Does anyone remember Craig Kilborn’s Five Questions bit? This is exactly like that, except it’s not very funny and I’m asking the questions, as well as answering them. Still, I hope it catches on.
Do the Rockies have a bullpen problem?
This has been a popular complaint about the Rockies and it is completely off base. Colorado’s bullpen is very good. Every bullpen in baseball has given up some runs this year and it’s foolish to overreact to a handful of bad games. The Rox lead all MLB bullpens in fewest walks given up per nine innings and are in the top ten in strike-outs. These are important stats for relief pitchers because walks keep additional runners off base and K’s make it easier to pitch out of jams. To top it off, they have the third best bullpen xFIP in all of baseball. The Rox biggest problem has been their home run percentage — particularly Huston Street. Yet, even though their HR/FB ratio is one of MLB’s worst, they’ve still been extremely effective. It would be dumb to make any changes in the pen.
Todd Helton says that the Rockies can make the playoffs, but they need another pitcher to contend. Is he right?
You have to appreciate the candor with which Todd spoke on the Jim Rome show. He’s also completely correct. I don’t know if you have been paying attention, but the Phillies are a seriously good baseball team. Their vaunted pitching staff has been as advertised. Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee all have FIPs under .260.** In all of baseball, there are only three other starters with an FIP below 2.60.
So, Todd’s right. Without De La Rosa, the Rockies are going to have a real tough time with the Phillies in the playoffs. That is, assuming they make the playoffs, obviously. Another starter would be a huge help and there may be some on the market come the trade deadline, but it’s hard to speculate about who will be available. There are a lot of teams that are close enough in the standings that they can’t justify a fire sale to their fans. We will just have to see how it plays out. However, considering the GM’s track record when it comes to major in season moves, I’m not holding my breath.
Should Todd Helton be an All-Star?
Helton’s return to prominence this season has been nothing short of remarkable. However, as good as he’s been, I can’t justify putting him in the All-Star game over Prince Fielder and Joey Votto. Right now, Fielder has a .307 ISO and is slugging over .600. He has an outside shot at fifty home runs this year. Meanwhile, Votto, the reigning NL MVP, has picked up where he left off last season. Also, there is the Marlins’ Gaby Sanchez who is having a terrific season. Unfortunately for Todd he plays a position that generates a ton of offense. While it would be nice to see the Rockies’ legend take the field in an All-Star game again, he probably needs the time off. I’m totally fine with him not making the team.
Will Dexter Fowler and/or Ian Stewart make it back to Denver this season?
The other night, Fowler racked up five walks in six at-bats. He never made it past second base and it was mostly his fault. He was picked off, doubled up on a fly ball, and thrown out trying to go from first to third. In his defense, it had to be hard for him to see since his head is usually up his butt. As for Ian, I think he suffers from the same affliction as Dexter — head permanently inserted into butt disease.
Honestly, I think the organization has essentially given up on both players and it will take a big time turnaround to change any minds. At this point, they are both trade bait. We might see them again in Denver this season, but I seriously doubt that either will be anything more than a bench player. Of course, an injury or two could change that in a hurry.
Is David Wright a realistic trade target?
Wright has been on the DL with a stress fracture in his lower back. Maybe I’m just overly cautious, but I’d be leery of trading for any player with a broken back. That seems like it might be detrimental to his ability to play baseball. The other day he took about twenty grounders. It was his first real physical activity since going on the DL on May 16th. If he comes back healthy, it is going to take some time for him to get back into the swing of things. So if I were the Rockies, the first thing I would do is make sure that’s absolutely healthy.
The next hold up on any deal for Wright is value. David hit 29 home runs last year and is a big name in a big market. The Mets will be asking for a lot in return. Just to be honest, I think Wright is a bit overrated. For the last three seasons, his defense has been on a major decline and he is now below average at third. At this point in his career, he’s not that much better defensively than Wigginton. I’m not saying he’s not an upgrade, but he’s certainly not worth selling the farm over.
**When evaluating Halladay, Hamels, and Lee, FIP is probably a better measure than xFIP because they have traditionally low home run rates and xFIP assumes the league average in that category.
Disagree or have something to add? As always, comments are welcome.