In a season that has gone south for the Colorado Rockies, the team still has one of the best stories of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. And it’s a story that deserves even more recognition than it has already received.
After not pitching in an MLB contest since April 27, 2013, Colorado Rockies reliever Daniel Bard not only proved himself in Spring Training I and II, but also has become one of the team’s most reliable arms during the 2020 season.
Bard was forced to leave the game in 2013 because of the “yips,” the inability to throw a strike. Now the 35-year-old Bard has posted 25 strikeouts in 20 innings of work this season for Colorado.
The stats show why Bard should earn the honor. Entering Tuesday night’s home game against the Oakland A’s, Bard has finished nine games for the Rockies, totaling six saves, the most on the team. His strikeout to walk ratio of 4.17 is the highest of his career and his WHIP of 1.250 is right in line with his career average of 1.222, including three seasons with a 128 ERA+ or higher with the Boston Red Sox from 2009-2011.
By the way, Bard’s current ERA+ sits at 152, which would be the second-highest of his career.
Prior to pitching a scoreless inning on September 12 against the Los Angeles Angels in Denver, Bard had factored into a decision or save in his previous eight appearances, picking up five saves between August 24 and September 6. He also picked up two wins.
It’s worth nothing that Greg Holland won the award after becoming the closer for the Rockies in 2017. After missing the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery, Holland logged 41 saves the next year, tying Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers for the most in the National League.
The Rockies took a chance on Holland in 2017. They took a chance on Bard in 2020. Both have paid big dividends for Colorado.
While Bard won’t be able to put up numbers like that because of the shortened season, there’s no doubt that his journey back to the mound is remarkable. And Bard is not just back, but he is thriving as well. Earning NL Comeback Player of the Year honors would be a fitting end to what has been a remarkable story for Bard and the Rockies.