To watch a team for four, going on five, straight seasons end with a losing record takes a toll on the viewer. Luckily, per MLB rules, every team is represented in the yearly All-Star Game. With or without that rule, the 2023 Colorado Rockies likely will have multiple players repping the team come game time in Seattle.
One hitter and four relief pitchers have to this point in the year, made a case to represent the team at the All-Star game. The most likely outcome is that the hitter and no more than two of the relief pitchers end up traveling to Seattle, assuming that their production does not falter in the next month.
Despite that, all five deserve recognition for their performances through roughly the end of May.
Rockies 2023 All-Star: Elias Díaz
By far the most productive bat in the lineup, and one of only two who have even produced above league-average. Elias Díaz has arguably been one of the best three offensive catchers in the league and benefits greatly from most other elite catchers playing in the American League.
Time for our daily Elias Díaz is having an All-Star first half tweet! He just homered for his 5th HR of the season with his average sitting at a cool .345! The #Rockies still trail the #Marlins going into the 7th. pic.twitter.com/CtrOClOBqR
— Kelsey Wingert-Linch (@KelsWingert) May 25, 2023
Díaz has tallied 2.3 WAR (1st among catchers in MLB), which is already a career-high. He has a .907 OPS (2nd), a .333 batting average (1st), six home runs (T-6th) and 27 RBI (5th) while striking out only 29 times. His 132 OPS+ not only leads the Rockies but firmly puts his production in line with other potential All-Stars around the league.
Defensively, while he is not elite in framing or blocking, he has tied for the league lead with five caught stealing above average, according to baseball savant.
Rockies 2023 All-Star: Brent Suter
The lefty out of the bullpen has been the best pitcher in MLB at limiting hard contact in 2023. Brent Suter ranks in the 100th percentile in hard hit percentage, 99th percentile in average exit velocity and 99th percentile in barrel percentage.
His numbers look good as well. With a 1.99 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 258 ERA+ and 1.105 WHIP, he has been elite at limiting runs with a good sample size of 31.2 innings. The most well-known relievers are oftentimes the ones who hit triple digits and rack up strikeouts, two things that Suter is not known for.
Despite that, his dominance in 2023 will not go unnoticed and barring two or three blow-up appearances, he has seemingly already punched his ticket to Seattle.
Rockies 2023 All-Star: Justin Lawrence
Justin Lawrence is having the best season of his career but is likely a reach to make the trip for the All-Star game. Like Suter, he has shown the ability to miss hitter’s barrels, but his numbers have not been quite as good as his bullpen counterparts.
His 3.07 ERA is higher than his 2.78 FIP, but his 6.4 hits per nine innings and 0.3 home runs per nine are very good, given his home field being Coors. With a 167 ERA+ and 9.8 strikeouts per nine, he has shown the ability to pitch well.
Most importantly, however, in 12.0 innings on the road, he has yet to give up a run and has struck out 18. His 0.583 WHIP on the road shows that, given more favorable circumstances, he likely could be the best reliever in the game.
Justin Lawrence, Vicious 85mph Sweeper. 😤 pic.twitter.com/Oo7ZVx3k3s
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 25, 2023
Rockies 2023 All-Star: Jake Bird
The second righty from the Rockies bullpen who could be an All-Star, is in the midst of his second MLB season. The 27-year-old has a 2.86 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 34.2 innings. His 180 ERA+ in 2023 is nearly double what he had last season, thanks nearly entirely to his sinker and curveball combo.
His sinker has been worth -4 runs and his curveball has been worth -3 runs. He has also been comparable with home and away splits. In Coors, he has a 3.15 ERA through 20.0 innings and, on the road, has put up a 2.45 ERA in 14.2 innings. If he can get through June with a sub-2.00 ERA on the month and have 9.0 strikeouts per nine or higher, he may find his way into the All-Star game.
Rockies 2023 All-Star: Brad Hand
The fourth and final reliever and second lefty out of Colorado. Brad Hand has been a longtime veteran of the game, as he made his debut in 2011. The three-time All-Star so far has a higher ERA+ than in two of the seasons that he made the team, 2018 and 2019.
Hand’s biggest downfall to his candidacy in his lack of volume, pitching just 18.2 innings thus far in 2023. He is unlikely to make the team unless there is a significant amount of players dropping out or being injured, but his production is still recognizable.
Putting up a 1.95 FIP and striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings, if he eats up more innings in June, he is on pace for the second or third-best season of his long career. He will get his 750th career strikeout this season and has been the staple of MLB bullpens for over a decade, with his production staying consistent up to 2023.
Photo Credit- Roy Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports