As the weekend winds down, let’s take a look at two thoughts regarding the future of the Colorado Rockies.
The importance of number 0
There’s a lot of talk in the offseason about the Rockies shoring up their bullpen to make a serious run at the 2017 playoffs. However, Colorado should have few questions about its closer heading into next season.
Adam Ottavino returned last season from Tommy John surgery and made an immediate impact, going 1-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 34 appearances. He was 7-for-12 in save opportunities, including 5-for-6 in September.
To say that the closer spot was a roller coaster before Ottavino’s cementation back into the closer role in mid-August is an understatement. Overall as a team last season, Colorado was 37-for-65 in save opportunities. Those 37 saves were tied for 24th in Major League Baseball while the 65 opportunities were 13th in the league.
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Three Rockies pitchers had more than 10 save opportunities last season. Jake McGee began the season as Colorado’s closer and went 15-for-19 in saves. Carlos Estevez, who took over after McGee was injured, was 11-for-18 in saves. Ottavino’s numbers you can see above.
Estevez went 7-for-7 in saves in July, but finished the season 0-for-4 in those opportunities.
While the bullpen does need revamping, the ending piece of the puzzle seems intact, especially with Ottavino being available the entire season. There will be calls for the Rockies to pursue Aroldis Chapman (we wrote about that here) or Colorado native Mark Melancon. However, it’s not a closer the Rockies need to find in the offseason. It’s an arm or two that can get the ball to Ottavino to finish the game that should be a bigger priority for the Rockies.
News from the desert
With teams in the Arizona Fall League taking a day off on Sunday, the Salt River Rafters, a team that includes seven Colorado prospects, sat on top of the East standings with a 3-1-1 record.
On the mound, Shane Carle, who spent last season at Triple-A, has won of Salt River’s three wins. The 25-year-old right-hander earned the win on October 14 with two innings of one-hit relief at Peoria. He’s struck out four in four innings of work and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his two appearances.