What Statcast says about the Colorado Rockies’ starters
By Kevin Larson
Austin Gomber came to Coors last season with big shoes to fill as the MLB piece of the Nolan Arenado trade and performed well in his first season with the Colorado Rockies. Now that the league has a bit of a book on him, his sophomore year could potentially bring some bumps in the road, but Gomber’s been relatively steady so far to start 2022. Per his Statcast profile, he ranks above league average in the following categories:
- Hard Hit percentage
- K percentage
- BB rate
- Chase Rate
- Curveball Spin Rate
Now, these are different than some of the other stats we’ve focused on for the rest of the staff. For Gomber, he’s generally around the 30th percentile in the league in the following categories:
- Barrel percentage
- Whiff percentage
It’s not overwhelming by any means, but it’s a fairly common theme throughout the rest of the Rockies’ starters. Regardless, these numbers make him look relatively similar to Kyle Freeland.
As to how he’s gotten there, he’s really only struggled with one of his four pitches and that’s the changeup. It’s getting hit for a .495 wOBA. That comes along with a .406 xwOBA, so he’s getting some unlucky results but that’s still not a great number. He’s also throwing it almost exclusively to righties (60 pitches to righties and two pitches to lefties).
His top two pitches of choice are his fastball (40.3 percent) and slider (31 percent). He’s gotten decent, not great, results out of his fastball (.336 wOBA). That’s likely to see more negative results soon, though, as it’s paired with a .371 xwOBA. That’s not terribly different than what we’re seeing from it now, though, and my bigger worry sits with his slider.
Currently, he’s getting fantastic results from his slider. He has a .212 batting average against it, equating to a .265 wOBA. However, it’s got an xwOBA of .398, meaning the results he’s gotten so far are too good. When hitters start hitting him better, it’s likely to be because of his slider.
One pitch that should stay dominant is his curveball. Much has been made of the curve since he became a Rockie, but it’s continuing to break his way. Hitters are only hitting it for a .146 wOBA, paired with a .139 xwOBA. That means that he’s been slightly unlucky on his curve, which still has absolutely dominant results. While it’s generally his put-away pitch, he may want to consider using it more when the negative regression comes for his slider.
Overall, the Rockies staff is about where you’d expect them to be. Not terribly great, but some positive signs are there. The biggest worries will be how Márquez and Senzatela progress from here. If they continue to struggle, the Rockies will struggle as well. If they improve, the Rockies may just be able to hang around in the Wild Card race into September.