|Rockies Need Pitching, Not Offense|
Written by Paul Keen (Contact & Archive) on April 16, 2008
My friend and I were discussing how we disliked the ERAs of the starting rotation for most of the Rockies players.Â If you look at the 2007 stats, I think youâ€™ll find that no one has anything below a four for their ERA.Â Ordinarily this would bother me (and actually it still does, but Iâ€™ll get to why later) but there is a big factor concerning pitching for the Rockies that alter this.Â
Here in the Mile High City, the altitude plays havoc with many things.Â The air out here is very dry and thin.Â Not only will this make you get drunk faster if youâ€™re used to sea-level altitudes, but it allows things to fly through the air a lot faster.Â This includes (but is not limited to) baseballs.Â This plays a factor for the Denver Broncos at times too.Â People who play for lower cities arenâ€™t used to strenuous activity in the thin air out here.Â If you look at the batting averages for the Rockies, youâ€™ll see theyâ€™re slightly above average too.
The builders of Coors Field obviously considered this in building the park.Â The outfield is just a little bit bigger than you might traditionally find at a ballpark.Â For example, at center field in most ballparks, itâ€™s traditionally somewhere between 400 and 410 feet (usually under that 410 mark).Â At Coors Field, itâ€™s 415 feet from home plate to the fence.Â Some might argue that this is to the disadvantage of any team playing there because they might have to run more to rob someone of a run when they hit the ball deep.Â Fair enough, but we have to remember that the thin air means that they have a better chance of hitting the ball 420 feet.
Some people might cite the Humidor and mention how it really affects the balls.Â For those of you who are unaware, in an attempt to make their baseballs behave more like balls closer to sea level, the Rockies started keeping them in a humidor.Â The problem is that it doesnâ€™t make them behave more like balls at sea level.Â Physicists from CU Boulder did some research, and came up with some interesting evidence.Â While the humid balls are more likely to have drag, they donâ€™t slow down as fast.
However, Iâ€™m way off my original point.Â People always tell me that a pitcher for the Rockies would have a much better ERA if they pitched at a lower altitude.Â To me this raises a larger question.Â Why donâ€™t the Rockies sink more money into pitching, and get some pitchers who can have an ERA that matches up with the pitchers who are pitching at less than a mile high?Â If you have a ballpark that is a hitterâ€™s heaven, donâ€™t worry as much about offense.Â You still need good ones, but the city of Denver obviously has the batting for Colorado at an automatic advantage.Â Since I donâ€™t think that they are any closer to altering the climate of the Front Range, I think the Rockies might have to try and think of a way to adjust their strategy.