Missing Colorado

Unless league rules require it or an owner plays in an NL West-only league, owners don’t use their starters in Colorado. This stance may be a little extreme but the league’s aces should be the only started used in Colorado. Pitching in Colorado adds one run to pitcher’s ERA. Owners know this but visiting team must send out a starter to get sacrificed. I’m going to go over some of the pitchers affected the most by being the sacrificial lamb.

This past season, I owned Jeff Samardzija in a couple of leagues. His 4.42 ERA was just above league average (4.36 ERA). The effect on my team wasn’t that much though. There is no way I was going to start him in Coors and I missed out on his 1.94 WHIP and 11.91 ERA over 11.1 IP. With the starts removed, his ERA dropped to 3.98. While not a great ERA, it represented the true effect it had on my team.

Samardzija isn’t the only pitcher to feel the wrath of Coors Field. Here are the pitchers who saw their ERA improve by 0.30 runs after their Colorado innings where removed (min 20 IP):

Pitchers Affected the Most By Pitching in Colorado
Name IP ERA IP w/o COL ERA w/o COL ERA Diff
Carlos Estevez 32.1 5.57 15.7 2.87 -2.69
Mike Dunn 50.1 4.47 28.3 2.54 -1.93
Jeff Hoffman 99.1 5.89 45.0 4.00 -1.89
Julio Urias 23.1 5.40 19.3 3.72 -1.68
Mark Melancon 30.0 4.50 28.0 2.89 -1.61
Kevin Quackenbush 26.1 7.86 22.0 6.55 -1.32
Silvino Bracho 20.2 5.66 20.7 4.35 -1.31
Brian Ellington 44.2 7.25 43.7 5.98 -1.28
Tyler Chatwood 147.2 4.69 77.3 3.49 -1.20
Joe Blanton 44.1 5.68 43.3 4.57 -1.11
Matt Bowman 58.2 3.99 57.7 2.97 -1.02
Luke Jackson 50.2 4.62 49.7 3.62 -0.99
Jake McGee 57.1 3.61 30.7 2.64 -0.97
Scott Oberg 58.1 4.94 26.7 4.05 -0.89
Rex Brothers 23.2 7.23 22.7 6.35 -0.87
Chris Rusin 85.0 2.65 48.0 1.88 -0.77
Max Fried 26.0 3.81 23.3 3.09 -0.72
Antonio Senzatela 134.2 4.68 56.0 4.02 -0.66
Wade LeBlanc 68.0 4.50 67.3 3.88 -0.62
Hyun-Jin Ryu 126.2 3.77 116.0 3.18 -0.58
Bryan Morris 21.0 6.43 18.3 5.89 -0.54
Boone Logan 21.0 4.71 19.3 4.19 -0.52
Matt Moore 174.1 5.52 167.3 5.00 -0.52
Blake Treinen 75.2 3.93 73.7 3.42 -0.50
Carlos Rodon 69.1 4.15 64.0 3.66 -0.50
Miguel Diaz 41.2 7.34 39.3 6.86 -0.48
Chris Flexen 48.0 7.88 45.0 7.40 -0.47
Adam Ottavino 53.1 5.06 29.3 4.60 -0.46
Adam Conley 102.2 6.14 101.3 5.68 -0.45
Jeff Samardzija 207.2 4.42 196.3 3.99 -0.43
Nick Pivetta 133.0 6.02 130.3 5.59 -0.43
Clayton Richard 197.1 4.79 187.7 4.36 -0.42
Steven Brault 34.2 4.67 33.7 4.28 -0.40
Junichi Tazawa 55.1 5.69 54.3 5.30 -0.39
Derek Law 37.1 5.06 34.7 4.67 -0.39
Zach McAllister 62.0 2.61 60.7 2.23 -0.39
Matt Garza 114.2 4.94 110.3 4.57 -0.38
Mike Foltynewicz 154.0 4.79 150.7 4.42 -0.37
Sam Gaviglio 74.1 4.36 69.3 4.02 -0.33
Josh Hader 47.2 2.08 46.0 1.76 -0.32
Joe Ross 73.2 5.01 69.0 4.70 -0.31
Mike Clevinger 121.2 3.11 117.7 2.83 -0.28
Clayton Kershaw 175.0 2.31 158.0 2.05 -0.26
David Hernandez 55.0 3.11 53.7 2.85 -0.26

Here are my thoughts on some of the non-Colorado pitchers

  • Julio Urias: It was a lost season for him and the Colorado start makes it look even worse. He had should surgery in late June and expects 12 to 14 months before returning. Right now, he’s a DL stash with maybe some late-season starts. It does seem like his 2018 season will set up a full return in 2019.
  • Max Fried: His review turned into a full article.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu: Owners who kept Ryu on the bench during the Colorado starts got a sneaky good season on par with his 2013 and 2014 seasons. Owners should be able to pick him up using very few resources and had a serviceable back of the rotation arm.
  • Mike Clevinger: I am probably one of the biggest Clevinger fans but I zero faith he’s going to repeat last season. His strikeouts and heavy flyball nature will keep him in games. His biggest issue is the 4.4 BB/9 (5th highest in the league, min. 120 IP). His 2017 walk rate was an improvement on his career numbers (4.6 BB/9). It’s tough to walk a batter every other inning and still be productive.
  • Clayton Kershaw: One of the few pitchers I trust throwing in Colorado.



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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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bryan_05
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bryan_05

I’d like to see guys who may have been outliers and benefited. Looks like Godley, T. Walker, G. Gonzalez, Stripling, Wood, Bailey, Wainwright, Lackey, and Teherean all had good starts there. The latter 3 threw 7IP 0ER. Carlos Martinez and Zack Greinke were similar to the rest of their season @COL.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaderssplits.aspx?splitArr=10,119&strgroup=season&statgroup=1&startDate=2017-03-01&endDate=2017-11-01&filter=&position=P&statType=player&autoPt=true&sort=3,1&pg=0