O’Dowd on trading Jimenez: It wasn’t a time to be timid

July 31, 2011 | 10:36 pm | 28  

In Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, acquired in the deal for Ubaldo Jimenez, the Colorado Rockies believe they have acquired two elite young pitchers who can be mainstays in their rotation — and soon. True, left-hander Pomeranz has yet to pitch above the Double-A level, where he has made three starts, the same number White has made in the big leagues.

However, general manager Dan O’Dowd said White, who turns 23 on Aug. 29 and is about to begin a rehab assignment following a finger injury, and Pomeranz, 22, who will join the Rockies organization after he finishes a mandatory one year in the Indians organization on Aug. 15, could be pitching in the Rockies rotation in September. And O’Dowd said Joe Gardner, whom the Rockies will shift to the bullpen, could move quickly as a reliever.

“We’ve had some draft issues as it relates to some of the pitching and those holes have started to show up a little bit now,” general manager Dan O’Dowd said. “And if we want to stay and maintain our competitiveness with an opportunity to win, every year, we had to be bold. It wasn’t a time to be timid.

“So as difficult as it might have been to pull the trigger (on trading Jimenez), I think it would have been more difficult not to do it and put our franchise in the position of facing some kind of major rebuilding process in the near future.”

In a conference call with local media members, O’Dowd said, “If we were 10 games up and not 10 games back, (this) still would have been a difficult deal to pass up.” He called the trade “a reloading deal” rather than “a rebuilding deal.”

When pondering whether to trade Jimenez, O’Dowd drew on some advice from Hank Peters, his mentor in the game and the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians when O’Dowd was working in those organizations early in his career.

“Hank Peters always taught me I think you do something sooner rather than later,” O’Dowd said, “because when you wait until later, you’re going to end up getting nothing.”

The cumulative effect of pitching at Coors Field, which has resulted in injuries to the likes of Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook and even Pedro Astacio near the end of his run with the Rockies, was something O’Dowd said factored into the decision to trade Jimenez, 27.

“We weighed that a lot,” O’Dowd said.

Ultimately, O’Dowd opted to trade Jimenez to the Indians on Saturday. In return, the Rockies received White, who was scheduled to begin his rehab assignment from a finger injury Saturday and will be in Denver on Monday, Gardner, who had been starting at Cleveland’s Double-A Akron affiliate but will pitch out of the bullpen at Double-A Tulsa, catcher-first baseman Matt McBride, who will also report to Tulsa, and left-hander Pomeranz, shrouded as a player to be named later until Aug. 17, one year after he signed his first professional contract.

Because the latter can’t officially be included in the deal until Aug. 17, one year after he was drafted, he is officially a player to be named later at this point. How Pomeranz and White, both potential front-of-the-rotation starters, perform will determine whether this is a successful deal for the Rockies.

“When we went into this, we looked at this as an opportunity to strengthen our ballclub both in the short term and the long term,” O’Dowd said. “We weren’t looking for deep projections. We felt like we accomplished our goals. Obviously with young players, you never know. We feel like we added a few guys back that have a chance to be top of the rotation or very close to that type starters.”

The Rockies have those needs because of their barren drafts in 2006, 2007 and probably 2008. In 2006, their first five picks were pitcher Greg Reynolds, outfielder David Christensen, pitcher Keith Weiser, pitcher Craig Baker and infielder Helder Velazquez. Reynolds has been up and down with Rockies, including three stints this season. The only other player from the 2006 draft to reach the majors is catcher Mike McKenry, a seventh-round pick playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2007, the Rockies took pitcher Casey Weathers, outfielder Brian Rike, catcher Lars Davis, pitcher Isaiah Froneberger and pitcher Connor Graham with their first five picks. None have played in the majors, although Graham yielded reliever Rafael Betancourt in a trade with Cleveland in July 2009.

The only players from the 2007 draft to reach the majors are relievers Bruce Billings, who appeared in one game for the Rockies this season and was traded to Oakland in the deal for second baseman Mark Ellis, and Matt Reynolds. Pitcher Parker Frazier (eighth round) and catcher Jordan Pacheco (ninth), both drafted in 2007 appear to have a chance to play in the majors.

In 2008, the Rockies top picks were pitcher Christian Friedrich, outfielder Charlie Blackmon, pitcher Aaron Weatherford, pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth and unsigned third baseman Chris Dominguez. Blackmon reached the Rockies in early June but broke his left foot on July 7. Hollingsworth was traded to Oakland over the winter for pitcher Clayton Mortensen.

Friedrich could pitch in the big leagues, more likely as a back-of-the-rotation type, as could Dan Houston, whom the Rockies took in the seventh round in 2008. Both are at Tulsa, with Houston a recent arrival after beginning the season at high Class A Modesto. Also at Tulsa is infielder Tommy Field (24th round), a grinder who could end up as a utility type in the majors.

O’Dowd said the Rockies considered two other deals for Jimenez that might have addressed the team’s need to acquire a bat.

“Those deals might have been a little deeper and they had some positions players (coming) back that would have been impactful players,” O’Dowd said. “But I’ve made deals in the past when I’ve gotten quantity. I’m not a big believer in quantity anymore.

“I think we’re a big believer in quality, impactful quality. No deal out there gave us more impactful quality than what this deal has a chance to do. Obviously, time has to tell but (it) has a chance to be an impactful deal. The other deals may have affected more needs, but they would not have given us the impactful quality that this one did.”

Because Pomeranz can’t be officially traded for two weeks, he will remain with Double-A Akron but not pitch in games. O’Dowd didn’t refer to Pomeranz by name because he couldn’t at this point but said in such instances the acquiring club can send in scouts to see how a player in this “hypothetical situation” is doing until the trade is completed.

O’Dowd didn’t go far as to say Gardner, 23, will be as effective as Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants (who is 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 49 games with a fiendish 51/4 strikeout to walk ratio) but said Gardner has a “very similar arm action and body type and late sink and cut action to his ball.” Gardner made 19 starts for Akron but will be moved to the bullpen at Tulsa, which the Rockies feel can facilitate his rise to the majors.

“We think the velocity’s going to jump a little bit,” O’Dowd said. “We had him up to the mid-90s anyway. This kid has a very good arm, very good sink, very unorthodox arm action. When we looked at him, we saw a bullpen guy.”

McBride’s position is his bat, but O’Dowd said, “we’re going to work real hard to make sure he can play a functional position.” He has played catcher, first base and the outfield. McBride, 26, comes on the recommendation of professional scout Ty Coslow, who did a lot of work on this deal.

“When you get down to a fourth player in the deal, it’s always a gut-feeling guy for the scout,” O’Dowd said. “We had exhausted a lot of different names with them, and we got down to talking to Ty. And Ty has a good gut feeling on this guy, so we’ll see how it pans out.”

On Friday, McBride suffered an eye injury that could have been of far greater concern. He was doing a flip drill in the indoor batting cage, O’Dowd said, and a ball he hit into the screen bounced back and hit him in the eye, causing swelling on his eyelid. McBride went out that night and hit a double, and O’Dowd said while McBride will be “down for a little bit,” the injury isn’t serious.

O’Dowd said he didn’t think the Rockies could have made a better deal had they waited until the offseason to trade Jimenez. And as a player gets closer to free agency, O’Dowd said, his return diminishes. The Rockies had Jimenez, 27, under control through 2014 for $17.95 million. Because he was traded, Jimenez can void an $8 million club option for 2014 and become a free agent after the 2013 season. By then, the Rockies should know whether it’s thumbs up or thumbs down on the one-for-four trade.

“This deal will be judged upon not the last two players in the deal,” O’Dowd said, “but it’ll be judged upon Mr. White and the player to be named later.”

28 Comments »

  • Sedin | July 31, 2011 | 10:55 pm

    Thanks, Jack, for the best analysis of the draft from the Rockies’ perspective that I’ve read. I wish you wrote on a daily basis.

  • matt | July 31, 2011 | 11:09 pm

    I don’t like getting rid of Ubaldo but from the GMs standpoint I think I understand it. Based on his performance this year, it would be tough to give a big contract to Ubaldo. Add in the altitude effect and its hard to bank on the return of 2010 Ubaldo. Hopefully this works out for all parties. Ubaldo should do better with some humidity and hopefully will stay healthier and get a nice extension.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | July 31, 2011 | 11:41 pm

    I agree, good writeup. The trade thread had too many comments to go through but my 2 cents are it’s sad to see him go, aside from any analysis of the merits of the trade. Ubaldo was a good egg. That said, I don’t think any of us believe the Rockies could stand pat and expect things to get substantially better. Sometimes that means trading the good guys.

  • MJay | August 1, 2011 | 12:04 am

    Fantastic article Jack Etkin. A pleasure to read. That was deeply informative.

  • GARY | August 1, 2011 | 1:02 am

    Deja vu.Like reading the Rocky Mt.News,which I still miss and lament every morning.Thanks for helping clear the smog a little Jack.

  • Curt in Florida | August 1, 2011 | 7:23 am

    Outstanding job, Jack. Biggest point to me is the repeated draft failures, which always catch up with you, in this case costing the team a reasonably priced top of the rotation starter just to make amends. I think it’s high time to re-examine the process and the individuals who contribute to such unacceptable draft results and change the system and remove the individuals if necessary. It’s time for a scouting purge.

  • wyodave | August 1, 2011 | 8:27 am

    It does seem we have had a lapse in player development, particularly as Stewart has not yet taken hold, and Fowler appears to have been rushed to The Show. I seem to remember a continual progression of Rockies farm talent five years ago. What happened?

  • Marcel Girard | August 1, 2011 | 8:50 am

    “The cumulative effect of pitching at Coors Field”.
    I’ve seen this phrase, and others to the same effect, mentioned quite a bit lately. Can someone please explain what it means? Does pitching at altitude place extra stress on the arm, elbow or shoulder?

  • Cisco Kid | August 1, 2011 | 9:58 am

    With the recent failures of the scouting dept., one name we seldom hear is that of Rolando Fernandez. Where would this organization be without this guy and the scouts and development coaches under him? I had an opportunity to meet him in spring training and had a brief conversation with him on one of the minor league fields. I found him to be a very articulate, engaging, and down to earth man. I would love to see him become more involved in the overall scouting dept. and not just the Latin America operation.

    Steve or Jack- do you know if a position in Denver has ever been offered to him or is he content staying down in the Dominican Republic?

  • Robb | August 1, 2011 | 10:19 am

    I am sure DOD had many sleepless nights the past couple of weeks as he pondered whether to trade Ubaldo. Overall, I think this will be a good trade for the Rockies. Ubaldo was one of franchise faces for sure, but his performance has been at the level of a #2/3 starter for over a year now. He could definitely rebound, but at some point, a GM has to go with a decision. My biggest issue with the Rockies right now is with Tracy. When Ubaldo said JT was like a father to him, I thought that was nice. However, maybe what JT needs to be is more like a drill sergeant and light a fire under some players. They play with very little emotion it seems to me, other than Cargo and Todd. Even Tulo can seem like he is going through the motions at times.

  • Rocky | August 1, 2011 | 10:46 am

    DOD said…“We’ve had some draft issues as it relates to some of the pitching and those holes have started to show up a little bit now,” (talk about an understatement, btw… you can add Tyler Matzek to the list of flops;)

    “general manager Dan O’Dowd said. “And if we want to stay and maintain our competitiveness with an opportunity to win, every year, we had to be bold. It wasn’t a time to be timid.”
    Is DOD calling 10 games out, and 6 under .500 competitive? That’s the real root of the problem. A GM who considers winning just enough to keep his job, and the beer flowing at Coors Field to be competitive. Is he living in a different universe? What part of this season hasn’t been a disaster? Why can’t he just say that? Instead he sprays a little more perfume on this pig he’s created and calls it good.

  • Bill | August 1, 2011 | 11:53 am

    Maybe Jack knows the answer to this question. But are the scouts who recommended the draft picks who have not panned out (Or to be a glass half full guy, not panned out yet) the same scouts who are so high on the guys we received in the trade. And I guess in all cases O’Dowd has made the final decisions. Perhaps that it where the fault lies.

    I’m not sure. I’ve always liked O’Dowd but frankly I don’t believe for a second that he would have made this trade if the Rockies were 10 games ahead instead of 10 games behind. What also made be left was the suggestion by O’Dowd that he would rather trade someone too soon, then too late. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders how Garrett Atkins (and others) fits in that mold.

    But I am also not yet adding Tyler Matzek to the list of flops. He’s 20 years old and in his 2nd year of pro ball. I know this is the era of instant gratification but players (especially pitchers) can take 3 to 5 years to show their true abilities. This isn’t the NBA or the NFL when guys can come into the League and make a difference in their first year. And in the NFL players usually have at least 3 years of college and in the NBA most of the 18, 19 and 20 year old kids still take 3 to 5 years to really contribute. The Koby Bryants and Lebron James type guys are the exception, not the rule.

  • Agbayani | August 1, 2011 | 1:12 pm

    “We’ve had some draft issues as it relates to some of the pitching and those holes have started to show up a little bit now,” general manager Dan O’Dowd said.”

    Great article, Jack. However, you are too kind. You missed the obligatory mention that O’Dowd drafted:

    Greg Reynolds when Evan Longoria and Tim Lincecum (and Brandon Morrow, and Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer) were still on the board. Signability issues may explain Kershaw, but they don’t explain the inexplicable — the decision to take Reynolds above Lincecum and Longoria.

    Casey Weathers when Madison Bumgarner and Jason Heyward were still on the board. (O.K., that was a bust of a draft overall, and lots of other teams whiffed, too. But the 7th pick overall on a limited/reliever-only guy was just bizarre).

    I used to give O’Dowd a big pass on the draft since lots of “experts” thought he made a mistake taking Tulo in 2006 over some others on the board (Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce — who actually turned out to be a pretty damn good picks too). But that free pass has an expiration date.

    The odd thing about the deal is that O’Dowd is trying to build depth by trading away 3 years of one ridiculously affordable cost-controlled true ace for the chance to get 3 years each out of two cost controlled potential aces. (Plus, of course, their arbitration years, which won’t come nearly as cheap as Ubaldo’s next 3 years if they actually perform at Ubaldo’s level, which is very unlikely.) I’m not sure that really repairs the damage of the bad drafts. In fact, there’s a reasonable argument that giving away the one true ace your system has ever developed for perhaps a 50/50 chance on two different guys actually exacerbates the problem. Quick math: if each guy has a 50/50 chance of being a high-quality (think: #3 starter or better) MLB pitcher, then combined there’s a 25% chance that you’ll get TWO MLB quality starters. That ain’t so great, is it? You can quibble with the percentages, but look at some of the other guys drafted high during those bad O’Dowd draft years — guys like Brad Lincoln and Andrew Miller.

    O’Dowd is right about one thing: it’s a gamble. A gamble that BOTH Pomeranz and White will turn into quality (and durable) starters. Indeed, the deal won’t pay dividends unless you get a Jorge De La Rosa quality starter and an Aaron Cook (prime years) quality starter. And it won’t pay big dividends unless you get a new Ubaldo + a new Cook. That’s a longshot Gambler Dan was willing to take — the kind of longshot that only a guy who thinks his job is in jeopardy unless he scores big will take.

  • progmatinee | August 1, 2011 | 1:33 pm

    It will be interesting to see how high they reach, but assuming both become Chacin or DLR level pitchers I think its about a wash to be able to drop either Cook or Hammel from the rotation.

    The question I have is will this move make Hammel, Cook, or some of the minor league pitchers expendible…and what can we get for them?

    I think I would have been happier with this trade if Hammel, Iannetta and/or Stewart were packaged in there and we received a very good hitter in addition to the pitchers.

  • Agbayani | August 1, 2011 | 2:35 pm

    Short term, the pitching situation is more muddled than ever. De La Rosa’s best case scenario is for a mid-year return. Cook’s contract expires and he won’t be back unless he takes a major paycut. (He’ll take a major paycut wherever he signs.) So you’d think next year will start with:

    Chacin
    Hammel
    Nicasio
    ????
    ????

    White was rushed at Cleveland, and by the sound of it the Rockies are planning to keep it that way. But who knows whether he’ll need more time in the minors? Pomeranz hasn’t been rushed, but the talk is of rushing him now. Part of the problem seems to be that the Rockies have given up on the idea of grooming pitchers — in fact, of grooming pitchers or position players — at the Springs. That probably makes sense since the ultra-extreme hitting environment there can only breed bad habits and loss of confidence (pitchers) or overconfidence (hitters), but if that’s so, isn’t it time to reconsider having the Sky Sox as our AAA affiliate?

    I guess I’m starting to understand the interest in Kevin Slowey …

  • Robb | August 1, 2011 | 4:15 pm

    I think one source of disagreement between me and other posters is to define the term “ace” of a pitching staff. To me, an ace is Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, CC, or Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling back in the day. An ace is someone who you want on the mound in a must-win game and are 100% confident he will give you a strong outing. Does Ubaldo fit that definition for me? No. Was he the ace of the Rockies staff? Yes, in the terms of him having the best stuff. But, to me, being an ace is about much more than hitting 96 on a radar gun. It is about guts, determination, and having the mental willpower to beat the opponent. I don’t think Ubaldo fits that criteria. This explains why I feel he was expendable if the players received in return were outstanding prospects which Pomeranz and White are. I think Gardner could be a surprise here btw if moved to the pen. Just my two cents worth when it comes to defining an ace of a pitching staff.

  • rockymountainhigh | August 1, 2011 | 4:32 pm

    Dear Rockies:

    Please do not ask Pomeranz/White/Gardner to change mechanics and take them two steps backwards.

  • Doctor_Christopher | August 1, 2011 | 4:44 pm

    Marcel, the accumalated impact of Coors is two-fold. First because of the larger field and the sometimes issues of throwing breaking balls, pitchers end up having to throw more pitches, more high pressure pitches to get through 6 or 7 innings than in just about any other park (any park, aside from maybe Texas). Second, there is an argument which I have seen from a physiological level that says that players due to the limited O2 supply end up taking longer to recover, so they are tired earlier in the season, have to push through that tiredness, use up muscle mass sooner, and likely shorten their careers (more so with pitchers because they have to use their key muscles more in their one day every five than everyday players other than catchers in that same time). This was the issue raised this weekend by SI, which said that pitchers at Coors after 700 innings begin to show wear, and that in their insight this was probably the time to move Ubaldo. Its a good argument.

    Agbayani, I am going to give DOD more allowance on the draft issues 06-08. Yes, Reynolds was taken before Lincecum, but many people were scared off of Timmy becasue of his size and weird motion. As for Longoria, they had Stewart coming up, Tulo drafted the year before, and Evan said he didnt want to come here (would he have come only for a huge signing bonus?). We must remember that Reynolds was not poorly though of. He was on most people’s boards in the top 10. The Rox figured his arsenal would fit well here. And it might have but that call up in 2008 led to a confidence crash and then he has battled major injuries. You never know, especially with pitchers, how injuries will hit, and Reynolds was a shoulder. Were it an elbow that would be different.

    Wheathers was on the fast track, probably heading here by 2009 at the latest, and would have been cristened the closer for the next decade. He looked great, hard thrower, good everything. And then he blew out his elbow. While 70% of guys come back strong from Tommy John, obviously not all do, and may never make it back at this point. Again, injury came out of nowhere, as so many pointed that he had been an outfielder so he had a lot less stress on his elbow for a college pitcher.

    Friedrich again looked like a great pick, was moving on the Francis plan and then he took got injured, tried to throw it, and has gone from being a potential #2 who would already have been here to a maybe for the back end of the rotation in 2012 or 2013.

    Matzek is a wait and see. When he was drafted and signed everyone in the baseball press complimented the Rox for taking the risk and indeed graded the Rox class that had Matzek at the top as an A. You always take a risk with a high school pitcher. His arm and being a lefty makes him a potentia #1. Will he make that potential? We can still hope so, and now the team can afford to be more patient with him

    Where I feel the hit is not the misses on the #1s, its the fact that none of #2-5 guys in those drafts aside from Blackmon have done a thing, aside from getting us decent pitchers in trade. Someone asked about where is the stable of players like we had come up in the early part of this past decade. A lot of those players were 5s, and such. Holliday was a 5, I think Atkins was a 7, forget what Hawper was, think a 4. That is where you hope to get lucky and get guys who can be big bats, even guys who can be your home grown versions of Wiggington. Aside from Blackmon and perhaps Fowler, neither of whom are power guys, have come from the last 1/2 of the decades draft later classes. Lets follow these past two drafts for their position players taken after #1.

    So, yep, the drafts have killed us. Pitchers it has been largely injuries. Hitters…I think he have just blown it picking hitters, period. The good news on Pomerantz and White is that they were highly rated by the Indians already, and they have shown tremendous growth already in their young careers.

    But I think it is time for DOD to take some of the lower level depth in pitching to sned off and bring back an impact bat – a David Wright or the like. That will be key for the future.

  • Ryan | August 1, 2011 | 4:57 pm

    That’s a good post, Dr. Christopher. Nice to see someone articulate an alternative view.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | August 1, 2011 | 5:06 pm

    Agbayani, one advantage of White and Pomeranz over draftees is they’re further along, so it’s a little safer projecting them. Still definitely a risk though. Chances of *one* of these guys being as good as Ubaldo is definitely not 75-100%, I’d have to think. You could definitely have an injury before either is arb-eligible, but then I guess part of fear about Ubaldo was the chance of injury before his contract was done.

  • Reader f/k/a Mike | August 1, 2011 | 5:20 pm

    “Hitters…I think he have just blown it picking hitters, period.”

    Yes, lots of misses 2006-2008. But overall, the Rockies in the O’Dowd years overachieved; it’s what made the two playoff teams possible.

    Tulo of course. And really, with Fowler, Iannetta and Stewart. People see Fowler and Stewart as failures but they have both been major league regulars as draft picks out of high school. Hard to see that as a failure if you look at how the 1st round tends to go.

    It’s pretty unusual to see the success after the 1st round that the Rockies had with the GenR crowd (Holiday, Hawpe, Atkins, Spilborghs, Baker, Barmes).

    So while it’s bad that 2006-2008 seems to have had no hits besides Blackmon, I wonder if some of that is luck evening out.

  • Alex Colfax | August 1, 2011 | 5:27 pm

    Doc, I’ve heard the same theory about the limited oxygen supply here in Denver. Jason Jennings mentioned it more than once and several visiting pitchers have said it takes them a full 24 hours longer to recover from a Coors Field start than it does anywhere else. Over the course of a season, and certainly a career, that fatigue obviously adds up.

  • Doctor_Christopher | August 1, 2011 | 6:15 pm

    Alex, now you that you remind of that, I remember that as well. Baseball has been played at high altitudes for a long time, but that has always been minor leagues, so a pitcher would never be here for than maybe 2 years. It is possible that the effect on Rockies pitchers is going to be more pronounced. I have seen a lot of people talk about a huge increase in the number of innings on young guys from one year to the next and how taht shows up the following year. Maybe we should all start watching those whoe move into that 500-700 innings to see if this is something the team has to begin to factor in. You know Oakland has had a policy of pitching their young guys hard in their early years and then dealing them off, and few of them have been able to maintain after that.

    Ryan, thanks for the compliment. I have my own frustrations, but I never imagine that the guys running this club are stupid or ignorant. The one thing no one is a future teller. If you had told me Timmy Lincecum would not have been on the DL yet I’d have bet you $20 on that.

  • Anonymous | August 1, 2011 | 6:38 pm

    Maybe we should have an oxygen tank available, or maybe go with a 6 man rotation so that they have the extra day to recover.

  • SteveinAurora | August 1, 2011 | 6:41 pm

    So…the “answer” to the Rox seems to be in place. You’ve got your humidor (MLB regulated, of course) and you’ve also got to have your hyperbaric chamber (how long before the McCovey-cove dwelling Gnats complain about that?).

  • Agbayani | August 1, 2011 | 8:24 pm

    No question Coors Field used to eat up starters and spit them out. We used to hear a lot about the oxygen/recovery effect, but I think the last half dozen years have pretty much dispelled that theory. My main theory is that you just reached a level of extreme offense from ’95-’07 based on PEDs and other things, such that adding the additional Coors effect was just too much for starters to handle. Pitch counts went up, there were men on base in virtually every inning, etc. The humidor (introduced in 2002 I think?) has probably helped some with keeping balls in the park, but the main effect has been that Coors (given that league-wide offense is way down) is no longer past that tipping point at which pitchers simply can’t keep pace. Interestingly, although offense is way down, Coors this year is — relative to the league — right back up there as an outlier. Right now it looks like this (park factor for runs scored, from espn; 1.00 is neutral):

    Rangers stadium: 1.507 (wow)
    Coors: 1.399
    Fenway 1.216

    Those numbers are really high. In the crazy run scoring days, here’s how the Coors park factor looked:

    2001: 1.458
    2002: 1.440
    2003: 1.243
    2004: 1.412
    2005: 1.276

    Then things leveled off
    2006: 1.149
    2007: 1.160
    2008: 1.126

    Then they started jumping up again:

    2009: 1.247
    2010: 1.364
    2011: 1.399

    Again, the latest rise in the Coors park factor is more about run scoring at Coors declining less than it has declined in other parks. But the 2010 and 2011 jump to more (relatively) extreme levels has correlated with some seriously disappointing performances. Was the Rockies’ success from 2007-2009 partly a function of Coors playing more like a “normal” ballpark? Do these new more extreme park factors suggest the return of the Coors problem? If so, I think it has more of an effect on hitters now than on pitchers, quietly teaching hitters bad habits that are rewarded at Coors but punished on the road.

  • Agbayani | August 1, 2011 | 8:41 pm

    On the Coors Park Factor thing, I should say that there’s kind of a chicken and egg thing too. The park factor will go up if the Rockies have a bunch of players who mash at Coors and wilt on the road. And here’s some really shocking splits:

    Iannetta: home .987 OPS, road 569 OPS
    CarGo: home 984, road 669

    Meanwhile, Tulo has been a model of consistency, actually hitting a tick better on the road than at home.

  • Agbayani | August 1, 2011 | 9:27 pm

    As I was saying, we’ll never win a World Series with Huston Street as our closer.