24% Owned in ESPN, 18% in Yahoo

The Rockies chose not to be sellers at the July 31st trade deadline. Smart move this year? Time will tell on that, but the larger picture for Colorado shows a core of young talent that includes something we don’t typically see in the Mile High City: pitching.

Colorado’s Coors Field has long been a nuisance for pitchers as it continues to be one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks year in and year out. Coors Field currently leads the MLB with 12.54 runs per game and has been atop that category in five of the last six seasons (2nd in 2011). With that, it has been nearly impossible for the Rockies to sign any notable free agent pitchers in years and have had to rely on drafting and developing their pitching staff.

The Rockies currently feature four starting pitchers in their rotation that were drafted in either the 1st or 2nd round:

  • Tyler Chatwood, 2nd round (74th overall by the Angels) in 2008
  • Chad Bettis, 2nd round (76th overall) in 2010
  • Tyler Anderson, 1st round (20th overall) in 2011
  • Jon Gray, 1st round (3rd overall) in 2013

It should come as no surprise that each of the hurlers mentioned above have a better ERA on the road than they do at home… except for one… Tyler Anderson. Anderson’s ERA at home (3.04) is slightly lower than his road ERA (3.06) and has managed to do so despite 8 of his 11 career starts coming at Coors Field. So how has he tamed the mythical beast?

Anderson has been exceptional at a few things thus far in his rookie season: stranding runners on base, limiting walks, and inducing ground balls. He has only tossed 68 innings this year and thus does not qualify among the league leaders, but if he did, he would rank 18th in left-on-base percentage (LOB%), 14th in BB/9, and 7th in groundball percentage (GB%).

Colorado Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson about to throw a pitch

The major league average for LOB% is 73% – Anderson currently sits at 79.1%. That’s a number that will be very difficult to sustain over a full season as there were only 10 pitchers in 2015 with a LOB% at or above 79%. Expect some slight regression in this area but nothing that should raise any red flags.

Anderson doesn’t hurt himself in the walks department as he owns a stellar 1.99 BB/9, well below the league average of 3.12. This, along with his ground ball percentage, which we’re about to touch on, will be critical to his success in the majors as he’s merely been at league average in strikeouts (7.54 K/9).

The rookie has been a ground ball machine over his first 11 starts in the big leagues, with a GB% of 55.3%. That’s a phenomenal number, and if he keeps that up, Colorado could finally have a pitcher who finds long-term success in Coors Field.

Admittedly, it’s a small sample size to date but the talent for Anderson is evident and to this point doesn’t appear phased by the impact Coors Field typically has on pitchers. He is still young and will certainly hit some bumps in the road along the way but he has given up 3 earned runs or fewer in all but one of his starts this season. He’s beginning to work later into ballgames and has won four of his last six starts. If your squad is in the need of pitching depth, it’s worth giving Anderson a look as he’ll slide in nicely on the backend of your rotation for the final seven weeks of the season. Anderson is currently owned in only 18% of Yahoo leagues and 24% of ESPN leagues.

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