Colorado Rockies Reshuffle Bullpen

by Matthew Roberts | Posted on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
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The Colorado Rockies reshuffled the back end of their bullpen today optioning Rex Brothers and purchasing the contract of Rafael Betancourt.

It was not long ago that Brothers electrified the back-end of the Rockies bullpen in 2013 appearing in 67.1 innings over 72 games with a 1.74 ERA and a beautiful 10.1 K/9. During that same year, Brothers filled in at closer following Betancourt’s elbow injury and converted 19 save opportunities to go with 12 holds. Brothers was not able to translate that success to 2014 where his strike out rate fell below 9.0 K/9 and his walk rate ballooned to an unseemly 6.2 BB/9. This all translated to a nearly unusable 5.59 ERA and 1.85 WHIP over 56.1 innings. The control issues have held over to this spring where Brothers sported an 8.22 ERA with six walks over 7.2 Cactus League innings prior to his demotion today.

In his place, the Rockies brought up 39 year old former closer Betancourt who missed all of 2014 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. In a clear reversal from Brothers’ performance this spring, Betancourt has demonstrated his full recovery by posting a 1.04 ERA and 10:1 K:BB ration over 8.2 Cactus League innings. As a former closer, Betancourt offers a veteran set-up presence to complement Adam Ottavino and an experienced option to back up equally ancient closer LaTroy Hawkins

Even with top prospect Jon Gray possibly breaking camp in the rotation, and breakout candidate Tyler Matzek already securing a spot int he rotation, the Rockies figure to sport one of the very worst pitching staffs in the National League. However, when healthy, the Rockies also potentially sport one of the very best offenses in the National League with Troy TulowitzkiCarlos GonzalezNolan Arenado, and Corey Dickerson anchoring the lineup. This contrast sets the stage for a lot of high scoring but close contests where the Rockies’ bullpen will likely be a very important cog in the Rockies’ plans to win games this year, especially early on in the season before potential injuries mount. By sending down Brothers during the spring, the Rockies’ front office is doing their best to set the stage for a surprising early run. That’s really all a Rockies fan can ask for to start the season in a year where so many predict them to finish in the cellar.

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Matthew Roberts
About the Author

Matthew cut his teeth on baseball during $2 Bleacher Wednesdays at the old Arlington Stadium in the 1980's and has loved the Texas Rangers ever since. When he's not teaching his young son to throw a wicked circle change, he enjoys the six month friendly rivalry with his wife and her precious Oakland A's. Follow him on Twitter @ifithasballs.

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