2022 Positional Power Rankings: Bullpen (No. 16-30)


Alex Colomé, who is on a one-year deal, rode his cutter and a straight fastball to a half-decade of rock solid eighth inning duty. His velocity has been trending down for the last few years and has lost about a tick-and-a-half from its peak.

The 6-foot-6, 277-pound Carlos Estévez’s release point changed throughout the 2019 season, and his fastball has featured more sink since then. In 2021, his arm strength climbed back to its pinnacle throughout the season, peaking in the 99-101 mph range late in the year. He’s also upped his changeup usage in two consecutive seasons and now has three pitches generating something close to the league-average swinging strike rate. He’s out of the gate sitting 93-95 mph early in the spring of 2022.

Daniel Bard has come into spring training with his usual upper-90s gas, sitting 97 mph at age 36. He’s upped his slider usage year-over-year for the last three seasons and is now at the point where he is using it about as often as his fastball. All three of Bard, Estévez, and Colomé are in their contract years and are candidates to move at the deadline, making all three key evaluation targets for contending teams.

Robert Stephenson came over from Cincinnati as part of a fairly sizable trade centered around him and Jeff Hoffman, and enjoyed a huge velo spike. He had become extremely slider-heavy with the Reds but returned to a more even fastball/slider split, and reintroduced the occasional curveball and changeup to his repertoire. He’s come out pumping 96-97 mph this spring.

Veteran Jhoulys Chacín will provide valuable length out of the bullpen, and it seemed as though the same might be asked of lefty Ty Blach, he of local powerhouse high school Regis Jesuit. The Rockies stretched Blach out to three innings early in the spring before deploying him in single-inning outings more recently. He is coming off of TJ.

Most of the rest of this bullpen is full of pitchers who either don’t miss as many bats as you might guess given their velocity and the visual explosiveness of their stuff (Tyler Kinley, Julian Fernández, Jordan Sheffield, Justin Lawrence), or have been unable to sustain impact arm strength for extended periods (Ben Bowden, Lucas Gilbreath). Gilbreath was a 2020 instructs breakout lefty who sat 93-96 mph that fall, but he’s been more 90-93 since. Lawrence is one of the hardest throwing sidearmers in the league, sitting 97 mph. Gilbreath, Sheffield, and Lawrence are the three guys most likely to be in Denver for the long haul as all of them only have a year or less of service time. Lefty Helcris Olivarez, 21, is also on the 40-man and is in his second option year. He’s so raw as a strike-thrower that he may be ‘penned at some point this year and end up getting a late-season cup of coffee.



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