Colorado Rockies News: NL West: A Tale of Five Managers
- Gabe Kapler of the Giants has practically consolidated his status as NL manager of the year.
- Dave Roberts of the Dodgers has proven once again that he can field a contender, this time around a series of serious injuries and inactive.
- Bud Black of the Rockies led a team to a winning tally far in excess of preseason projections.
- Torey Lovullo of the Diamondbacks was forced to lead a team through the National League’s worst record.
- The Padres’ Jayce Tingler reportedly told his pitching coach to come out last week.
There has been an absolute world of situations in western Newfoundland and Labrador. Some managers may be sitting in varying degrees on warm seats, while others will soon know how to carry their successes into the modern playoffs or into a restructured front office.
Analyzing managerial success: the partial checklist
For the remainder of this article, this image will be referred to as “the graph”.
Gabe Kapler and Dave Roberts have created their own job security
In March, the 2021 Giants were scheduled to finish six games below 0.500. They now hold the best baseball record, and Kapler’s job is much safer than it was in Philadelphia where he was fired about 26 months ago.
The graph doesn’t highlight the challenges Dave Roberts faced, as a string of serious injuries and a starter on leave caused continued pressure on his roster card. Despite the inherent challenge, the Dodgers are still on track to make their ninth straight playoff appearance, and Roberts has been creative when it comes to shaking his roster. He figured out how to ease the workload on Mookie Betts, and the outfielder even took reps at second base.
It’s safe to say that Kapler and Roberts won’t have to deal with their in-game work for a while.
Ahead of Friday’s game in Los Angeles, Bud Black spoke about the strategies Roberts and Kapler have capitalized on this year. “I think in general Kapler gives his starting pitchers a bit more room, keeping them in the game longer.” Black has said he believes Kapler has adopted the strategy a bit more than his previous time with the Phillies, but the Giants skipper will still line up for right-left action similar to Roberts and the Dodgers.
“I think Dave has done a great job over the years learning to manage [his] pitching staff, ”Black said. He highlighted the strengths of former Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and how a solid foundation was laid for Roberts and new pitching coach Mark Prior.
Toss in a handful of inactive starters for parts of 2021 (Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer), and Roberts and Prior were forced to lean on a base to perform their pitching moves. They’re looking at how to develop a playoff-ready reliever box at the same time.
Bud Black could have job security in his hands
The graph says little about the Rockies’ managerial impact early in the season with a playoff percentage that doesn’t need to be repeated. So that doesn’t show the solid work Bud Black seems to have done this year, but it shouldn’t go without warning.
Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA preseason screenings saw the Rockies end this season with a 60-102 record, the worst mark in franchise history. Rather, Colorado is close to finishing with 74 wins, which suggests that Bud Black’s managerial presence has had a direct impact.
He is predeceased by Walt Weiss and Tim Tracy, two managers who are said to have left the team on their own terms. Weiss and Tracy both cited their own unique words of “poor working relationship with the front office” as the reason for their resignations. The Rockies will announce a full-time GM soon, but a better-than-expected winning tally by the Rockies this year suggests a new GM won’t part ways with the field manager – unless Black calls him- same.
Torey Lovullo’s team had a slow ending
Torey Lovullo was forced to support through his front office the sale of some of his best players by the trade deadline. After bringing Starling Marte to Phoenix last year, the Arizona front office suggested Lovullo was the guy to lead a race in October. The D-Backs instead fired their punching coaches in early June, which sparked new speculation over Lovullo’s job security.
Lovullo’s harness could cool down, however. He is currently fifth on the list of managers who will be the first to be fired, by BetOnline (and highlighted by AZ Central). His chances in the preseason were double his current mark.
Jayce Tingler has the coins, but not the wins
Blake Snell and Yu Darvish made it to San Diego this winter, and yet the Padres have always struggled with the starting pitcher’s depth. They lost the Max Scherzer’s draw despite the team’s seemingly endless wallet, and they’re now losing their postseason dreams after once putting the baseball world on high alert.
Tingler now has a better chance than Lovullo to be fired first. The graph above can serve as a direct indicator as to why, and the Padres’ front office might show more tenacity in the pursuit of a “win now” accomplishment. This could come at the expense of Tingler’s work.
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Rockies Insider: Analyzing Colorado’s Notable Prospects In Rookie Ball As Arizona’s Complex League Season Draws To A End | The Denver Post ($)
As the Arizona Complex League schedule draws to a close, Kyle Newman highlights the dominating performance of Adael Amador, Benny Montgomery, Yorvis Torrealba (Yorvit’s son) and Luis Amoroso. Third baseman Warming Bernabel was billed as the team’s best offensive player and was called up to Low-A Fresno earlier this month.
Breaking the Race NL Cy Young Award | MLB.com
MLB.com Paul Casella identifies the top four in the NL Cy Young race: Walker Buehler, Zack Wheeler, Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. The Rockies could avoid all four of them until the end of the year, but they could face Wheeler in Philadelphia from September 10-12. The Giants’ Kevin Gausman is also in the running, and the Rockies face San Francisco six times in September.
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At the farm:
Triple A: Round Rock Express 5, Albuquerque Isotopes 1
Albuquerque and Round Rock played a seven-inning game on Saturday, and Ryan Rolison returned to Triple-A after being sidelined in early June with appendicitis. Rolison allowed Round Rock’s five runs in five innings and allowed three homers.
Double A: Harrisburg Senators 7, Hartford Yard Goats 2
Hartford had eight hits to Harrisburg’s nine, but the points total painted a much different story. Willie MacIver walked away, however, going 4 for 4 and creating much needed momentum in Double-A. (He currently holds a .157 GPA with Hartford.)
Top-A: Double header
Spokane left Everett AquaSox in eighth, thanks to an RBI single from Niko Decolati. Peter Lambert returned to the mound for Spokane, throwing two frames but allowing two runs, both through solo homers.
Spokane opened Game 2 with three unanswered runs, and a three RBI performance by Decolati capped a solid day at home. Finn Del Bonta-Smith pitched the final frame for Spokane and recorded his first save of the year while keeping his ERA in both.
Bottom-A: Modesto Nuts 4, Fresno Grizzlies 1
A two-run second inning was all the Nuts needed to win this one. Fresno ended the night with just four hits, but one came from Zac Veen as he maintains his OPS in the .900.