Colorado enters the weekend series in New York in second place in the NL West. At 17-15, they have slightly overachieved according to BP’s expected win % (.490), but after leaving most of their 2017 Wild Card team intact for this season, they are clearly talented. The one place they did add over the winter was the bullpen, but the first segment focuses on a key bullpen piece that is a holdover.
Ottavino’s Resurgence: Adam Ottavino has been nothing short of phenomenal this year, as he has a 0.53 ERA, 0.52 FIP, and 1.39 DRA. He has struck out over half the batters he has faced (53%), and his walk rate (6.9%) is near his career low. What’s changed? Ottavino’s velocity is finally back to where it was pre-Tommy John surgery. His fastball is up to 96.3 mph, and his sinker is at 95.4. (For comparison’s sake, Syndergaard’s sinker has averaged 98 mph.) Ottavino has upped the usage of his sinker (20% last year to 37% this year) and is getting more swings and misses on it (7.6% to 10.3%). The pitch has also been a major reason his GB% is back up above 50% — 62% of balls in play off the sinker have been on the ground. The rest of his repertoire has been effective too, but the sinker has been a difference maker for Ottavino.
Marquez’s Home Run Rate: German Marquez’s first month was a mixed bag, with a pretty uninteresting 4.04 FIP and 4.26 DRA, but one indicator may suggest his numbers could get worse. He has a 0.64 HR/9 through six starts, a number that a Rockies starter has not carried for a full season in five years. (The Mets have had a starter below 0.64 HR/9 in three of the last five seasons.) Marquez did carry low HR/9 numbers in the lower minors, but he is unlikely to keep that number as low in the majors, especially playing half his games at Coors Field.
Arenado’s Pace: Everyone knows Nolan Arenado is great, but this year he has been even better, at least from an offensive perspective. His TAv of .340 would be a career high, and his VORP of 13.0 is on pace for roughly 77, well above his previous high of 63.0. His BABIP (.348) and HR/FB% (22.6%) are a little high, but he has improved his offensive production each season of his career, so it would not be a surprise if his improvement lasted.
The Good: Gerardo Parra has been the second most valuable baserunner with 2.5 Baserunning Runs. (Asdrubal Cabrera is fifth with 1.8.)
The Bad: The Rockies offense has the fifth worst collective TAv (.243). The Mets are the seventh best (.262).
The Ugly: Pat Valaika has the second worst WARP at -0.8 and the worst TAv at .126 (minimum 50 PAs).
Syndergaard gave up a lot of contact Tuesday against the Braves and his velocity was a little down. His fastball was the lowest it has sat this season (97.5 mph), and the sinker, curve and slider were all down from his previous start. The velo is probably not anything to worry about, but it is something to monitor.
Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports