So the Rockies finally got rid of Jeremy Guthrie. Finally. Honestly I felt bad for the guy. By all indications he’s a perfectly nice guy: A family man far removed from the criminal charges that seem to be plaguing Denver athletes these days.
But it’s just that, well, he sucked. Guthrie was a perpetual disappointment to the ball club, not to mention a fan like myself. And since I was part of the media contingent singing the Rockies praises after the trade for Guthrie went down, he wasn’t just a slight disappointment either. We’re talking “I want my son to play sports and he wants to take up ballet” type disappointment.
But now he’s gone. And as we wish him happy trails, we realize the Rockies got in replacement a gem of a pitcher by the name of Jonathan Sanchez: the lefty with a 1-6 record, who boasts a ridiculous 7.76 ERA in 53 innings, and looks even worse than Guthrie.
But last week on this site I threw out some numbers that spelled success at Coors Field. To recap, this is the conclusion that I came to: “The pitchers that have historically (and currently) had the most success at Coors Field as a general rule threw any variation of fastballs less than 65% of the time, threw changeups and curveballs over 20% of the time, mixed in a slider 10%-20%, and rarely threw cutters.” I also alluded to the fact that throwing the slider was somewhat more important to left-handed pitchers. So before we judge the newcomer, let’s see how Sanchez stacks up:
For his career, Sanchez has thrown 67% fastballs, 16% curveballs/changeups, and 17% sliders. Theoretically, that should be good for a lefty at Coors Field. The real off-speed stuff is a little low, but he makes up for some of that with the slider. But, there is some bad news.
We all remember how much Guthrie’s fly ball tendencies hurt him at Coors Field. Sanchez has an identical groundball to fly ball ratio to Guthrie, so in theory he may be just as prone to giving up bombs. The worse news: Sanchez is walking batters at a seven per nine inning clip this season, with a rate of five per nine innings for his career.
There may be some hope for Sanchez with the Rockies. To his credit, he has a 3.07 ERA in 29.1 innings at Coors Field over the past three years. And he’s had NL West success in the past, including a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. But with that said, the last thing the Rockies need is a veteran pitcher that struggles with walks more than youngsters in their rotation. It’s not as if they’ve had much success turning around those types in the past.
The real point of this acquisition (as with most around here) is money. The Monforts save $1.1 million in salary in the deal, which would be far more acceptable if I had any confidence that they would even attempt to reinvest that money in the franchise. So sorry Rockies fans, Jonathan Sanchez is probably not part of the solution.