Changing up the pitch mix: What’s worked for the Colorado Rockies
By Kevin Larson
A quarter of the way through this surreal 2020 season and the Colorado Rockies starters have been a major surprise throughout the league. Not even the most faithful of Rockies fans could have predicted their rotation would be among the league leaders in a plethora of pitching stats, both traditional and advanced.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Colorado Rockies starting rotation ranked third in both ERA (2.65) and ERA- (55). If you’re unfamiliar with ERA-, it’s a stat that takes Park Factors into account, meaning it looks at the Rockies’ ERA and factors in the effects that Coors Field would have on an ERA. At 55, it means they’ve been 45% better than the MLB average starting rotation, which is phenomenal to say the least.
More impressively, though, is the fact that it consists of four homegrown pitchers that have each been with the team for at least four years now. German Marquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela have turned around last year’s calamity of chaos and gave the Rockies enough of a head start that making it into this year’s expanded playoffs feels like nothing but a formality at this point.
But what’s been the key? The same four guys from the past four years are just dominating now. Granted we’re only on our fourth round through the rotation, but what we’ve seen so far has been promising … and a change in pitch mix is to thank. So let’s take a look at what’s different from past years and what to expect throughout the rest of the season, whether that’s good or bad.