Last night Jim Tracy started Tyler Colvin in centerfield for the second game in a row. Many instantly assume that the decision Tracy is making is Colvin versus Dexter Fowler and unfortunately in Tracy’s case, that might be true.
I think Tracy looks at two things when making decisions, two simple things: 1. age of the player/years of MLB service and 2. the player’s contract value. Someone should tell Tracy there is more to baseball than how old a player is and to shut the door when Dan O’Dowd tells him not to waste the Monfort’s money by sitting a highly paid player.
The question shouldn’t be should Colvin start in place of Fowler but where should Colvin play? I think it is fairly obvious Colvin needs to get regular playing time. Colvin now has four home runs over the past three games and in the past 11 games is hitting .344/.417/.813. On the year he is batting .304/.336./589 with seven dingers.
Colvin should play, but not in center. He can play any of the three outfield positions and first base. He obviously isn’t playing left field in place of Carlos Gonzalez but first base and right field sure seem like a great place for Colvin to get regular playing time. But therein lies the problem: two old guys who get paid a lot of money man those positions, so Tracy will not sit them.
If you follow me on Twitter, last night I was vying hard for Colvin to start in place of Michael Cuddyer (and his $30 million salary and 12 years of service). This year Cuddyer is batting .271/.330/.483 or not nearly as good as Colvin. Over the past 12 games Cuddyer is hitting right along his yearly rates: .273/.347/.523
Troy Renck was stating that Colvin should have started at first. This probably makes even more sense, except that Todd Helton plays first (and he has 16 years of service and is still owed over $20 million). Helton is batting .240/.332/.421 on the year and with his home run last night is batting .302/.393/.491 in the past 14 games. Better than Cuddyer, but not as good as Colvin.
Instead Tracy puts Colvin in for Fowler who only has five years of MLB service and is only due $2.35 million this year. Fowler, in the past 14 games, is hitting .396/.482/.729 and on the season is up to .280/.380/.540 after his slow start. Let me put these numbers next to each other in case the impression has not been made.
Over past 2 weeks (about)
If you had to pick one player to sit who would it be? It certainly shouldn’t be Fowler!
Season to date
If two weeks of data isn’t a big enough sample size for you (don’t like to consider players “hot”) then if we check the year-to-date stats then Helton should have been on the bench.
But benching a guy who has been getting on base nearly 50% of the time over the past two weeks and slugging over .700 during that same time frame is simply ludicrous. On top of that since Tracy has benched Fowler the past two games and the Rockies had an off day Fowler has only one plate appearance in the past three days! For those who recall 2007 and how everyone assumed that the length between when the Rockies advanced to the World Series and then the World Series actually started seemingly cooled off the Rockies we would have to assume the same thing for Fowler, right? Why sit a hot hand?? Because he is young? Because he is cheap? I cannot find a good reason.
And one more thing, this year Fowler is hitting .314/.421/.657 against right hand pitching (Bartolo Colon started for the Oakland Athletics last night and is right handed).
It is just another item on a long checklist of items as to why Tracy is a horrid manager.
Rockies starting pitching
Rockies starting pitcher’s ERA, by season:
There you have it, this season’s rotation is the worst in franchise history (to this point). And generally bats heat up as the summer gets hot…
Finally I will leave you with this Tweet:
I have asked. So far, not something on table. RT
@hayespeter: What about getting Cuddy some time at 2b?
This was a tweet by Troy Renck in response to the question by @hayespeter. Never underestimate the casual fan. They will propose the most amazing ideas at times, no matter how insane. But, at least the Rockies are smart enough to not consider Cuddy at second. I guess I have to give the Rockies front office some credit.