Colorado Rockies Could Have Strong Bullpen in 2016


The Colorado Rockies had one of the worst bullpens in 2015, but 2016 looks to be a different story for the rebuilding team.

The Colorado Rockies finished the 2015 season with the worst record in the Nation League in large part due to their terrible starting pitching and bullpen. To the Rockies’ credit, numerous players in the pen went down with injuries, most notably Adam Ottavino. Ottavino succumbed to Tommy John surgery early last season, and he may miss the entirety of the 2016 season. Despite the loss of Ottavino, the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen may not suffer next season.

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While the Colorado Rockies’ starting pitching is still a work in progress, their bullpen looks to be ahead in the rebuilding process. Two names that jump out are Jairo Diaz and Miguel Castro. The Colorado Rockies acquired Diaz in a trade that sent Josh Rutledge to the Los Angeles Angels, and the Toronto Blue Jays traded Miguel Castro in the blockbuster deal for Troy Tulowitzki. Both Diaz (24) and Castro (20) are young and upcoming flamethrowers that project to be late inning pitchers down the road. 

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For the most part, in 2015, John Axford served as the Colorado Rockies’ closer, but he struggled for the most part in the high-leverage situation. After the Rockies acquired Castro, they developed him specifically as a relief pitcher in their farm system. Castro began the 2015 season as the Blue Jays’ closer; however, inconsistent performances led to him being sent back down to the minors to work on his craft. At age 20, with MLB experience, he presents a nice addition to a weak Rockies bullpen looking to rebound after a poor 2015 season.

In addition to Castro, Jairo Diaz looks to be a potential setup man in the future for the Colorado Rockies. Diaz throws in the high 90s and is comparable to Kelvin Herrera; however, Diaz must work on his command if he wants to perform like Herrera. Miguel Castro looks to be the closer of the future for the Rockies. He throws in the high 90s with good secondary offerings to keep hitters off balance. Like Diaz, Castro needs to work on his command, but if he improves, he can be one of the best closers in the game. At age 20, he has time on his side. 

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Jairo Diaz and Miguel Castro offer a nice one-two punch at the back-end of the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen. Both Diaz and Castro have MLB experience; however, only Castro pitched for the Rockies thus far. With Axford in the twilight of his career, the Rockies need to appoint Castro to the closer role, because he has better stuff and would gain valuable experience in a high-leverage situation moving forward.

The Colorado Rockies have solid pitchers besides Castro and Diaz, but the aforementioned pitchers present the most upside out of any of the relievers on their 40-man roster. If Castro and Diaz can take hold of the last two innings day-in, day-out, this gives the Colorado Rockies the opportunity to play the matchup game leading up to the eighth inning. With Scott Oberg, John Axford, and Christian Bergman as the right handers on the roster, they present viable options out of the pen. Also, the Rockies have Rex Brothers and Boone Logan from the left side.

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With a nice mix of right and left-handed relief pitchers, this gives Walt Weiss the chance to play matchups leading up to the eighth inning, if Diaz and Castro can hold down the fort. The Colorado Rockies’ bullpen remains contingent on whether or not Jairo Diaz and Miguel Castro develop into the relief pitchers they envision, but if they do, the Rockies just need starting pitching in order to be a contender in the National League West. The N.L. West is up for the taking, but the Rockies need an active offseason to be in the running, which is normally not the case.