The bullpen for the Rockies has not lived up to preseason expectations and they have been a disaster in June. June started with a home series against the Dodgers where the bullpen surrendered 19 runs. They moved on to Cincinnati where they gave up 8 runs. They returned home where they have allowed 11 runs in only the first two games of their current series.
June 6 is the only game this month in which the bullpen has not surrendered a run. In that game, Harrison Musgrave, Scott Oberg, Jake McGee and Wade Davis came out of the pen. As the bullpen has caused the Rockies to start this month 2-6, changes are needed. Quickly.
Who are the Rockies Current Bullpen Pitchers?
Wade Davis – RHP
Davis has a 3.42 ERA in 26.1 IP with a 1.10 WHIP in 28 games
He signed a 3 year, $51 million contract with the Rockies this past offseason. His contract has a 4th-year mutual option with a $1 million buyout. The option turns into a player option if Davis finishes 30 games in the 2020 season.
Bryan Shaw – RHP
Shaw has allowed 12 runs in his last 3.2 IP. He was booed out of Coors Field on Saturday following a 6 run effort where he committed 2 errors and only recorded 2 outs.
Shaw has a 7.03 ERA in 32.0 IP with a 1.88 WHIP in 35 games
Following a 5 year stint in Cleveland with the Indians, Shaw is not off to a good start with the Rockies. In those five years, Shaw held a 3.11 ERA in 358.2 IP with a 1.18 WHIP. His past numbers are why the Rockies gave him a 3 year, $25 million contract this past offseason. The 3-year contract also has a 4th-year team option with a $2 million buyout. Shaw’s 4th year becomes guaranteed if one of the various requirement options are met.
*For those interested, those requirements are either to have 60 pitching appearances in 2020, to finish 40 games in 2020, or to have 110 pitching appearances combined between 2019-20.
Jake McGee – LHP
McGee has a 4.70 ERA in 23.0 IP with a 1.35 WHIP in 26 games
The Rockies acquired McGee and German Marquez in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Corey Dickerson and Kevin Padlo. McGee was re-signed this past offseason to a 3 year, $25 million contract. His contract has a 4th-year team option with a $2 million buyout. The option vests if the same requirements are met that are listed above for Shaw’s 4th-year team option.
Scott Oberg – RHP
Oberg has a 4.06 ERA in 17.2 IP with a 1.25 WHIP in 16 games
The Rockies drafted Oberg in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft. He is still under team control and his earliest free agent year would currently be 2022. This has been Oberg’s strongest season at the MLB level as he has pitched to a 3.17 FIP compared to his 4-year average FIP of 4.45.
Chris Rusin – LHP
Rusin has a 7.86 ERA in 26.1 IP with a 1.52 WHIP in 20 games
The Rockies selected Rusin off of waivers in 2014 from the Chicago Cubs. He is still under team control and his earliest free agent year would currently be 2021. Although he pitched in 60 games last season to a 2.65 ERA in 85.0 IP with a 1.11 WHIP, he has not had the same results thus far in 2018.
Brooks Pounders – RHP
Pounders has a 7.11 ERA in 12.2 IP with a 1.66 WHIP in 11 games
The Rockies signed Pounders as a free agent this past offseason. In 2016, as a member of the Kansas City Royals, he owned a 9.24 ERA in 12.2 IP. In 2017, as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, he owned a 10.45 ERA in 10.1 IP. In 3 seasons in AAA, Pounders pitched to a 2.99 ERA in 76 games. The Rockies took a flier on Pounders to see if his AAA success will translate to the MLB. So far it has not.
Harrison Musgrave – LHP [Currently on the Bereavement List]
Musgrave has a 2.65 ERA in 17.0 IP with a 1.06 WHIP in 10 games
The Rockies selected Musgrave in the 8th round of the 2014 MLB draft. He is currently in his rookie season. Prior to making his MLB debut, Musgrave’s minor league experience came only as a starting pitcher. In AAA, he was 11-9 in 34 games with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. The MLB bullpen has suited him well so far, but it is too small of a sample size to judge his performance.
Jeff Hoffman – RHP
Hoffman holds a 3.38 ERA in 2.2 IP with a 1.13 WHIP in 1 game
This is a very small MLB sample size and he has not been very effective in his previous 31 MLB games from 2016-2017. Hoffman was traded to the Rockies by the Toronto Blue Jays along with Jose Reyes, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco for Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins. The 9th overall pick in the 2014 draft has not lived up to the hype thus far, so it will be interesting to see if he can turn it around in the Rockies bullpen while other players remain out.
Adam Ottavino – RHP [Currently on the DL]
Ottavino holds a 0.95 ERA in 28.1 IP with a 0.64 WHIP in 27 games
The Rockies selected Ottavino off of waivers from the St Louis Cardinals prior to the 2012 season. Although he has had his ups and downs in his career, he has been phenomenal to start the 2018 season. He is currently on the DL due to a left oblique strain and does not have a timetable for a return at this time. The Rockies desperately need Ottavino back healthy to help piece the bullpen back together.
Mike Dunn – LHP [Currently on the DL]
Dunn holds a 9.00 ERA in 16.0 IP with a 2.31 WHIP in 23 games
The Rockies signed Dunn as a free agent prior to the 2017 season. He is in the 2nd year of a 3 year, $18 million contract that contains a team option for a 4th season. The 4th season team option is for $6 million with a $1 million buyout. It becomes guaranteed at $7 million if he pitches 60 games in 2019 or if he pitches 130 games combined in 2018 and 2019. He is currently on the DL with a left rhomboid strain and does not have a timetable for a return at this time.
Who are the Rockies Minor League Options?
Antonio Senzatela – RHP [Currently on the 40-Man Roster]
In 6 games for the Albuquerque Isotopes, he holds a 2.70 ERA in 26.2 IP with a 1.13 WHIP
In 10 games for the Rockies, he holds a 6.23 ERA in 17.1 IP with a 1.67 WHIP
Although he was utilized out of the bullpen for 10 games in the MLB, he is a starting pitcher in AAA. In 36 games last season for the Rockies, he held a 4.68 ERA in 134.2 IP. Senzatela will most likely be the Rockies next call-up option as he contributed to the Rockies reaching the Wild Card game last season.
Sam Howard – RHP [Currently on the 40-Man Roster]
For the Isotopes, he holds a 4.68 ERA in 42.1 IP with a 1.51 WHIP in 9 games
Howard is a starting pitcher in AAA, but the Rockies will surely be searching for all options to fix their bullpen. In his minor league career, he holds a 3.68 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. What better way to learn the big leagues, then to pitch in the bullpen? World Series Champion David Cone often says while announcing that starting out in the bullpen is the best way to develop as an MLB pitcher.
Yency Almonte – RHP [Currently on the 40-Man Roster]
In 7 games for the Isotopes, he holds a 7.71 ERA in 21.0 IP with a 1.67 WHIP
Almonte is also a starting pitcher, but since he is struggling as a starter, he may have more success in relief. Although the numbers are poor this season, the fact that he is on the 40-Man Roster already may give him the opportunity to prove himself at the MLB level. In the minors in 2017, he owned a 2.91 ERA in 111.1 IP with a 1.36 WHIP. As he has shown flashes of being effective, I would keep an eye on Almonte to get a chance in the Rockies faltering bullpen.
Jerry Vasto – LHP [Not Currently on the 40-Man Roster]
In 19 games for the Isotopes, he holds a 1.71 ERA in 21.0 IP with a 1.14 WHIP
Vasto is not currently on the 40-man roster, so a move would need to be made to add him to the 25-man roster. He had a rough go of his first season in AAA last year pitching to a 6.88 ERA in 53.2 IP, but he has pitched closer this season to how he did in A and AA. Vasto held a 1.06 WHIP in A and a 1.20 WHIP in AA. 27-year-old Jairo Diaz may be an option to remove from the 40-man roster if the Rockies elect to give Vasto a chance in the big leagues.
Who are the Rockies Trade Options?
Kelvin Herrera – RHP – Kansas City Royals
Jared Hughes – RHP – Cincinnati Reds
He has a 1.08 ERA in 33.1 IP with a 0.96 WHIP in 29 games this season
Hughes signed a 2 year $4,250,000 contract with a team option for $3 million prior to this season. Although he is pitching phenomenally well this season, he does have a 1.25 career WHIP in 8 MLB season between the Pirates, Brewers, and Reds. The Reds will be asking for a lot in return for Hughes, but he may be worth it with 2 more years of affordable control left after this season.
Raisel Iglesias – RHP – Cincinnati Reds
In 25 games this season, he has a 2.33 ERA in 27.0 IP with a 1.04 WHIP
Iglesias is currently signed through the 2020 season and he is the Reds current closer. He compiled 28 saves in 2017 and has 9 saves thus far in 2018. Like Hughes, Iglesias has two remaining years of affordable control after this season. Separately, these two Reds relievers will cost quite a bit as they come with two more years of control, so acquiring the two together will be very costly. Would it be worth it to consider trading Brendan Rodgers to acquire both Hughes and Iglesias?
Kyle Barraclough – RHP – Miami Marlins
He has a 1.32 ERA in 27.1 IP with a 0.88 WHIP in 28 games this season
The 28-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Marlins is under team control through 2022 and he is in the midst of his best campaign yet. Barraclough holds a 1.23 career WHIP in 190.1 innings pitched. This will most likely lead the Marlins to ask for a similar package to what we outlined for Kelvin Herrera.