Rockies’ bats making noise

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I’ve never been a fan of those MLB reports that come out in June, talking about the first-third of the baseball season being complete and “if the playoffs started today” analysis.

Yet here I am coming at you with a review of the first-third of this crazy, abbreviated season.

I know, how hypocritical of me.

Heading into Tuesday’s action, the Oakland Athletics were atop the American League West, the Miami Marlins overcame a delayed start due to coronavirus infections and are having an impact in the National League East, and the Colorado Rockies are surprising the field in the N.L. West.

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At the other end of the spectrum, the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals have been disappointing.

We’ve seen several dozen players/employees test positive for COVID-19, and the league scramble to address each scenario.

Outside of everything else, and the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers looking like they’re on a collision course for a Corona World Series (I’m openly lobbying for the Mexican brewery to sponsor this year’s Fall Classic), I’d say we’ve seen some surprisingly good young prospects and are watching some entertaining baseball.

Well, other than Dr. Anthony Fauci’s first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day.

But why is all this notable, and why aren’t I hypocritical in talking about the first-third of the season in August?

This is not a six-month campaign and certainly not a marathon. A sprint to the finish is what we’re looking at, and it may be impossible to come back from a dreadful start. It’s much different than being in last place after 54 games, with 108 to play, than it is after 20+ games and less than 40 to go.

After the first week of the season I wrote about the San Diego Padres, and how dangerous they can be. I’m not backing off that, as long as their pitching comes around, but out of nowhere are the Rockies, who had the league’s eighth-best ERA (3.92) and No. 1 offense (.272) on Tuesday.

Colorado is one of three teams that rank in the top 10 in ERA and batting average, along with the Yankees and Kansas City Royals. If you grab the average ranking for overall efficiency in two of the most important statistical departments in baseball, the Rockies would be the most efficient in baseball.

At No. 1 in batting average and No. 8 in ERA, the Rockies come out with an average efficiency of 4.5. The Yankees (3rd and 9th) produce an average score of 6, and the Royals (9th and 10th) average out at 9.5.

Balance could become an issue come October when you consider offensive numbers in baseball are down considerably.

After finishing with an overall average of .252 last season, the league was hitting a collective .241 through Monday’s games — fourth lowest in league history.

The last time the league finished with an average lower than that was 1968, when it hit .237. Before that, you’d have to go back to 1908, when the league finished with a .239 batting average and historically saw teams scoring the fewest runs per game ever, at 3.38.

So when you have a team like the Rockies performing well at the plate and from the mound, and you’re in a 60-game sprint, it’s important to compartmentalize specific statistics and to keep an eye on unassuming teams that often catch value.

Over their first 22 games, the Rockies were installed as an underdog 11 times and won eight of those games. They were 5-6 as the favorite heading into Tuesday’s matinee in Houston, where they caught a hefty price. For their efforts after a 13-9 start, the Rockies were +335 units.

Let’s keep an eye on things during the middle-third, as we’re bound to see more value with additional teams trying to join the sprint. Speaking of which, I’ve sprinted out to a 7-3 start with my complimentary winners and have three more for you this week.

Thursday

Astros at Rockies: Of course, I start the week in Denver after writing that column. The Astros hosted the first two of the four-game set; the Rockies host the latter two. Colorado is scheduled to start German Marquez and I am with him for the finale. ROCKIES

Brewers at Twins: I like the scheduled pitching matchup here, and think we’ll see value with Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff. He’s been better than Twins righty Jose Berrios, who has struggled to find his command. BREWERS

Diamondbacks at Athletics: Same philosophy as the Rockies play, as the D-backs and A’s opened a four-game set in Phoenix and finish in Oakland. The price could be cheap considering how Sean Manaea struggled to start the season. ATHLETICS

Last week: 2-1

Season: 7-3

About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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