Digging for pitching prospects
For better or worse, it doesn’t look like a call-up is going to significantly help the Rockies’ struggling bullpen.
Carlos Estevez is still trying to regain his old form. The flame-throwing rightie spent two months on the DL with an oblique strain before heading for rehab in Albuquerque in late June. Don’t mind his 8.00 ERA and 1.94 WHIP — he has just 18 innings on the entire season and 14.1 since returning from injury.
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Last season for the Rockies, he pitched 31.1 innings for a 5.57 ERA and 3.84 FIP. But he was a key cog in the bullpen by the end of the season, with eight consecutive scoreless appearances and just one hit allowed in six innings pitched. If Estevez can right himself, expect to see him on the mound in September.
Former starter Jeff Hoffman could make an impact as a long reliever. Hoffman’s six appearances with the Rockies this season ranged from just fine to dreadful, and his inconsistency continues in Albuquerque, where he has a 4.57 ERA in 18 starts for the Isotopes. He continues to struggle with control (40 walks on the season) but hasn’t allowed a lot of home runs at one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the minors. Maybe he’ll be motivated by the urgent need to prove himself as a reliable Major League pitcher.
My dark horse candidate for an impact reliever is 26-year-old Jerry Vasto. He was roughed up in his one appearance with the Rockies, but his ability to strikeout batters and his 1.90 rate of ground outs-to-air outs is ideal for Coors Field. His minor-league resume is impressive, and this season he sports a 2.45 ERA and 1.24 WHIP for the Isotopes.
Get ready folks — it’s almost time to “CALL U’MUP!”