SAN FRANCISCO -- With the season ending soon, let's get right to your questions.Does Walt Weiss deserve to keep his job? Is the lack of bullpen due to his managerial skills?
-- @dustincthomasonI entered the season believing the Rockies would improve, but I didn't expect them to contend. Blame can
SAN FRANCISCO -- With the season ending soon, let's get right to your questions.
Does Walt Weiss deserve to keep his job? Is the lack of bullpen due to his managerial skills?
I entered the season believing the Rockies would improve, but I didn't expect them to contend. Blame can be shared, but this team wasn't good enough or deep enough.
Now, to Weiss: With little free-agent spending, Weiss and his staff have to be pluses, not minuses, for system-developed players establishing themselves. It's hard to argue with the success of shortstop Trevor Story and pitchers Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson this year or Chad Bettis last year. Give the front office and the staff credit for taking a chance on catcher Tony Wolters.
And outfielders David Dahl and Raimel Tapia have had positive entrees into the big leagues.
The bullpen reviews are more mixed. Over the last two years, Carlos Estévez, Matt Carasiti, Miguel Castro, Jairo Díaz (wo missed the year because of elbow surgery), Scott Oberg and Justin Miller (developed elsewhere but still getting his first significant experience) have been put in bigger roles than warranted based on their experience.
One name missing here is Weiss, who finishes his contract this year. No one has given a public indication that he won't return. Weiss has said that said he and the Rockies must determine if it's still a fit.
There has been speculation of Weiss and the Rockies parting ways. Weiss has said, however, that he likes the makeup of the team, believes a winning attitude is developing and is comfortable with the coaching staff.
Before becoming general manager, Jeff Bridich ran a player development system that produced not only the aforementioned players who broke in under Weiss, but several All-Stars -- third baseman Nolan Arenado, center fielder Charlie Blackmon and second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
So if Bridich wants to make a change and turn to folks he is comfortable with, player development colleagues could be high on his list. Even if the Rockies hire a manager from the outside, the staff could be heavily promoted from within.
From the system, Triple-A manager Glenallen Hill would be a strong candidate. According to players he has worked with, he is a creative teacher and challenges players. From outside, former Padres manager Bud Black would no doubt be of interest because his pitching background is rare among managerial types.
First, a shout-out to former Rockies outfielder and current Root Sports analyst Ryan Spilborghs, who I consulted about this. FanGraphs' weighted runs created plus (wRC+), which measures offensive value in runs and adjusts for park factors, shows the Rockies have improved.
First, here is some background: The base figure, or league average, is 100. Spilborghs notes that the Rockies are always hurt by the park factor. In 2007, when they went to the World Series, their wRC+ was 97 -- three percent below league average -- and ranked 14th overall. So don't expect league-leading figures. Anyhow:
• This year's Rockies entered Monday with a wRC+ of 93, 20th in the Majors. At home, their 101 ranked 13th. On the road they were at 84, or 20th.
• Last year, the Rockies were 29th in wRC+ with 90, at home they ranked 25th with 94 and on the road they were 30th (last) with 75.
Now, another key figure is weighted on-base average (wOBA), which assigns relative weights to each offensive event. This is a stat where the Rockies are going to overperform at home and struggle on the road.
• This year's Rockies rank second in the Majors with a .340 wOBA, lead the Majors at home at .377 and are 24th on the road.
• Last year, they finished tied for sixth overall at .321, were No. 1 at home at .359 and last on the road.
The upshot is they are performing with greater efficiency and doing some more damage than last season. That will win you more innings offensively.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.