Colorado Rockies: What should they do with Yency Almonte?

DENVER, CO - APRIL 8: Relief pitcher Yency Almonte #62 of the Colorado Rockies delivers to home plate during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on April 8, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 8: Relief pitcher Yency Almonte #62 of the Colorado Rockies delivers to home plate during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field on April 8, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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Yency Almonte had a great year for the Colorado Rockies in 2020.

In fact, he was the Rockies best reliever and, arguably, their best pitcher in 2020.

Here’s how he fared in 2020. All comparative stats are among Rockies pitchers with more than six innings pitched in 2020.

  • 27 2/3 innings (the most of any Rockies reliever)
  • 2.93 ERA (the best for any Rockies pitcher)
  • 3.44 FIP (second only to Germán Márquez)
  • 1.12 WHIP (second only to Tyler Kinley)
  • 2.0 walks per nine innings (the best)
  • 0.7 home runs allowed per nine innings (tied for the best)
  • 8.1 hits allowed per nine innings (third-best on the team after Tyler Kinley and Daniel Bard)

But he has been the exact opposite in 2021 as he has been the Rockies worst reliever and worst pitcher.

Comparative stats are among pitchers with at least six innings pitched.

  • 12.86 ERA (worst of all Rockies pitchers)
  • 9.20 FIP (worst)
  • 2.214 WHIP (worst)
  • 7.7 walks per nine innings (worst)
  • 3.2 home runs allowed per nine innings (worst)
  • 12.2 hits allowed per nine innings (third-worst behind rookie left-handers Ben Bowden and Lucas Gilbreath)

Most of Almonte’s advanced stats suggest that he has been a victim of some bad luck (like the FIP above) but they are still well below league average.

In fact, the only stats that are good for him are the average exit velocity (84.7 MPH) and hard hit percentage (27.7 percent), which are in the top five and six percent of the league. In other words, batters are getting a lot of hits off Almonte but he hasn’t been hit particularly hard.

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But how much longer can the Rockies keep turning to Almonte?

Ideally, the Rockies would send him down to the minor leagues but he is out of minor league options.

And his elevated stats aren’t just due to one, really bad outing. He has allowed runs in eight of his 17 outings and he has allowed at least two runs in all eight of those outings.

Other than his velocity being down about 1 MPH for each pitch, there doesn’t seem to be much out of the ordinary. His spin rate on his pitches are around what they were in 2020 or even better than they were last year. The only pitch of his that is being hit way more is his slider, as batters hit .173 off it in 2020 and they are hitting .409 off it this year.

So it seems like pitch location is his worst problem.

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Whether it’s pitch location or something else, if the Rockies plan on contending this season or at least being competitive, Yency Almonte needs to be much closer to his 2020 self rather than 2021. If the tides don’t turn for him soon, Almonte soon may be off the Rockies roster and either in Triple-A Albuquerque (off the 40-man roster) or with a new team because the Rockies simply can’t afford to deal with a pitcher with an ERA of nearly 13 through two months of the season.

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