On Monday, Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black spoke with the media, including Rox Pile, and he spoke about the bullpen at length.
The Colorado Rockies bullpen was one of the weakest areas for the team in 2019 and in the last few seasons, it was a bit of a disappointment after the Rockies’ free-agent signings made it look like they would have a “super bullpen.”
However, entering 2020, Rockies manager Bud Black, in speaking with the media (including Rox Pile) on Monday, said that he thinks the bullpen will be much better, especially in a shortened season.
"“I think for me, [the bullpen] gives me optimism [for a] couple of reasons,” said Black. “The growth of Jairo Diaz and Carlos Estevez late in the year, what Scott Oberg did [for] all of ’19. I think Wade Davis is going to bounce back. I think some other pieces that we’re looking at right now, I think, are going to be contributors. There’s no questions that bullpens are going to be a big factor [in 2020].”"
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Black said that he thinks in the “first two, three weeks,” most starting pitchers on most teams “are [going to be] on a pretty limited pitch count,” which makes the bullpen that much more important.
Therefore, guys like Chi Chi Gonzalez, Peter Lambert, Jeff Hoffman, and Yency Almonte, who can give the Rockies some length out of the bullpen if they aren’t in the rotation will likely be more relied upon as well.
The Rockies bullpen will likely have around 10 guys to start the season since there are going to be 30-man rosters to start the season. That number will drop gradually until the one month mark has been reached and it will be at 26 players and remain that for the rest of the season and postseason.
That 26-man roster will have a maximum of 13 pitchers, which Bud Black would have likely had in the first place as with the previous 25-man roster, Black often employed an eight-man bullpen and, for a series or two, even a nine-man bullpen.
With the shortened season and the heavy reliance on the bullpen, Black even speculated that “it could be” a good year for a reliever to win a Cy Young Award or even an MVP award.
The last three instances where a reliever won both awards were Dennis Eckersley (1992), Willie Hernandez (1984), and Rollie Fingers (in the strike-shortened 1981 season). The last time that an NL reliever won the MVP award was prior to the Cy Young Award when Jim Konstanty won the MVP award for the Phillies in 1950.