A double standard is present when Colorado Rockies’ pitchers are brought up.
Coors Field causes turmoil. It’s often been shown to inflate hitting stats and conversely impact pitching numbers. It’s in the top five nearly every year in ballpark factor (by runs) – this year, it’s at the top.
The problem is both sides of the coin get negated for the club. When hitters have incredible seasons, they’re discounted. But, when pitchers do the same, they’re not given an added benefit – every notion that’s put against hitters suddenly disappears.
A truly remarkable season is required.
Freeland’s 2.85 ERA is a good starting point. It’s likely, with the reign of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom ongoing, that a 2.50 mark is going to be the maximum for a Rockies’ starter to win. Scherzer puts up near-record strikeout numbers nearly every year, while deGrom’s yearly run allotment is historic.
The former is also key. In voting, recent results show a need for strikeouts. Since 2011, every winner has posted 230 strikeouts or more.
For comparison, Marquez’s 2018 surge is the only time a Rockies’ pitcher has accumulated 230 strikeouts in a season. Freeland had 173, nearly 100 fewer than deGrom in 2018.
Wins have become less of a factor in the conversation – and rightfully so. Analytics have become a portion in fielding independent pitching (FIP), but often, it’s the overwhelming leaders in either strikeouts or ERA who take home the award.
If Marquez can eventually combine a 2.50 ERA with a lofty strikeout total, it’s conceivable that he could become the first Rockies’ starter to bring home a Cy Young. Thus far, the franchise’s history has shown it would be a truly unique feat.