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Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Hammel deal keyed Rockies' run

Tyler Hissey on the the deal that put the Rockies in the playoffs: Aneury Rodriguez, ranked as the Rockies' No. 16 prospect before moving to the Rays, has dropped a bit this season, with his walks going up and his strikeouts going down. He's still young (21) and far from a lost cause, but the odds are against him ever pitching effective in the majors. As a starter, anyway.

Meanwhile, Hammel gave the Rockies 177 solid innings this season. His strikeouts were roughly what they'd been as a Ray, but he somehow cut his walk rate in half. We don't hear much about Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca. But, considering the performances this season of Hammel and Jason Marquis and Jorge De La Rosa, shouldn't we?

What this really brings to mind, though, is the stunning depth of pitching the Rays have built. A year ago, they didn't have room in their rotation for Jason Hammel. This year, they didn't have room in their rotation for Scott Kazmir or Edwin Jackson. When Andy Sonnanstine couldn't pull out of his bizarre funk, the Rays hardly noticed. Has any team in recent memory featured so many young starter pitchers who could actually pitch?

Ah, but the Rays are out and the Rockies are in. Hissey's right: the Rockies deserve a great deal of credit for making a lopsided trade that's helped propel them to the postseason.