Colorado Rockies: The battles that will loom for 2021 bullpen spots

Aug 12, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Yency Almonte (62) pitches in the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Yency Almonte (62) pitches in the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next
Tyler Kinley of the Colorado Rockies
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 07: Reliever Tyler Kinley #40 of the Colorado Rockies delivers a pitch during a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on August 7, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The Rockies won the game 8-4. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

Those eight names we listed on the previous page (Almonte, Bard, Diaz, Estevez, Givens, Stephenson, Oberg, and Sheffield) would make up the entire bullpen, but that also leaves out a key contributor from last season: Tyler Kinley.

Picked up off waivers from Miami in December of 2019, Kinley limited left-handed hitters to a .111 batting average in 2020. That was tied for the third-lowest mark in the National League and tied for fifth-lowest in Major League Baseball. Kinley allowed no hits and no runs 17 times in his 24 appearances in 2020 (helping him to a FIP of 3.99), so one would think he would be a part of the 2021 bullpen.

Also missing from the list are any left-handers, an option the Rockies employed out of necessity for the majority of the last month of the 2020 season. It was a necessity because Phillip Diehl and James Pazos struggled mightily. Pazos is no longer with the Rockies, but Diehl will return for 2021. After pitching in just six games last season and being scored upon in four of those six outings, Diehl will have to show in spring training that he can get the job done.

So what could happen with the bullpen? With Diehl still having minor league options, the Rockies could very well go with a right-handed-only bullpen again to start the 2021 campaign. Kinley also has options, so the battle for the last spot could come down to whether Sheffield shows enough in spring training to stay on Colorado’s roster for the entire 2021 season. If he does, Diehl and Kinley could start the season in Triple-A. If not, Kinley likely has the edge to grab the eighth spot.

Next. A Rockies reliever and a presidential connection. dark

Remember, only Bard, Diehl, and Kinley have minor league options, so Colorado’s bullpen options if they don’t want to designate a player for assignment are slim. With that in mind, much of the bullpen is already in place. However, there still will be some questions to iron out in spring training.

facebooktwitterreddit