From one of the worst bullpens in the MLB to one of the best, here's how the Colorado Rockies changed their bullpen for the better.
As of April 17, 2017, the Colorado Rockies are 9-5 and are in the top spot in the NL West Division. A big part of that success has been due to the talent in the bullpen. It's been a series of risky moves over last winter and during spring training inside the bullpen, but those risks seem to be paying off! The Rockies have turned one of the worst bullpens into one of the best in the National League.
The revamping of the Rockies' bullpen happened quickly, the change being the team's top priority during off-season. Within six weeks in December 2016 and January 2017, the Rockies signed on right-hander Greg Holland and left-hander Mike Dunn.
Greg Holland and Mike Dunn have been fabulous for the mentality of the bullpen. They have made a marked difference with the professionalism of that group. There's no doubt they have set the standard," - Bud Black, first-year Rockies manager Bud Black.
This time last year, the Rockies had two veteran free-agent relievers, Jason Motte and Chad Qualls. It was during the last week of spring training that they cut Motte, instead going with reliever Scott Oberg, who got the job during spring training. Qualls remains on the disabled list due to a forearm injury. The Rockies had also welcomed back Adam Ottavino and Jake McGee after both were lost to injuries.
The strength and effectiveness of the bullpen went through this season have changed drastically.
Last year, the Rockies' relief corps had the worst ERA (earned run average) in the entire MLB (5.13). This year, through 11 regular season games, the bullpen has a 2.20 ERA, which is the eighth-lowest in baseball, and has a major-league-best of 51 strikeouts.
Holland said he's feeling "comfortable about them taking care of the bullpen as a whole" in regards to Rockies management. "...there's a good defense and a good lineup. What else can you ask for as a pitcher?"
Mike Dunn and Jake McGee
Carlos Estevez and Scott Oberg
What do you think of the Rockies' bullpen? Will it stay this way throughout the remainder of the regular season? Is the strength behind the bullpen going to take the Rockies to the playoffs? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Featured photo courtesy of David Zalubowski (AP Photo).