Friday, June 1, 2012

May Review and Player Rankings

May Record: 10-18 

The Rockies followed their 8-20 month of May in 2011 with an almost equally dreadful May this season. The only thing that saved it was the four-game sweep over Houston that ended it. Simply not good enough, but at least the arrow isn't pointing straight down heading into June.

Overall Record: 21-29 

No sense even looking at the standings until they break even. And we're still a long way from that.

May Swing Games: 4-6

Wins (Game They Could Have Lost)
Losses (Games They Should Have Won)
The fact their record looks pretty good in swing games speaks to how poorly they pitched in so many of those 18 losses. They just weren't competitive in too many of them, almost entirely because of the team's starting pitching issues. The decent record here is also aided by the much improved hitting at the end of the month stole them a couple big wins over Houston.

Highlight of the Month: It didn't take me long to decide this would be a Carlos Gonzalez home run. It just took awhile to decide which one (there were 10 to pick from). In the end, I actually picked two, as in his multi-homer game against defending Cy Young Clayton Kershaw.

Start of the Month: Big league debuts are always cool. And they're even cooler when you go out and dominate it the way Christian Friedrich did in San Diego. It was an outing many of us had been waiting for since the Rockies selected Friedrich with the 25th pick in the 2008 draft, and he did not disappoint one bit. (Read the Recap)

Of course the natural ups and downs have come for Friedrich since, but I won't move off my belief that he has the stuff and the mindset to eventually overcome all of the challenges presented by facing big league hitters and pitching at Coors Field. 

Things I Would Change: The Rockies cut bait on Jamie Moyer on Tuesday. That's one move I was going to suggest here. I think another tweak I'd make is finding more creative ways to use Rafael Betancourt.

Raffy basically had the entire month off from meaningful action because Jim Tracy wouldn't use him non-save or non-tied-at-home-late situations. Meanwhile, guys like Matt Belisle, Josh Roenicke, even Esmil Rogers (at a time when he was really struggling) have been run into the ground pitching in 6th-7th-8th inning jams. It's wasting one great asset for the sake of a situation (and stat) that may not even occur while wearing down several other assets. I don't like it. I know I'm not alone in not liking it. I just want to see our best reliever maximized. 

PS: Rafael Betancourt would probably be involved in the All-Star discussions with more opportunities. As it stands now, not a chance.

May Player Rankings: (All players that appeared in more than one game during May)
  1. Carlos Gonzalez
  2. Dexter Fowler 
  3. Josh Roenicke
  4. Michael Cuddyer
  5. Troy Tulowitzki
  6. Jason Giambi
  7. Adam Ottavino
  8. Jordan Pacheco
  9. Rafael Betancourt
  10. Matt Belisle
  11. Wilin Rosario
  12. Marco Scutaro
  13. Christian Friedrich
  14. Tyler Colvin
  15. Todd Helton
  16. Juan Nicasio
  17. Eric Young Jr.
  18. Jeremy Guthrie
  19. Carlos Torres
  20. Drew Pomeranz
  21. Matt Reynolds
  22. Wil Nieves
  23. Josh Outman
  24. Alex White
  25. Ramon Hernandez
  26. Jamie Moyer
  27. Chris Nelson
  28. Jonathan Herrera
  29. D.J. LeMahieu
  30. Esmil Rogers
  31. Edgmer Escalona
  32. Rex Brothers
— I'd say there's a drop off after Gonzalez and Fowler. Then after Wilin Rosario there's a significant drop off. And then after Todd Helton it gets really, really ugly. That's not to say Helton had a decent month, either, because he honestly didn't. It's just never good when the evaluation process comes down to who sucked the least at #18, but that's how Jeremy Guthrie earned that spot. He's then followed by two pitchers who spent most of the month at Triple A.

— Jason Giambi settles in at #6 because he drew seven walks in 26 plate appearances. Several of those walks came in critical situations, I might add, and led to late-inning offense. For example, his two-out walk in Game 1 on the May 28 doubleheader started a two-run rally from scratch. Good, quality, unspectacular production. 

Oh, and he did have the one walk-off home run against LA on May 2.  

— Josh Roenicke and Adam Ottavino were workhorses this month, each making at least ten appearances and finishing with an ERA below 1.00. I shudder to think how much worse May could have been without them anchoring the bullpen.

More Rockies thoughts await you if you follow me on Twitter: @Townie813 & @HeavenHelton