Former Rockies Headed To The Postseason: American League


As usual, it’s not a great year to be a Colorado Rockie, but it’s a great year to be a former member of the team.

Here’s a look at the former Rockies who will be playing for World-Series-hopefuls in the American League this October.

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Toronto Blue Jays

Troy Tulowitzki

Of course, we’re all aware of the most famous former Rockie to hit the postseason this year. I, for one, will be happy to see Tulo surrounded by a team that can give him the championship he deserves. That doesn’t mean I’m glad he no longer plays in Denver, but if he can’t be here, I want him to be somewhere he can win. Tulo was sidelined for most of September with a cracked shoulder blade, but he’s back with the Jays and collected a double and a single Friday night and another single this afternoon. Toronto’s offense is so good, Tulo isn’t even its anchor; that would be Josh Donaldson, headed for a potential MVP win. In 15 postseason games with Colorado, Tulo hit just .211 with one home run, so it will be interesting to see how he fits in with this lineup once the ALDS starts. (P.S. Can someone please change his picture on Baseball Reference? It just makes me sad to see him in a Rockies uniform.)

Jeff Francis

We all know Francis, another homegrown Rockie who played some solid games in purple pinstripes. His best season was in 2007, when he contributed heavily to the Rockies’ World Series run. He started a game in each of the Rockies’ playoff series, winning against Philadelphia and Arizona and losing (badly) against Boston. After trying to come back from shoulder surgery in 2010, Francis clearly wasn’t the same guy, and though he did pitch sort of well for the Royals in 2011, he has not returned to his former self. He played for three different teams in 2014 and was picked up by the Jays as a free agent this past offseason. He’s made 13 appearances out of the bullpen split between early spring and September, with a DFA and a Triple-A stint in between. He’s striking out a batter per 9 this season, a career mark for him, and figures to stand by for long relief opportunities for the Jays in the postseason.

LaTroy Hawkins

Hawkins makes three members of the Rockies’ 2007 National League Championship team to play for the Jays in the 2015 postseason. Since joining Toronto, Hawkins has rocked a 2.81 ERA in 17 appearances, striking out 14 and walking just 3. He’s been around long enough to have experienced playoff baseball with three different teams, most recently the Brewers in 2011, when he pitched four scoreless innings. The Blue Jays have looked to Roberto Osuna as their closer this season, and he’s recorded 20 saves, so they’ll likely call on Hawkins for middle or late inning relief with the occasional finish where there is no save opportunity.

New York Yankees

Chris Martin

Martin, who came over to the Rockies along with Franklin Morales before the 2014 season, had quite the beginning to his career in the bigs. He pitched to a 2.35 ERA in his first six weeks in Colorado and looked to be the answer to a bullpen facing a wide variety of woes. After that, he went from bad to worse, and the Rockies unloaded him on the Yanks in the offseason. His performance there has fluctuated wildly and he’s been optioned and recalled a couple of times. Most recently, he pitched the top of the 9th in Boston and allowed a double, a walk, a single, and a run. With the Yankees carrying over a dozen relievers into the postseason, Martin is not likely to make an impact, but given his winding path to the majors, I have no doubt he’ll be thrilled just to be sitting in a bullpen watching a postseason series unfold.

Kansas City Royals

Jeremy Guthrie

I don’t really want to talk about Guthrie. Obviously he was terrible in Colorado in 2012 and then rehabilitated his career after being traded to Kansas City (for Jonathan Sanchez, oy), where he will pitch in his second consecutive postseason this year. I really wanted the Royals to win the World Series last year, but it was still satisfying to see Guthrie become the pitcher of record in their Game 7 loss. On the whole, he was just okay last year, never advancing past the fifth inning in any of his three starts. This year, he’s unlikely to start at all, as he’ll have to give way to more talented newcomers like Kris Medlen and Chris Young. He’s pitched to a regular season ERA of 5.00, so it’s hard to blame the Royals for stashing him in the pen for the playoffs.

Franklin Morales

Morales is another pitcher who did not make me sad when he left Denver, but he also has some postseason experience with the Rockies. He was close to perfect in 2009, but not in ’07. He started Game 2 of the NLDS, going against Kyle Kendrick of all people, and was pulled after 3 innings after surrendering three runs to the Phillies. Luckily, Kendrick gave up a grand slam the next inning, but Morales hadn’t hung around long enough for the win, which went to Josh Fogg. And then there was his abysmal World Series performance, when he allowed 7 runs in a single inning in Game 1. His Game 3 outing was much better, but thanks to Fogg’s bad start, it did no good in the long run. Most recently, Morales came into Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS with Boston, and promptly blew a save. He’s been pretty solid for the Royals this year, though, posting a 3.23 ERA in 66 appearances. Expect to see him provide some low-stakes late-inning relief for Kansas City this postseason, especially with Greg Holland unavailable.

Texas Rangers

Drew Stubbs

Many of us hoped the Rockies would unload Stubbs sooner than they did, but an August DFA was better than nothing. Stubbs was almost immediately scooped up by Texas, where he has mostly served as a pinch hitter and late-inning defensive replacement. He’s collected a grand total of 2 hits, and his average on the season is still below the Mendoza line. He has also hit zero home runs, so commence obligatory talk of the Coors Field effect. Stubbs’s playoff numbers in two seasons with Cincinnati (2010 and 2012) are no better, and he’s driven in a grand total of one run in eight games. One encouraging thing, perhaps, for the Rangers is that Stubbs’s strikeout rate in the postseason is slightly lower than his career regular season numbers would suggest. I still doubt we’ll see him often in high leverage situations going forward.

Houston Astros

Collin McHugh

McHugh is a mostly-forgotten member of the Rockies paired pitching experiment of 2012. He pitched in 8 games, 4 as a starter, and gave up at least 1 run in all but the first. That first start was killer, too, so it’s really too bad that McHugh couldn’t replicate his performance: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K’s. He did manage to figure it out once he got to Houston last season, and this year he’s pitched over 200 innings with an ERA of 3.89 and 171 strikeouts. Here’s another fun fact: it took him until last year to accumulate enough service time to finally complete a rookie season, and he was fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting. So, you know. Pitching at Coors Field and all that. McHugh will be a part of the Stros’ postseason rotation, should they wind up needing one, and it will be his first playoff experience.

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Will Harris

A homegrown Rockie who barely got a chance to pitch there, Harris posted an ERA of 8.15 in 20 appearances with the team in 2012. He was placed on waivers early in 2013 and picked up by the A’s. His third trip to the waiver wire this past offseason led to a roster spot with Houston, where he has had significant success. In 68 relief outings, he’s pitched to a 1.90 ERA with 68 K’s in 71 innings. He’s been healthy this year and will no doubt be available from day one out of the Astros’ bullpen. He’s never played in the postseason before.