Momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher. It has long been said that the sport of baseball is all about pitching. Following the conclusion of the 2019 World Series, how could one argue against that?
Through our evolutions of launch angles, shifts, bullpen-ing and more, we still saw a seven-game Fall Classic contested between the best pitching staffs from each league. Washington’s five added together a 21.4 fWAR while Houston’s (boosted by a late-season accusation of Zack Greinke) posted a 19.4 fWAR. And, in the end, the series was decided by the unit that was better: Washington’s starters pitched a ludicrous 127.2 of their 153 innings (83.4%) this postseason.
Never has it been more clear that, no matter the year, pitching will lead to the pennant.
Given the Colorado Rockies starters epic fall from ninth-best in baseball to sixth-worst in just one season, where does that leave Colorado?
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While much has been made about the bullpen at Coors Field, the starting staff should be a bigger concern. Those year-over-year numbers include nearly 100 less innings pitched, more than one and a half more earned runs per nine and 11 starters used versus seven. All told, the Rockies used 31 pitchers in 2019 and only 21 in 2018.
Now that the club has let go of veteran Chad Bettis and once-promising pitching prospect Tyler Anderson (the two of which combined to start 76 games between the club’s playoff runs of 2017 and 2018), where do they go? Obviously having German Marquez, Kyle Freeland and Jon Gray answers some of those questions in name and elite talent. But, much like the mid-aughts of Rockies baseball with Tulo and CarGo, can we trust the health of the trio? Furthermore, what is Freeland? Is he his 2017 rookie show-out, his sophomore Cy Young candidacy or his third season demotion to Triple-A?
Tagging along is former top prospect Peter Lambert who has nearly thrown his first 100 big league innings to the tune of a plus-7 ERA and Antonio Senzatela who barely escaped having a 7 ERA. Soon-to-be 27-year-old Jeff Hoffman wasn’t much better in his 70 innings with a 6.56 ERA.
With only one pitcher in the Rockies top 13 prospects (and that’s Ben Bowden, a closer), reinforcements are not really coming.
There are many questions surrounding the-lost-20-wins-in-one-season-Rockies as the offseason begins today. What’s the biggest in my book? Just how badly depleted is this young starting rotation that was just two and three seasons ago ridden to playoff berths? And what can be done to solve the issue?