Entering spring training, there were certain Colorado Rockies pitchers perhaps under the microscope more than others. Throughout February play, three of those pitchers did not perform at the level they needed to be.
We detailed in this article three pitchers (Yency Almonte, Jeff Hoffman, and Antonio Senzatela) who were out of options and one pitcher (Chi Chi Gonzalez) has one option left. Without options, the Colorado Rockies will be deciding in the spring if three of these pitchers were part of their future or not. Three of those four pitchers put up some alarming numbers in their first outings of the spring.
Yes, it’s early. Yes, it was February play, so they have some time to recover but three of them still struggled.
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Let’s start alphabetically and that means looking at Almonte. Solid in his first two outings of the season, allowing just one hit in two innings pitched, the 25-year-old right-hander was rocked by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.
Almonte faced nine Dodgers and allowed six hits and walked two, registering just one out while surrendering eight runs as part of an 11-run fifth inning. He also uncorked a wild pitch.
Despite the tough outing, it’s clear that the Rockies believe Almonte could be a key piece of their bullpen in 2020.
That 11-run fifth inning was also a nightmare for Gonzalez, who started the frame and continued his tough spring.
Gonzalez entered Saturday with a 21.60 ERA in spring, giving up four runs in just 1.2 innings of work. The 28-year-old right-hander totaled 2.1 frames against the Dodgers, giving up three hits and three runs (including a solo home run). With a 15.65 ERA in four innings, it doesn’t bode well for a player who some thought might solidify the back end of the rotation coming off a strong September.
Hoffman, meanwhile, had his February struggles continue on Saturday night in a 9-6 loss to San Francisco. Batters are now hitting .474 against Hoffman this spring, including the six hits given up in 1.2 innings on Saturday. That’s now nine hits surrendered in 3.2 innings of spring work and puts into question if Hoffman’s new delivery can keep him on the roster.
Senzatela is, so far, the only member of the quartet mentioned above to have posted a February ERA below 9. In his lone outing of the spring (a start on Saturday night), Senzatela looked good, giving up one run on two hits and striking out four.
Manager Bud Black told reporters in Arizona on Saturday that he didn’t believe “options trump our best team,” meaning he isn’t going to have whether a player has a minor league option or not make a decision for him. However, don’t be surprised if more poor performances this spring help Black make the multitude of roster decisions he has ahead of him.