Kyle Freeland
What’s wrong with Kyle Freeland? (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

I’m not wrong often. When I’m wrong, I’m more than happy to eat crow. I picked the Colorado Rockies to win the National League West this year. They are in last place. YIKES. Not a great call by me. This was my thinking coming into the year. Colorado just clinched a wildcard spot the year before and looked like a team on the rise. The Rockies always score runs. While I hated the fact that they lost DJ LaMahieu, but I thought Daniel Murphy was at least capable. Offense was never the issue in Coors Field, this team always scores runs.

The difference between this Rockies team and year prior was the starting pitching. Colorado actually has a real staff! The Rockies rotation was led by Kyle Freeland who tossed a 2.85 ERA in Colorado! Freeland was a legit Cy Young guy. The rest of the staff included John Gray who was emerging, German Marquez who has nasty stuff, Jeff Hoffman who was ready to pop as a former first round pick, and Antonio Senzatela who was a more than capable 5th starter. What looked great on paper has turned into a shit show and it starts with Freeland. The Colorado native went for Cy Young worth to absolute shit. What the hell is wrong with Kyle Freeland?

This is not an overreaction. Kyle Freeland has been that bad and completely fell off a cliff. Freeland, 26, has a 7.48 ERA. I repeat… 7.48 ERA! That’s in 77 innings of work. Freeland hasn’t just been bad. The former first round pick from Evansville has been awful all year. There are some eye popping differences from 2018 to 2019. In 2018, lefties hit just .185 against Freeland. In 2018, they are hitting .317. That’s coming from a left handed pitcher. WTF?

Maybe Coors Field has gotten into his head. Freeland has been much better on the road. He has a 10.31 ERA compared to a 4.91 on the road. The road number isn’t great but it’s better than whatever that first number is. You could call up a A ball pitcher right now and he might not be that bad. This wasn’t an issue a year ago. Freeland actually had a lower ERA at home compared to on the road in 2018. 2.91 at Coors compared to 3.23 on the road.

Hitters have done more damage on fly balls this year. Freeland gave up 17 home runs all last year. He’s given up that many already this year. A year ago, Freeland allowed a batting average of .198 on fly balls. Most of them were outs. This year, most of them are hits. .325 batting average on balls in the air. That’s an incredible difference. SO what the hell happened to the guy?

Freeland is working with the same catching duo from the year prior. Both Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters are back. Colorado has the same manager (Bud Black) who’s supposed to specialize in pitching. Did Black lose the locker room?

Freeland’s issues appear to start mechanically. He’s missing all the time on his fastball location.

Kyle Freeland
Fangraphs

This is Freeland’s fastball velocity numbers. You can see he can hit 95 on occasion. His numbers do look a tick down from a year ago. That tells me his release point is off. Velo is down, command is all over the place, and his confidence is rattle. That’s a recipe that spells disaster.

I’m sure there’s more to the story that I’m not getting a chance to see in the clubhouse. Here’s what I do know. Bud Black needs to go. Nothing has gone right for this Rockies team. Every pitcher on the roster has taken a step back. That falls on Black and his staff. If the Rockies have any chance to stay relevant, they need Kyle Freeland to figure his shit out.

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