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Marvin Freeman Jersey

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The Braves are remembered for playing some great baseball in the early 1990’s but they also had a good time in the clubhouse and one of the ringleaders was reliever Marvin Freeman.

A skinny 6-foot-7, “Starvin Marvin’’ Freeman loosened everyone up, though he admits he couldn’t top teammate Greg Maddux, whose humor stretched the boundaries, sometime beyond the discretion of a family newspaper. Freeman, though, willingly admits he could almost be as crude as the Hall of Fame pitcher.

“He,’’ Freeman said, “did something that I still love to talk about today.’’

Freeman, always a popular figure from an early age, was born in Chicago. He played at Chicago Vocational High School, where as the team’s No. 1 starter he helped lead a turnaround that saw the program go from 3-20 to 60-3 in his last three seasons. In 1981, he was drafted in the ninth round by Montreal but opted instead to go to Jackson State University.

After three seasons, he was selected in the second round of the 1984 draft by Philadelphia. The Phillies had just used their first-round pick that day on pitcher Pete Smith, who would also end up on the same staff in Atlanta.

It took Freeman 2 1/2 years to reach the majors, called up to the major league club for the last two weeks of the 1986 season. In his second major league start, Freeman beat the Mets on the same day his daughter was born back in Chicago.

But he wouldn’t stick with Philadelphia, bouncing between the minors and majors before pitching a no-hitter for the Triple-A Maine club in 1990 against the Richmond Braves.

A few days later, the Braves traded reliever Joe Boever for Freeman and he finished the season in Atlanta, appearing in nine games as a reliever and allowing just three runs in 15 2/3 innings.

In the worst-to-first season of 1991, Freeman was hurt late in the year, but not before he became a big part of the Braves bullpen, appearing in 34 games (2.92 ERA). Going to the bullpen and pitching more frequently, Freeman began experiencing arm and elbow problems. He appeared in 58 games in 1992 before struggling in three postseason appearances. In 1993, he dropped to only 21 games, was released and was picked up by Colorado.

Badly needing pitching help in a hitters’ ballpark, Freeman was a godsend for the Rockies, going 10-2 in the strike-shortened season of 1994. He was also was on the mound for the Rockies’ first-ever win over the Braves, breaking a 16-game losing streak and beating Tom Glavine. His 2.80 ERA still stands as a Colorado season record today.

But a bad elbow bothered Freeman in 1995. He registered a 8.53 ERA in the first month and he finished the season on the disabled list. The next season wasn’t much better. He went 6-4 in the first half of the season and made headlines late in the year with a stunt he pulled on controversial radio host Jim Rome. By August, he was placed on waivers, picked up by the Chicago White Sox and made just one start.

He tried to come back the next season with Toronto and broke camp with Class AAA team, making only one start before retiring. He came out of retirement a few months later with Toronto but lasted only a few weeks before calling it quits for good.

Freeman appeared in 221 major league games (78 starts), going 35-28 with a 4.46 ERA. He finished with 383 strikeouts in 593 2/3 innings.

After baseball, he went into high school coaching where he eventually coached his son, who is playing at Southern University.

Where he lives: Freeman, 53, lives outside Chicago in Olympic Fields with his wive of 32 years, Arnetta. They have two children, daughter Paris and son Justin.

What he does: Freeman has a sports academy where he tutors young pitchers. He is also pitching coordinator for the Chicago White Sox Charities which sponsors teams from ages 12 to 17. He calls himself a pitching coach mercenary.

On going to college instead of straight to pro baseball: “I wasn’t ready at 18. I hadn’t been out of Chicago except for a few family vacations down South. I needed to get that home sickness out of me, which I did in college. I will say it was nice leaving college and going to the pros as far as the umpiring. There was so much home cooking by the umpires in college and that makes a big difference for a pitcher.’’

On being traded to the Braves: “I think they wanted to get rid of Boever and I was going up and down from the minors to the majors. So I think it worked out good for both of us. I had just pitched a no-hitter against Richmond and I think the Braves saw something in me.’’

On the nickname “Starving Marvin”: “When I was coming out of Jackson State, one of the scouts saw me and said I had a great arm but it looked like I was starving. I think there was a chain of “Starving Marvin’s’’ up there and the nickname just stuck.’’

On his first two seasons in Atlanta: “When I got off the plane, I knew there was sunshine in baseball. They told me I was going to be relieving, so I knew what I was going to do on a consistent basis. I remember being there early in 1991 and there wasn’t a lot of people in the stands and Terry Pendleton telling all of us we had to win and they would come and they sure did. I had back surgery at the end of 1991, so I couldn’t pitch in the playoffs but it was a ton of fun.’’

On his arm troubles in 1993: “I struggled but what I like to remember is going to Chicago and all my relatives were there and my aunts came from Michigan and I pitched six scoreless innings. Then I was left off the postseason roster so (a TV station) gave me a camera and mic and I became a reporter and did what you do.’’

On his success in Colorado in 1994: “I tried to take everything I learned from Greg Maddux to Colorado and be a carbon copy of him. I would say it worked and I think my ERA still stands as a record there.’’

On the Jim Rome episode in 1996: “I had just had a bad game against the Padres the day before and he was doing his show in the right field bleachers and I was running in the outfield. The Padres fans were yelling ‘cheaters,’ which had something to do with the fact that our guys had hit a lot of homers in our park in Colorado because of the altitude. So they invited me to come up and be on the show and to get me to say some bad things about the Rockies. I always say Rome was an instigator and when I went on the show, I started crying which Brad Clontz did a great job of when he was with the Braves. I think I just dropped the mic, took my headphones off and left. I had gotten the final word.’’

On being a clubhouse funnyman: “I just wanted everyone to relax in the clubhouse. That was what it was all about. There is a lot of pressure on the field and you have to find a way to relieve some of it. We certainly did that in Atlanta.”

James Pazos Jersey

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Believe it or not, James Pazos is the last left-handed pitcher you’re going to see on this list, despite the fact that he made his Rockies debut on September 1.

Pazos had just a month with the Rockies, but it was quite the productive one. He made 12 appearances, allowing just two runs on seven hits in 10 1⁄3 innings with four walks and 10 strikeouts. The only home run he allowed was a two-out solo shot to Corey Seager on September 22.

The Rockies acquired Pazos in a trade with the Phillies on April 26, sending minor league outfielder Hunter Stovall back to Philly.

Pazos did not make a big league appearance with the Phillies, but posted a 3.39 ERA with the Mariners in 2017 and 2018, striking out 110 in 103 2⁄3 innings, so he had a proven track record in the majors. Despite this, the Rockies acquired him and sent him to Triple-A Albuquerque for four months.

That decision seems even more odd when you consider that the Rockies carried just one southpaw in their bullpen for a large part of 2019, and that was Jake McGee, who clearly did not have the trust of manager Bud Black. The average Leverage Index of McGee’s 45 appearances this season was just 0.63, the third-lowest on the roster, ahead of Yency Almonte and Jesus Tinoco. By contrast, Pazos’ average Leverage Index was 0.84.

What likely led the Rockies to not call up Pazos was his performance, or lack thereof, in Albuqueque. He made 39 appearances with the Isotopes, posting an 8.80 ERA and 2.09 WHIP in 44 innings, walking 23 and striking out 42. Yes, the walks would be concerning but I would but a pair of caveats on the overall numbers:

It’s Albuquerque, and using that juiced Triple-A baseball at 7,000 feet is not conducive to putting up good pitching stats. As a team this year, the Isotopes posted an ERA of 6.38, so numbers for any of their pitchers should be taken with a grain of salt.
The luck dragons were not exactly on Pazos’ side during his time with the ‘Topes. Opposing hitters had a BABIP of .424 against him, and he managed to strand just 59.2% of baserunners in Triple-A in 2019. Those numbers regressed in a big way with the Rockies, to .250 and 93.8%.

A solid, proven lefty out of the bullpen is something the Rockies seemed to be lacking all season, especially during their downward spiral in July and August, during which McGee had a 6.75 ERA and 1.75 WHIP.

Why the Rockies didn’t give Pazos a chance before rosters expanded in 2019 may remain a mystery, but they would be wise to learn from that mistake and give him a real shot at the Opening Day roster in 2020.

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The Tennessee baseball program announced that former Tennessee All-American and Major League Baseball veteran Todd Helton would join the baseball staff as the director of player development on January 27, 2017.

In his new volunteer role, Helton is responsible for maintaining alumni relations, assisting with on-campus recruiting, collaborating with UT’s coaching staff and helping Tennessee’s current players make informed decisions about pursuing professional baseball careers.

“After spending three years at Tennessee and 17 years in the Major Leagues with the Colorado Rockies, I really wanted to give back to this program any way that I can,” Helton said.

Helton spent 17 years with the Colorado Rockies organization and as the club’s longest-tenured player, he was a five-time All-Star, four-time Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winner and three-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner.

At the time of his retirement in 2013, Helton held Rockies career records for games played (2,247), runs (1,401), hits (2,519), doubles (592), home runs (369), RBI (1,406), walks (1,335) and extra-base hits (998). He also ranked 16th all-time among Major League players in doubles (592), 19th in OPS (.953), 35th in walks (1,335) and 37th in extra-base hits (998). On Aug. 7, 2014, Helton became the first player in Rockies history to have his jersey No. 17 retired at Coors Field.

In 1995, Helton was selected in the first round (eighth overall) of the First-Year Player Draft out of Tennessee and went on to make his Major League debut just two years later on Aug. 2, 1997. During his first professional season in 1996, he combined to hit .336 with 131 hits, nine homers and 64 RBI over 114 games between Double A New Haven and Triple A Colorado Springs.

As a junior with the Tennessee Volunteers in 1995, Helton hit at a .407 clip while leading the league in home runs (20), RBI (92), runs (86), doubles (27), hits (105), walks (61), slugging percentage (.775) and on-base percentage (.522). He also led the conference with a 1.66 ERA while compiling an 8-2 record with 12 saves.

The 1995 National Collegiate Player of the Year received the Dick Howser Award from USA Today/Baseball Weekly, Baseball America’s National Player of the Year Award, Collegiate Baseball’s Co-National Player of the Year and the Southeastern Conference’s Male Athlete of the Year Award that season. By doing so, he became just the second baseball player to receive the SEC award, while the two-time First Team All-American was also a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award in 1995.

Helton was a consensus Freshman All-American, First Team All-SEC and Third Team All-American in 1993. The honors continued to roll in 1994 as he earned All-America honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

The Tennessee native helped guide the Vols to three straight NCAA Regional appearances, including a third-place finish at the 1995 College World Series. He was twice named to the NCAA All-Tournament team and earned a complete-game pitching victory over Clemson in the first round of the College World Series. Helton holds numerous school hitting records and the SEC’s mark for consecutive scoreless innings pitched with 47.2 in 1994.

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Keynote speaker Jason Jennings is a researcher and one of the most successful and prolific business and leadership authors in the world. He’s an authority on leadership, growth and innovation and he loves to tell a good story. USA TODAY calls Jennings one of the three most in-demand business speakers on the planet. Jason made the Global Guru list for 2018 and ranked number 15 in the whole world, and he was one out of five to receive 5 stars for being inspirational.

Authority on Leadership, Growth and Innovation

Jason Jennings is a researcher and one of the most successful and prolific business and leadership authors in the world and his greatest thrill is helping lead individuals and companies to their full economic potential.

He began his career as a radio and television reporter and was the youngest radio station group owner in the nation. Later, he founded Jennings-McGlothlin & Company, a consulting firm that became the world’s largest media consultancy and his legendary programming and sales strategies are credited with revolutionizing many parts of the broadcasting industry.

He traveled the globe in search of the world’s fastest companies for his landmark book, It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small – It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow. Within weeks of its release it hit the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and New York Times Bestsellers Lists. Now published in 32 languages, USA TODAY named it one of the top 25 books of the year!

Next, he and his research teams identified the world’s ten most productive companies for his bestseller Less Is More. That was followed by his next book, Think BIG – Act Small, which profiled the only ten companies in the world to have organically grown both revenues and profits by double digits every year for ten consecutive years. Like all his previous books it debuted on all the bestseller charts, his book, Hit the Ground Running – A Manual for Leaders reveals the tactics and strategies of the ten CEO’s who created the greatest amount of economic value between 2000 and 2009. Jason the followed it the New York Times bestseller, The Reinventors – How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change, revealing the secret of those leaders and organisations that have successfully reinvented and transformed. His latest book for his publish Penguin Random House is The High Speed Company – Creating Urgency and Growth in a Nanosecond Culture.

Along the way he found time to join forces with well known cardiologist Dr. John Kennedy and coauthor the 2010 Health, Mind and Body bestseller, The 15 Minute Heart Cure –The Natural Way to Release Stress and Heal Your Heart in Fifteen minutes a Day.

Critics call his books, “extraordinarily well researched, insightful, crisply written, accessible, intriguing and a vital resource for everyone in business,” and USA TODAY calls Jennings one of the three most in-demand business speakers on the planet along with the authors of Good to Great and In Search of Excellence.

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Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

Back in July, I accepted a ride for a man named Alex in the players’ lot at the Denver Chophouse. It was my first time as an Uber driver picking up someone from “the player’s lot.” The thought immediately crossed my mind that I could be picking up a player. But Alex? I thought through a list of Giants’ players, who were in town at the time, because I was fairly confident the Rockies didn’t have an Alex. None came to mind. The tall, filled-out man who stood at the gate, though, was definitely a baseball player. I popped the trunk to accommodate a duffle bag large enough to carry a full-grown human, and racked my brain.

As soon as I found out the ride would be about three blocks—just down to Union Station—I went for it.

“Are you a player?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I play for the Rockies.”

I stammered around trying to come up with a response. “Oh, awesome …” I said. “I follow the Rockies really closely. I do some writing for a Rockies’ site, actually…” As I trailed off, he must’ve picked up on the fact that I had no clue who he was.

Politely, he replied, “You might know me as Chi Chi.”

I did know that name! It’s a hard one to forget, and I had just watched him pitch the day before in a double-header. I also knew that he had just been sent back to the minors. I did not, however, know anything about him other than that he had been waived by his former team (the Rangers), picked up by the Rockies, and called up just to make a couple spot starts.

What I learned in that short Uber ride is that Alex (Chi Chi) Gonzalez is a class act—a positive, charming person who made a lasting impression on me in a very short time. I became a big Alex fan.

For some time, though, it seemed like I might have to root for Alex from afar. “Freeland will be back soon,” he assured me. “He’s too good.” This would mean no roster spot for my new rooting interest unless the Rockies faced even more rotation issues. This, of course, was out of the question to the me-in-July who was still entertaining illusions of a 90-win season. As we all know now, 90 wins certainly did not happen. More rotation issues did, however, and Alex made it back to the big leagues.

And he may just have done enough to stay there.

It wasn’t all positive for the 27-year-old. On the season, he was 2-6 with a 5.29 ERA in 14 games. But Chi Chi was one of the few bright spots for the Rockies during a tough September. He pitched in five games, facing off against the Dodgers twice, the Cardinals, and the Brewers. Stiff competition, to be sure. During this stretch, he pitched probably the best that he has in his major league career, going 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and an incredible 1.01 WHIP. The 0.6 WAR that earned him 13th place in Ranking the Rockies come mostly from that dominant stretch of games.

After the release of Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, it’s unclear who will make up the backend of the rotation. If Kyle Freeland can’t recover from his disastrous 2019, there could be three spots open in Spring Training after German Marquez and Jon Gray. Peter Lambert can maybe be penciled in, but he may have a short leash. The Rockies also have some incentive to work Alex into the mix.

The Rockies desperately need more depth in their starting rotation and long relief. They may have found a stable, likable option in Chi Chi Gonzalez. I know I’m rooting for him.

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The Braves were in a bind following the 1992 season, one in which they lost the World Series to the Blue Jays in six games. Atlanta was so well stocked with talent and protecting just 40 players for the pending expansion draft was difficult.

The final protected spot reportedly came down to outfielder Deion Sanders, who was splitting time between playing for Atlanta’s major league baseball and football teams and had just completed his best full season in the big leagues, or righthander David Nied, a September callup and the Braves’ top pitching prospect.

“I kind of felt I was going to be protected,” Nied said. “There were a lot of rumors, and I don’t know what was right or what was wrong. I heard that (Braves owner) Ted Turner saw that Deion wasn’t on the protected list and he said, ‘We’ve got to protect him and somebody’s got to come off.’ ”

That somebody was Nied, whose subsequent five-year big league career left him pondering the age-old question: “What if?” What if Nied had been protected and joined an Atlanta rotation that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery? What if Nied did not have to pitch in Denver’s hitter-friendly altitude?

Nied, the No. 23 prospect in the game at the time, was the first selection in the expansion draft by the Rockies, who along with the Marlins began their existences in 1993.

Nied immediately became the face of the Rockies franchise. He threw the first pitch in franchise history, going five innings and allowing two runs, a performance that was no match for Dwight Gooden’s four-hit shutout for the Mets.

Then Nied learned firsthand the perils of pitching at Mile High Stadium, the Rockies’ initial home before moving into Coors Field in 1995. He was somewhat of a lab rat as pitchers and hitters quickly recognized that the ball traveled differently at that altitude—much differently—and pitchers found it more difficult to spin breaking balls.

Nied won nine of his 22 starts for Colorado and ultimately went 17-18, 5.06 in 52 career games.

“The inability to throw certain pitches and miss the sweet part of the bat,” Nied said in summary of his big league career. “My slider wouldn’t break as hard or sharp. My fastball didn’t run in (on batters) as much . . . They could get on my slider and my fastball a little bit quicker.”

Only after he left baseball following the 1996 season has Nied begun to appreciate the marks he left on the Rockies franchise. He recorded the first strikeout in club history, first walk, first complete game and first complete game shutout.

These days, the 49-year-old Nied works for his father’s Cylinder Heads International business near Dallas. He is married with four children, the younger two of whom are participating this summer at the coach-pitch level of youth baseball with dad as their pitcher.

“There might not be as much (pressure in coach pitch), but you feel every parents’ eyes are on your every pitch to make sure it’s a good pitch,” Nied said. “And you know who’s going to get the blame if it’s not a good pitch.”

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The day of Friday’s El Trafico began on a sour note with word that the hiring of new academy director Juan Carlos Ortega was coinciding with the departure of LA Galaxy II manager Mike Munoz and his technical staff. Indeed, Munoz along with assistants Laurent Courtois, Jamie Harvey and Andrew May were let go.

At one time the academy director for the Galaxy, Munoz was thrust into the head coaching role in 2017 when Curt Onalfo was promoted to the senior squad.

Before leaving for good, Munoz left a brief message on his Instagram page.

After 7 years at the LA Galaxy Academy and LA Galaxy II, it is time to part ways and begin the next phase of my career. I couldn’t be more proud of everything we accomplished and produced in our Youth Development Project.

Our staff from the Academy to G2, put so much into helping our young men accomplish and realize their dreams at the highest level domestically, internationally and collegiately.

Those have been the proudest moments of my coaching career and I want to thank everyone from the organization, my staff and most importantly my family for supporting me in my dreams.

With a USSF coaching license in tow, it will be interesting to see where Munoz ends up next.

Good luck Mike! And take care.

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Jesus Tinoco’s position as the third piece of the return in the 2015 Troy Tulowitzki trade over three years ago is still, for many PuRPs voters, the defining facet of his prospect status. For others, it was Tinoco’s 40 man roster appointment after the 2017 season or his Futures Game nod during 2018. Whatever the reason, the Venezuelan righty is a player who PuRPs voters have been watching for quite some time.

That’s not to say it’s been a smooth ride for Tinoco. After a lights-out performance post-trade with Asheville in 2015, Tinoco struggled mightily in a 2016 High A stint and also in a return trip to Asheville after he was demoted. The 6’4” hurler lost his mechanics and was completely out of whack to the point that the Rockies left him unprotected from the Rule 5 draft. After going un-selected, Tinoco re-dedicated himself to rebuilding his delivery and found success in a return engagement to High A in 2017 to the point where the Rockies felt he was worthy of a 40 man slot at the end of the year. Indeed, from August on, Tinoco had a 3.03 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 38 2⁄3 innings.

In 2018, Tinoco finally got the bump up to Double-A, where he was 1.4 years younger on average than hitters in the Eastern League. Tinoco made 26 starts with Hartford, amassing 141 innings while compiling 132 strikeouts (8.4 K/9) against 38 walks (2.4 BB/9), both significant improvements over the prior year. Moreover, while Tinoco’s 4.79 ERA hardly stands out, his 3.78 xFIP indicates that he was a bit unfortunate to receive the results he did at the level. As he did in 2017, Tinoco finished strong with a 2.95 ERA over 7 starts and 36 IP in August and September, striking out 36 while walking just 8 in the process.

Tinoco followed up his Double-A campaign with a stint in the elite Arizona Fall League. In the AFL, he pitched in a relief role, adding 15 2⁄3 frames in 10 appearances. Tinoco struck out 14 against 6 walks en route to a 1.72 ERA and 1.09 WHIP to put a coda on his 2018 campaign.

Here’s some video of Tinoco from the AFL courtesy of 2080 Baseball:

Accompanying the above video is this report on Tinoco by 2080’s Adam McInturff. The report is well worth reading in its entirety as it provides a wide variety of nuggets on each of Tinoco’s offerings (he’s more negative on the curveball than I’ve seen elsewhere) and other relevant traits, but here’s the conclusion:

Physical power arm, chance to miss bats w/ FB and SL in short stints. He will get chances to develop as a SP, but don’t see delivery or approach holding up in rotation. Raw stuff fits better in the ‘pen for me, ceiling of a setup reliever if he takes to a late-innings role.

For additional video and a scouting report on Tinoco from 2017, Bobby DeMuro of Baseball Census has you covered. Here’s his conclusion from that time:

Hittable now with an average slider and a below average changeup, I don’t think there’s a significant long-term projection in keeping Tinoco in the starting rotation. Sure, at his age, he may be best served starting games the rest of this year—and maybe ever next year, too—but down the line he ought to be ticketed for the bullpen. His arm strength is far better now compared to early last year, though, and if he eventually starts seeing time in shorter stints, that will play up his velocity on both the fastball and slider. It’s easy to imagine him a middle reliever with an outside shot at being a set-up man if he can eventually add a tick to his velocity out of the ‘pen and work in the mid-90s with an upper 80s slider.

Tinoco didn’t make the FanGraphs top Rockies prospect list back in May 2018, but Eric Longenhagen had this blurb on him in July 2018:

Tinoco didn’t make the Rockies’ offseason list, as I thought he had an outside shot to be a reliever but little more. His strikeout rate is way up. He still projects in the bullpen, sitting 93-95 with extreme fastball plane that also adds artificial depth to an otherwise fringe curveball.

Tinoco currently ranks 20th in the system according to MLB.com:

Tinoco’s best pitch is his fastball that usually ranges from 93-95 mph and tops out at 97 with sink. He has a pair of power breaking balls, with his curveball and slider both plus pitches at their best but also inconsistent. He’s making strides with his changeup though it still ranks as his fourth-best pitch.

Tinoco’s downturn came when his delivery became too violent, causing him to fall off toward first base and lose any semblance of command. He has cleaned up his mechanics, taking a more direct route to the plate and doing a better job of locating his pitches. Though the Rockies will continue to develop him as a starter, he could have success as a late-inning reliever with a power arsenal.

Highlighting the above evaluation is the 60 fastball grade, paired with 55 grades on his slider and curveball. That’s already a strong start on a great relief profile, but if Tinoco can improve the changeup and control he’d be a viable starter (and thus more valuable), which separates the 23-year old from most of the other comparable relief arms you’ve seen so far in the PuRPs list. If he’s a reliever (and the scouts seem overwhelmingly to think that’s what he’ll be), Tinoco doesn’t have the pure standout fastball of some of his competitors, but his strong secondary offerings make him a tough opponent for opposing hitters, perhaps in a multi-inning role.

In the crowded field of potential starters in or near the Colorado rotation, Tinoco falls near the bottom at present. His 40 man roster spot makes a call-up an easy procedural move, but Tinoco is still on the fringes of that picture and a candidate for DFA should a better option come along. On the reliever front, Tinoco faces a similarly daunting slate of challengers for bullpen spots but also is a more competitive candidate in that arena. His option clock is now ticking, which will increase Colorado’s urgency to see what they have in Tinoco against more advanced competition, likely Triple-A to begin the year with a cup of coffee with the Rockies possible later in 2019. In the end, the stuff, potential rotation utility, and proximity led me to rank Tinoco 13th in the system with a 40 Future Value grade.

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I have saved an article from MLB.com for a few days now, waiting until the dust from the end of the regular season settled and well after the Colorado Rockies held their much-discussed end of the season press gathering.
That article, which you can see by clicking here, picked five teams which the author felt “seem the most poised to take a step forward in 2020 — the ones you feel like are building toward something better.” That list did not include the Colorado Rockies.

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Curt Schilling is the pitching coach the Red Sox need
going forward

Rather than the Rockies, the author picked the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels as the five teams who finished below .500 in 2019 but could also make that “step forward” in 2020.

What to expect from the Rockies’ bullpen in 2020. Is there any room for change? | The Athletic ($)

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The answers Nick Groke offers are “the same” and “no, probably not.” He takes a look at the bullpen at the start and end of the 2019 season, as well as salary obligations for next season, and concludes that there won’t be a bullpen makeover.

We sort of already knew that. But Groke also has something new here, and it has to do with who will close games for the Rockies. In August, Davis was finally, mercifully, removed from the closer role in favor of Scott Oberg. But Bud Black, according to Groke, “went out of his way to avoid saying the change was permanent. And Davis may very well start 2020 as Colorado’s closer again.”

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Honestly, I don’t put to much stock in who the closer is and focus more on getting the best pitchers in the game in the highest leverage situations. Ninth innings have a lot of high leverage situations though, and Davis should probably be a middle innings or mop up guy until he can prove that he’s rediscovered what once made him one of the best relievers in the game.

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DNVR Exclusive: This new app will change the way you watch baseball | DNVR

In this free story from DNVR, Drew Creasman talks to the developer for a new app called UmpScores. The app tracks balls and strikes for major league umpires, with a big emphasis on highlighting all of the calls that they get wrong. It can be seen as part of a larger argument in favor of roboumps. It’s something that exists in the hopes that it will soon be made irrelevant. That, at least, is the only reason I can think of for wanting to put every pitch under the microscope and placing it on the good or bad side of a ledger.

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I may be in the minority, but I don’t want roboumps. I don’t think the current system for calling balls and strikes is broken, and I don’t think roboumps will improve the game. I also take a lesson from instant replay. I was a proponent of it at the time, but then it led to unexpected consequences. The most egregious one being when a player slides to the bag, comes off it for a second, all the while the fielder — in an entirely unaesthetic action new to the game — follows him with his glove somewhere on his body to maybe get a technical out. It introduced outs that wouldn’t have been outs previous to the introduction of instant replay. On the whole, I think instant replay’s a net negative, and I think I’d feel the same way about roboumps. I’d rather take a few missed strike zone calls in stride and pay more attention to the big picture.

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The author did start his article with an interesting point, pointing out that only three teams (the Minnesota Twins, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies) finished the 2018 season under .500 but rebounded in 2019 to finish at .500 (we’re looking at you, Philly) or better.

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Additionally, the author points out that, since the start of the 2015 season, nine teams have finished the previous season below .500 and bounced back to make the postseason the following season. That includes the 2017 Rockies as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, who topped Colorado in the National League Wild Card Game that season).

After reading the article, I began looking at the possibilities of the Rockies improving by at least 10 games over this year’s final 71-91 record in 2020 to finish at least at the 81-81 mark. I also remembered the words of Colorado owner Dick Monfort, who said during the end-of-the-season press conference that, ““I don’t think we have a lot of flexibility next year of making some great big splash. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t get creative and do some things that will help if the right deal comes along.”

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Can the Rockies improve by 10 games next season without “making some great big splash?” It’s possible if these three things happen.

Note: Later this week, we’ll pull a counterpoint and discuss the three reasons why the Rockies won’t reach .500 again in 2020.