On Tuesday, the Colorado Rockies designated left-handed reliever Mike Dunn for assignment. This comes as the Rockies also designated left-handed reliever Chris Rusin for assignment just two weeks ago (he cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque).
The Colorado Rockies are starting to run low on left-handers at the major league level as with the recent DFA’S of Mike Dunn and Chris Rusin, the Rockies find themselves with only one left-hander on their entire pitching staff. That is Jake McGee and, this year at least, he has reverse stats against lefties and righties.
In other words, the Rockies really don’t have a guy for the lefty-lefty matchup late in games. However, they have somebody internally that could fit the bill.
That would be Sam Howard.
He made his MLB debut with the Rockies last year and pitched well in his brief stint. In 4 games (4 innings), he pitched to a 2.25 ERA. His main problem was that he allowed 3 walks in that span.
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However, this year, Howard has pitched to a 4.45 ERA in Triple-A Albuquerque, which sounds a bit high but in the very hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, where the league average ERA is 5.29 and the Isotopes average ERA is 6.47, that is pretty good for Howard.
However, Howard has pitched even better in his last 10 appearances, as he has pitched to a 0.87 ERA. In that span (10 1/3 innings), he has allowed only five hits, one earned run, 4 walks, and he has 14 strikeouts.
Since he was non-tendered at the end of the season and re-signed to minor league deal, he is not the Rockies’ 40-man roster. The Rockies only have 39 players on the 40-man roster due to the DFA of Dunn, though.
Like McGee this season, though, Howard has reverse splits as righties are hitting .229 against him compared to lefties hitting .313. Righties are hitting .292 and lefties are hitting .294 against McGee.
Since Howard’s numbers are in the PCL, he could see a bit of a difference at the major league level but it’s worth it to add him to the 40-man and even worth it to add him to the 25-man roster to see how it is for him at the major league level again.
If Howard doesn’t pan out, the Rockies could look to the trade market for a left-handed reliever (which is something that is getting less and less common) but why not try somebody that you already have.