Posted on: January 17, 2008 4:06 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2008 12:03 pm
Following up my post on the Rockies starting pitching I though I'd do a rundown of the Rockies bullpen as it stands now. Overall the group performed well especially during the stretch run. Their toughest moment came in June when the Rockies lost 9 straight games on the road partially due to then closer Brian Fuentes four straight blown saves. Shortly thereafter Fuentes was placed on the DL and Manny Corpas took over closer duties for the rest of the year.
Took over the closer duties after Brian Fuentes injury/meltdown and perform extremely well saving 19 of 22 games and posting a 2.08 ERA over 78 inning for the entire year. Gained some notoriety after his habit of dumping a cup of water on the front of his jersey was noticed during the Wild Card series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Not quite the strikeout numbers that you normally like to see from a closer, only 58 in 78 innings, but doesn't let a lot of traffic on base either with a WHIP barely above 1.00. Could develop into a lights out closer in his second full year in the majors.
The Rockies closer since 2005, Fuentes made history by becoming the first closer to ever blow four consecutive saves before losing his role and being sent to the DL. After returning Fuentes settled into the setup role and formed a solid lefty-righty setup combination with LaTroy Hawkins. His strikeout numbers decreased for the third straight year last year, but so did his walks. Rumors have been circulated and nobody would be surprised if by the trading deadline Fuentes is shipped to a team in need of a closer. Also could regain his closer role if Corpas does struggle.
Signed to a 2 year $7 million contract, Vizcaino is expected to replace Hawkins who signed as a free agent with Vizcaino's old team, the Yankees. Last year with the Yankees, Vizcaino won 8 games out of the bullpen while posting a 4.30 ERA. His stats will probably benefit from a move to the pitching deep NL West where the Rockies were the lone threatening lineup last year. Vizcaino is expected to be a solid mainstay in the 7th and 8th innings for the Rockies.
After starting the season in Triple A for the Rockies, Herges resurrected his career while helping the Rockies make the playoffs as a solid middle reliever. Held right handed batters to a sub .200 batting average and left handed batters only hit .216 against him. Resigned with the Rockies over the offseason, but was also named in the Mitchell report as having purchased steroids and HGH. The Rockies are hoping that Herges can fill the same role for them this year, as he is capable of going multiple innings when needed.
Other Possible Bullpen Arms
Ryan Speier - Former minor league closer who had to sit out all of 2006 due to injury
Mark Redman - Could possible earn a spot in the starting rotation, but most likely will end up in the bullpen as long reliever, as a lefty could also handle left handed batters when needed.
Jose Capellan - Power arm, who could make the bullpen out of spring training if he impresses.
Juan Morillo - Former starter in the minors who was converted to a reliever last year, has 100 mph fastball, like Capellan will need to make the team in Spring training.
Josh Newman and Micah Bowie - One of these two could make the team as a left-handed specialist
Out of these three, Affeldt, the left-handed reliever from last year will probably be missed most. Hawkins was replaced with a similar style pitcher, Vizcaino. Julio last season did rebound from his atrocious start with the Marlins, but then returned to his gas can ways during the stretch run.
Posted on: January 15, 2008 4:08 pm
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Posted on: January 15, 2008 4:08 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2008 2:46 pm
I've already noticed on these blogs that there is some extreme confusion as to the quality of the Rockies pitching staff. The only thing I can contribute this too, is no one has paid any attention to this team since the days of the Blake Street Bombers, i.e. the 90's. So just as a favor to those who have no idea that baseball is played someplace other then the West and East Coast and Chicago, here's a breakdown of the Rockies pitching.
Jeff Francis - Probably the least known ace in the National League by fans, however he was chosen as one of the top four starters in the National League by the players this past year when he won 17 games and struck out 165 while only walking 63, been compared to a left handed Greg Maddux.
Aaron Cook - Has battled some interesting injuries including one that almost took his life while in the mound. However he's possesses one of the best pitches in the Majors, a sinker that rivals Brandon Webb's and is a solid inning's eater who has suffered from a lack on run support.
Ubaldo Jimenez - A young pitcher who was called up last year, who has nasty stuff, 96 mph fastball with a better slider, and profiles as a future ace
Jason Hirsh - Another rookie last year, whose season ended when he got hit in the leg with a line-drive in the first inning of a game, he proceeded to throw 6 scoreless innings before being pulled and discovering he had a broken leg. Was the #1 prospect in the Astro's system before being traded to the Rockies as part of the package for Jason Jennings.
Franklin Morales - A very young left-handed pitching with an amazing curve, and a 95+ fastball, he had a 3.43 ERA over a forty inning call-up last year. Considered the top prospect in a very good minor league system
Also of note the Rockies pitching staff had the best ERA in the National League and was top 3 in the majors after the All-Star break with these guys. It wasn't the Rockies hitting that got them to the World Series it was their pitching. They shut down the vaunted Phillies' offense in their little league field.