The Coors Effect

July 15, 2009 12:55 AM

Midseason review: Pitcher grades

Now it's on to our midseason reviews of the pitchers.  For pitchers, I'm using a cutoff of 20 innings pitched -- this gets the significant relievers, though four pitchers (Jason Grilli, Josh Fogg, Joel Peralta, and Glendon Rusch) fall right below it.  Grilli and Rusch are no longer with the team, while Fogg and Peralta haven't been with the team all season.

Jason Marquis: Marquis leads the National League in wins.  Seriously.  He's also seventh in the league (and leads the Rockies) in innings pitched.  At 11-6, with a 3.65 ERA, Marquis has obviously been pretty good.  I'm concerned about his ability to keep this up given his low K/9 rate, but this is about what the players have done to this point, not what they'll do in the second half.  As it stands, Marquis is an All-Star, and with a decent second half he'll threaten the franchise wins record of 17.  Grade: A-.

Ubaldo Jimenez
: The Rockies have been waiting a long time for Jimenez to develop into the ace starter that his top-notch stuff suggests he can be.  The one thing holding him back was command, and his BB/9 has dropped from 4.7 last year to 3.6 in 2009.  And that includes a very shaky April, in which Ubaldo walked 17 in 19 innings.  Since then, it's down around 2.7, and he has a 3.07 ERA.  Ubaldo also has the highest average fastball velocity of any major league starter.  In review, Ubaldo's April prevents a straight A, but his performance since May started would be deserving.  Grade: A-.

Aaron Cook
: If you have any questions as to why the Rockies stunk up the joint in April, look no further than the performances of Cook and Jimenez.  Cook, the purported staff ace entering the year, had a 7.11 ERA that month.  His command was off as he walked 12 batters in 25.1 innings, and also allowed hitters to elevate the ball too much, giving up seven homers.  Since then, Cook has generally been good; but the Rockies' poor start to the season was partly a function of Cook's poor start.  Grade: B+.

Jorge de la Rosa
: We get it.  Jorge is inconsistent.  Despite striking out more than a batter an inning -- usually an indication of a strong pitcher -- Jorge has an ERA north of 5 and is 6-7 on the year.  Even over his strong stretch in June and July, he has a 4.93 ERA -- and has a 6-1 record despite it.  Of course, that mostly shows what one Bad Jorge start will do for your ERA.  The overall result since May turned to June has been good, but the specter of Bad Jorge hurts.  Grade: C+.

Jason Hammel
: Hammel had shown slow progression in his walk rate: 4.3 in 2006, 4.2 in 2007, 4.0 in 2008... now, 2.1?  Hammel's improved command has been the driving force turning him into a quality back-of-the-rotation starter, and getting a solid 4.43 ERA from the purported fifth starter has been a key to the Rockies' pitching success.  On the other hand, Hammel's 7.62 ERA at home has to improve.  But the 1.97 ERA on the road is nice.  Grade: B-.

Huston Street
: Well, if Carlos Gonzalez doesn't pan out, the Rockies have gotten solid work out of Street, also acquired in the Matt Holliday deal.  Another Rockies pitcher who was awful in April, since then, Street has a spectacular 1.55 ERA.  Now, if only the middle relief were better...  Grade: A-.

Manny Corpas: In the midst of Street's awful April, Corpas was briefly the closer.  And he was having a bad April, too (noticing a pattern?)  Unlike Street, Cook, and Jimenez, though, Corpas didn't get better in May.  Now he's on the DL.  Grade: C.

Alan Embree
: Embree went on the shelf for the rest of the year just as he seemed to be turning things around: he'd had a 6.75 ERA through the end of June, but had yet to be scored on in July.  A rejuvenated Embree would have gone a long way toward solidifying the bullpen, but at 39, pitching in Coors Field for the first time, he just didn't seem to have it any more.  Grade: C.

Matt Daley
: Daley got the call because of his incredible start at AAA, and has kept it because, um, the Rockies don't have a lot of better options.  His 4.50 ERA, though, means he's generally been reliable, and his high K rate suggests he can keep it up.  Grade: B.

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