There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, obviously. We’re one-fourth of the way through the 2022 season. The Colorado Rockies sit in last place in the National League West, trailing the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks and three of the best teams in baseball in the standings.
The only shock thus far is that the crappy D-Backs are hovering around .500. Don’t expect that to last. They could easily lose 100 games.
As for the Rockies, don’t expect their current swoon to last, either. This is a roster that should be able to challenge that .500 mark, which will still leave them sitting fourth in the game’s best division.
But that’s all conjecture for the end of the season. But what about the halfway point? The All-Star break. Where will the Rockies be then? And who might be wearing the purple pinstripes in the All-Star game in Los Angeles?
Last season, when Coors Field was awarded the game as a replacement for politically incorrect Atlanta, pitcher German Marquez was the lone Rockie on the NL squad. He didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd, tossing a perfect 1-2-3 inning and recording a strikeout, even though the American League won 5-2.
Marquez won’t be returning to the NL squad this season. But which Rockies player (they’re likely to get just one rep again) will be California dreaming?
Early voting would favor first baseman C.J. Cron, whose currently in the top three in the National League in home runs, batting average, RBI and some advanced analytics categories, too. He’s been the Rockies best power hitter with newbie Kris Bryant struggling to stay on the field with a lingering back injury.
Otherwise, it’s been a little…sparse as far as the position players go. Yes, Yonathan Daza is hitting a robust .350 at the quarter pole. That’s an unexpected bonus. It’s highly unlikely that his numbers will remain in that rarified air. And let’s be honest: Daza isn’t going to be on anyone ASG ballot come July. Former All-Star Charlie Blackmon is scuffling along under .220. The guy everyone had pegged for a breakout season (it could still happen) Brendan Rodgers, hasn’t broken out yet. Ryan McMahon is struggling at the plate – and in the field. Conner Joe and newbie Randall Grichuk are doing okay, but not All-Star okay.
If it’s not Cron, it’s not going to be a position player.
Last season, Marquez became just the eighth Rockies pitcher to make the NL squad. The previous seven also did not allow a run, but still, it’s considered something of a fluke for a pitcher who spends his season at Cape Coors to do well enough to earn an All-Star bid in the first place. Going into this season, the Rockies talented (but thin) starting rotation was being touted as a strength of the team. So far, they’ve failed to live up to that as a group, with only newcomer Chad Kuhl having more wins than losses on the young season.
Safe to say that no Rockies starting pitcher will be getting the extra trip to LA, either.
That leaves the beleaguered bullpen – which almost everyone labeled as the team’s biggest weakness entering the season. So far, that’s not been the case. While a number of relievers have struggled, the key guys that Bud Black depends on to close out wins have by in large done the job. Robert Stephenson has been solid. Closer Daniel Bard as well. Young Justin Lawrence has been good, and newbie Alex Colome has been reasonable. Native son Ty Blach has gotten a lot of key outs, too.
But the guy in the bullpen who has stood out – so much so that he would be the Rockies All-Star rep if the selections took place tomorrow – is Tyler Kinley. His numbers so far are eye popping.
Kinley’s ERA? A minuscule 1.15 after eight appearances. His “ERA+” is a sterling 420 for the analytics crowd. His WHIP, a nifty 1.10. He’s struck out 18 and walked five thus far.
Those are All-Star caliber numbers after 40 games, and if he duplicates them over the next 40, he should be a slam dunk to be on the All-Star team.
That would be mighty ironic of course, given the hand wringing over the Colorado bullpen leading up to the season.
Be sure to catch Mark Knudson and Manny Randhawa on the Park Adjusted Rockies Podcast each week, available on all major Podcast platforms.