“Matt Belisle’s rise to prominence takes the cake for least expected”
Depends on who you ask :) I pegged Matt Belisle as the Rockies’ surprise candidate along with Jason Hammel in March: http://tinyurl.com/2dp4hc3
He resurfaced in the majors last September a completely different pitcher, attacking the strike zone, locating on corners, attacking hitters with confidence. In the one game the Rockies won in the NLDS vs the Phillies, he was the reliever used in the 7th inning to bridge to Betancourt and Street. A lot of Rockies fans even forget he had that much confidence from Tracy at the end of the year. I didn’t expect him to be this effective this long, but there was writing on the wall…if you chose to believe it.
@Andrew It’s obvious that there has been a change in approach as it pertains to pitch selection. Are you saying you don’t think that has anything to do with it? Having confidence and attacking the zone seem to me to be more symptoms of the change in approach, not the reason for the success. Not being snarky, just curious what your opinion on that is.
I also think Bob Apodaca deserves some credit here.
Apodaca absolutely deserves some credit. His ability of harnessing the ability of pitchers who were punchlines for their former teams (Belisle, Jason Hammel, Jason Marquis, Jorge de la Rosa, even Huston Street to a degree) really deserves some major attention. His pitch selection has been different this year, as he’s using his fastball less, though it seems to me that is in part due to working ahead in the count, though he has never had an issue with walks in his career. I’m not sure confidence/approach are necessarily separated as cause and effects as much as being combined. I know this is borderline blasphemy on a statistics site, but I think he has benefited most from confidence instilled from Apodaca. He has always had pretty good stuff. He just never seemed to own it. He has a tendency to hang breaking balls too often for a late inning reliever though
It’s funny, I always assumed that he massively sucked. Not this year of course, but years prior.
Looking at his xFIPs, however, during his starter years with the Reds, he was solid at times.
I’d look to trade for him and convert him back to a starting pitcher at some point.
Comment by fanofdefenseagain — June 30, 2010 @ 3:53 pm
though frankly, he may be a better option at this point than Aaron Cook anway
Comment by fanofdefenseagain — June 30, 2010 @ 3:57 pm
Belisle has also battled injuries along the way too. Change in approach, confidence, pitching coach compatibility, and a lack of injures, and he’s turning into a solid relief pitcher. He always had good stuff and flashes of brilliance within the bad outings when he was with the Reds. I don’t find it all strange that he’s put it together.
I wouldn’t mess with his bullpen success. He seems to have found his niche in the pen, and the Rockies frankly have too many good starting pitchers. Jhoulys Chacin is going to get bumped from the pen despite having the 3rd best FIP and 2nd best xFIP (and a solid ERA) just because he is a rookie when Jorge de la Rosa comes back. They’ll have to get rid of Francis, Cook, Hammel or DLR to make room for him next year, and Christian Friedrich could show up next year too.