The title of this piece isn’t exactly ground breaking news: the Rockies pitching is atrocious. How bad is it?
Who would most fans say are the Rockies best pitchers, right now? Or at least who has been the best year to date? I would venture to say that many fans would say Jamie Moyer or Juan Nicasio.
Juan Nicasio has the eighth worst ERA in the National League out of 63 pitchers who qualify. Nicasio also has the fourth worst FIP and Moyer is right behind him with the fifth worst. If we want to talk xFIP then Moyer has the fourth worst and Nicasio clocks in with the ninth worst. Moyer has the fifth worst strikeout per nine innings ratio and Nicasio’s homers allowed per fly ball ratio is sixth worst in the National League.
Nicasio and Moyer are the only two pitchers on the Rockies starting staff who qualify right now. If I lower the innings qualifications to include more starters from the Rockies staff the results get more dismal.
(This in of itself is bad news because Rockies starters are not lasting deep into games and already more than half of the staff doesn’t qualify for many of the pitching stats like ERA. This of course kills the bullpen, too.)
In lowering the innings limit to 20 innings pitched Jhoulys Chacin has the worst ERA in the National League (73 pitchers have thrown at least 20 innings) and Jeremy Guthrie clocks in with the 7th worst ERA. Chacin and Guthrie also have the worst FIP (Chacin worse than Guthrie). In fact, when looking at these stats the Rockies have five pitchers (with Drew Pomeranz) within the 15 worst FIP’s in the National League (remember Nicasio and Moyer staked their claim as terrible). The Rockies starters also dominate the xFIP category for putrid performance: Guthrie (worst), Chacin (third worst) and Moyer (sixth worst).
Chacin currently has a -0.3 WAR and Guthrie isn’t doing much better at -0.1! Both of these guys are performing worse than an average AAA call-up!
Guthrie has the worst strikeout per nine rate in the NL and Chacin has allowed the most home runs per nine innings pitched in the NL.
If we include Guillermo Moscoso he has a MUCH worse ERA than Chacin (7.30 for Chacin vs 11.57 for Moscoso) and his FIP is equal to Nicasio’s horrid number.
Of the six pitchers who have started for the Rockies in 2012 none of them have an ERA under 4.00, a FIP under 4.40 and with the exception of Moscoso none of them have an xFIP below 4.10. According to FanGraphs the league average in all of these statistical categories is under around 3.88-3.92.
Every pitcher the Rockies have used this year is worse than league average.
The awfully atrocious Rockies starting pitching is starting to tax the bullpen.
The Rockies have four relievers on the first page of relief pitchers with the worst ERA in the NL (three pages long and totaling 67 pitchers). Esmil Rogers has the second worst ERA (8.36), Rex Brothers has the 16th worst ERA (4.22), Josh Roenicki has the 22nd worst (3.52) and Matt Reynolds rounds out the Rockies on the first page with the 29th worst ERA (3.00).
All of this totals up to a bad pitching staff.
The Rockies pitching staff carries the worst ERA in the National League (by a quarter of a run!), the worst FIP, second worst xFIP and have provided the second worst WAR. The team has the fourth worst strikeout rate and fifth worst walk rate. They allow the most home runs and even have the second worst BABIP in the NL.
I can’t find anything positive to say about the Rockies pitching staff without looking specifically at a guy like Rafael Betancourt or Matt Belisle.
And this week the Rockies will use two pitchers who weren’t good enough to make the starting rotation out of Spring Training! It sounds like Alex White, Carlos Torres or Christian Friedrich will start two of the three games in San Diego.
Who does this onus fall onto? My first inclination is to heap this onto the pile of crap known as Dan O’Dowd’s body of work, but he has made a few really good trades in the past year (Jimenez trade is looking better and better as every start by Ubaldo passes). Maybe the onus falls onto Bob Apodaca? He does own the pitching staff, right?
But much like the open-ended contracts of O’Dowd and Jim Tracy there isn’t any indication that ‘Dac’s job is on the line. Just another year of awful pitching in Coors Field, as if it isn’t avoidable.