Right-handed starter Tim Melville’s return to the Major Leagues after washing dishes at a BBQ restaurant was one of the best story lines from a disappointing 2019 for the Colorado Rockies.
With much of 2020 shrouded in mystery, Tim Melville joins a growing list of players we’ve discussed who took advantage of an opportunity to play at the end of the season to potentially propel themselves into bigger roles in 2020–this list includes Garrett Hampson (here), Sam Hilliard (here), Jairo Diaz (here), Carlos Estevez (here), and Chi Chi Gonzalez (here).
Melville joins Gonzalez as the second starter on the list. And while Gonzalez had the more dominant September, Melville had a better season ERA and somehow managed to sneak into the Rockies’ top 10 players in Baseball Reference WAR for the entire 2019 season, despite appearing in just seven games.
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The fact that he only had seven starts should preface any discussion on Melville’s 2019–good or bad–but the Rockies are desperate for starters and though it was a small sample size, Melville showed some promise.
Over his seven starts, Melville scattered two bad games, one mediocre game, and four pretty impressive outings. None more impressive than his first start of the year, going seven one-run, two-hit innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 21.
In his next start, Melville managed only five innings but didn’t surrender a run while striking out six members of a very good Atlanta Braves team. In four of his seven starts, Melville allowed two runs or fewer– one on August 21, zero on August 26, two on September 6, and one on September 25.
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Melville certainly showed some reasons for concern as well. After his seven-inning Rockies debut performance, he never again finished the sixth inning. And though in five of his seven starts he gave up a total of just two home runs, in the other two games, he gave up a combined seven home runs. It’s also worth noting that he gave up eight home runs in four starts at Coors Field and only pitched one homerless game at 20th and Blake.
But as noted above, it was a small sample size for Melville in 2019 and it’s hard to judge him positively or negatively until we see more. Melville showed enough to earn a shot in Spring Training and even if he can’t work his way into the rotation, he could potentially help fill a hole in the disastrous Rockies bullpen.