Rockies Year in Review: Christian Friedrich


The next installment in our 2015 player review series is Christian Friedrich.

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I miss the days when I was excited about Christian Friedrich. Sort of like I miss the days when I was excited about a lot of Rockies pitchers, and it’s starting to get a little bit alarming that so much of my excitement is ending in disappointment. Probably some people whose job it is to figure that out should get on it. But when Christian Friedrich debuted in 2012, he was expected to dazzle, and he did, for a hot minute. Two starts, to be exact. By start three, he was giving up 8 runs in 5 innings to the Mariners, and the Christian Friedrich we now know was born.

The Rockies made the wise (or perhaps desperate) decision to send Friedrich to the bullpen after his return from a back injury in 2014, and that’s where he spent all of 2015. His numbers certainly suggest that that was the right move; while he has not been spectacular, he has been more effective than he was as a starter. In 68 games with the Rockies this season, he posted a 5.25 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, and 1.80 strikeouts per walk (this number has gone down; Friedrich used to miss significantly more bats than he does now).

In searching for numbers that make Friedrich stand out as either really good or really bad compared to his fellows, I mostly came up empty. He is the very definition of mediocre when stacked up against his Rockies teammates. This probably makes him somewhere between bad to just plain awful in terms of his position among other major leaguers. But for the Rockies to have a semi-dependable lefty to come out of the pen is a good thing, so I appreciate his contribution in that area. He makes way less money than Boone Logan, but I would much rather see Friedrich trot to the mound.

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I think the best way to wrap this up is to mention a particularly noteworthy performance of Friedrich’s this year. His game logs bear out the sad truth that any time he sees a lineup through more than once–or really, the second half of a lineup for the first time–bad things happen. But he pitched in all three games of that sweep the Rockies managed in Atlanta back in August, just about the only bright spot in a downright dismal second half. Friedrich faced a total of six batters over the course of those games, and not one scored. Of course he had other scoreless outings, but these felt especially worthwhile given what the team accomplished. I don’t credit Friedrich with them, but I acknowledge his role in them.

Overall Grade: C+