Colorado Rockies: The Unexpected “Super Bullpen”
By Aaron Hurt
If you asked Colorado Rockies’ general manager Jeff Bridich what he envisioned from his bullpen back in spring training, he probably would have described a unit that is much like what you have seen as of late.
A bullpen that can come in and give three-plus innings of shutout baseball, limit damages, clean up each other’s messes, and close out ballgames.
The “what” he envisioned from the bullpen may be spot on but the “who” is definitely not what he had expected.
As you know, the Rockies spent a lot of money on the bullpen this past offseason as in $106 million for Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw.
Unfortunately, only one of the three, Wade Davis, has lived up to his contract and will be called on extensively during the playoffs. The other two, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, who both signed 3-year $27 million contracts, have been left off the playoff roster entirely.
Instead, Black has relied on the stellar play of other names in the back end of the bullpen this past month to propel them into Rocktober. In fact, since the start of September, the Rockies’ relievers have posted the second-best ERA in the NL behind the Brewers.
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Of course, Wade Davis has been dominant lately, as the stats above show, but it is the better-late-than-never return to 2017 form of Chris Rusin that has filled the left-handed void that Jake McGee’s struggles have created.
Adam Ottavino has been so-so over the last month but for most of the season he has been that “X-factor” that I had hoped he might be back in March, for the Rockies in the 8th inning. Throw in Seughwan Oh, who was a key pick-up at the trade deadline, he has been a solid and much-needed addition to the bullpen.
Last, but definitely not least, the most surprising of these relievers has been the emergence of Scott Oberg. Oberg, who never had an ERA lower than 4.94 in his previous three seasons, has had a career year, going 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 58.2 innings of work in 56 appearances and has turned into a go to guy for Black in key situations.
These five relievers aren’t what Rockies had originally planned for the “Super ‘Pen” blue-print but they have helped shoulder the load as the Rockies reached consecutive playoff births.
With the extreme micro-managing and mix and matching that playoff baseball provides, the Rockies will need these players to continue living up to this lofty label, if they want to move on in the playoffs.