Colorado Rockies: Bud Black talks about high walk rates
The walk rate for some Rockies pitchers are at an alarming rate.
The Rockies pitching staff has walked 348 batters entering Sunday, which is fifth-worst in all of baseball. This equates to 3.5 walks per nine innings. This is particularly bad for pitchers Adam Ottavino, Tyler Chatwood, Mike Dunn, Greg Holland, Scott Oberg, and Jon Gray as they average 6.4, 5.1, 5.1, 4.4, 4.0, and 3.9 walks per nine innings. You might notice that these numbers are high for relievers (which we have discussed the Rockies improving the bullpen before the trade deadline in a bevy of articles in the past weeks).
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Black on the rise of walks
Bud Black fielded questions from reporters and one question that was asked by our own Kevin Henry was about the rise in walks. Here is what Black had to say:
"[I] don’t like it…our pitching staff–with the exception of a couple guys–historically and statiscally, have a walk [issue] and we have to do a better job of coaching them and [they need to start] making some adjustments in their game to be better strike throwers–especially [in] certain counts [and against] certain hitters…We really have to clean that up. And some of it’s the younger guys that are coming to the big leagues but…some of the guys have a walk in their game and [it’s] a challenge every spring [and] every year as the season goes to…cut that walk rate down and good pitching staffs do that. I think [if] you look at the leader board of pitching statistics, the teams that statistically do well walk the least amount of guys."
The numbers back Black’s claim up as the three teams that have the least amount of walks all are leading their division and also are the top three in team ERA (the Dodgers, Indians, and Red Sox) and nine of the top 15 are above .500 and another three teams are withing three games of .500.
As we have mentioned, the Rockies will be addressing this before the trade deadline by acquiring some relievers and starters. Obviously, as Black said, pitchers will have to be coached to throw more strikes (and pitching in Coors Field is something very out of the ordinary in the first place). As time goes on and Bud Black and his coaching staff can spread their wings across the organization, this will be one of the many things that they will work on.