prepared.

Sure, he likes that questionable white dude rock music we all… um… well, that we all love so much. But he’s having a really good, really unassuming season out of the bullpen. In a year like this, I’ll take what I can get.

The Colorado Rockies aren’t a better team just because they have long relievers — they are a long way from adding talent in high leverage situations — but you can’t discount the value of a swingman. Bergman gives the Rockies an important role that’s unique to a team in Coors Field, and that role shouldn’t be overlooked next year.

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