Who took Kyle Freeland form 2018 and where did you put his body and left arm? We want it back.
One year after giving the Rockies some sort of hope, even a breathe of fresh mountain air mixed with a little THC that there COULD be a good pitcher who could excel in the high elevation in Colorado, Freeland pulled the rug right from under them.
On Friday night, the Colorado Rockies decided to option left handed starter Kyle Freeland to Triple-A after posting dreadful 7.13 ERA, WHIP of 1.567 and leading the Majors in earned runs given up with 47 and also leading the National League in home runs given up with 16. That was all through 12 starts in only 59 innings.
After a decent rookie year that saw him post an ERA of 4.10 Freeland decided to kick it up a notch last season finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting and finishing the year with 17-7 record, an ERA of 2.85, WHIP of 1.245, and 173 strikeouts opposed to 70 walks.
Alright well this was a bit unexpected. Looking at some in-depth nerd stats thanks to my boys at Fangraphs.com, Freeland’s numbers look a tad scary. He went from a walk rate of 3.11 all the way up to 3.79 this season. Which isn’t too bad considering it’s not a WHOLE walk more, trying to be positive, but he was well on his way if the Rockies would have kept running him out there. The two stats that jump out to me the most are HR/9 and HR/FB (home run to fly ball ratio). His home runs per 9 went from .76 in 2018 to 2.43 in 2019. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the uptick in that number is abnormal. Give credit to Freeland last season for somehow keeping it under one pitching half his games at Coors Field, but from going from under one bomb a game to almost 2.5?! What could he have been doing some differently from last year?
Next is the home run to fly ball ratio. Freeland went from 8.5% in 2018 to a ghastly 21.6% in 2019. Did you guys read that right? 21.6%!! I mean, holy shit. Freeland went from being completely in control to guys crushing balls off of him and sending them out of the park. Freeland had his two WORST starts against two of the WORST teams in baseball in the Giants and Orioles. If you can believe it, the Giants are actually a worse team offensively than the Orioles. Anyways, Freeland let up a total of 19 hits, 10 runs, three home runs through 42 at bats against both teams. This is a guy who got to face the worst offense in baseball in the Giants TWICE and let up a total of eight runs. All of his pitch velocities were right where they were last year, the only difference is he was throwing his slider and cutter more and his change up less. I don’t know if that’s because that was the game plan or maybe he just couldn’t get a feel for the change up. Or maybe he couldn’t get a feel for ANYTHING. Freeland never reported any arm issues or anything so maybe the baseball gods aren’t feelin him this season.
The scariest/craziest part of this whole situation is that the Rockies were thinking about extending him this off-season after his great 2018 season. Goof management on their part to be a little gun shy on that. I’m sure Freeland won’t be on the farm too long once he strings a couple good starts together. We should be seeing Freeland maybe a start of two before the All-Star break. If not, all we can hope for is good juju going Freeland’s way as the Rockies really could use the Freeland of old to come hangout again. Thank you.