|The Rockies issues run deeper than the losses on the field.|
As the club dropped another game, losing 9-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals, they got to see what a good looking baseball team looks like. They got to see a team that doesn't make excuses, a team that lost it's franchise player, and is still in a position to make a run to the postseason.
The Rockies can continue down their self-imposed 75-pitch limit for starting pitchers, but really, nothing will be solved by silly theories until the root of the problem is discovered. What is that problem? The talent isn't where it needs to be to compete at the big league level.
Whether the pitchers are young, or simply not good enough is besides the point. The Rockies need to either figure out how to develop their pitchers, or find a way to bring in already developed talent. The latter of the two isn't going to happen anytime soon, so the answer is to develop pitchers better.
However, that apparently isn't happening. As was speculated by many Rockies fans, the club does too much micromanaging of talent and gets into their young pitcher's heads. Drew Pomeranz, who threw six solid innings on Sunday for the Rockies, had a few telling words in an interview with Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
"I stopped being so mechanical. I stopped worrying about being here with my arm and here with my glove. I just picked up my leg high and threw it." Said Pomeranz.
How many times have Rockies fans heard from Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy that Pomeranz needed more time in the minor leagues to refine his delivery. They said that he needed to work on his arm slot and start getting his glove in a better position. It is interesting that when Pomeranz was working on those things, he struggled. He looked like a bust. However, when he abandoned what the Rockies were trying to work with him on, he suddenly looked like a No.1 pick all over again.
The story is very similar with another Rockies prospect, Tyler Matzek. After throwing in the upper-90's in high school and getting drafted in the first round by the Rockies, Matzek struggled during the 2011 season in Single-A ball. His fastball was in the mid-80's and he had no command, walking batter's to the point of making scouts doubt that he was even good enough to be at that level.
After forcing his way out of the daily grind of the season and gaining permission to return home to California and work with his high school pitching coach, suddenly Matzek's velocity returned to what it had been previously. Shortly thereafter, his command began to return.
Have the Rockies thought that maybe they get too fine with their pitching prospects? What is the point of altering a guy like Pomeranz's delivery when that delivery and that arm slot made him one of the most coveted arms in the 2010 draft? Of course mechanics are important, but why tinker the fine details?
Why risk injury to one of the most important arms in the franchise to tinker with fine details? There might be an argument if the tinkering was working. It seems like it is doing just the opposite. Pomeranz made it clear in his interview with the Denver Post that once he stopped listening to what the Rockies were telling him, he suddenly got better. He quit over thinking the way he was throwing the ball and just threw it.
At some point, the Rockies need to realize that they are dealing with young arms, but they are also dealing with young minds. These are pitchers who have never struggled at any level they have pitched at. They have probably always been the best on their team. When a pitcher has been that good, then someone comes along and tells them that everything they are doing is wrong, it would be easy to imagine that getting into their heads.
If the way a guy throws made them the talent that they are, why try and change everything about the way the ball is delivered?
As bad as the Rockies theories about keeping pitch counts low are, what they are doing on the minor league level might be even worse. The micromanagement isn't helping the big league team's performance on the field. If anything, it is making it worse, with guys on the mound over thinking things, trying too hard not to walk batters, keeping their arm slots in the right position and anything else the Rockies decided to tinker with.
The issue at hand is that the Rockies issues go far beyond the results and the decisions being made by Dan O'Dowd and Jim Tracy. The issues run much deeper than what this team is seeing on the field. The root of the issue is in development. O'Dowd makes the decisions as to who does the developing, and if he manages them the same way he manages Tracy, then the decisions being made are from O'Dowd.
As tough of a year as 2012 is for Rockies fans, seeing the way things are being run has to hurt more than seeing the losses pile up. If this team lost 100 games but had hope on the horizon, it might not be so bad. However, there is no light at the end of the tunnel under the current management.
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