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Doyle was the last player to make his MLB debut for the Rockies, while Diehl was the last lefty in the bullpen
Welcome to the 2020 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2020. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 25, Tommy Doyle: -0.2 rWAR
No. 24, Phillip Diehl: -0.2 rWAR
Tommy Doyle and Phillip Diehl profiled fairly similarly to Antonio Santos and James Pazos — a right-handed rookie who made his MLB debut in September 2020 and one of two lefties in the Rockies bullpen. They also profile similarly in how they got to the Rockies. Doyle and Santos are original Rockies development pieces, whereas Diehl and Pazos were both acquired in trades in 2019. Even so, Doyle and Diehl performed slightly better than the other two, which is why they are ranked a bit higher in this series.
Tommy Doyle (No. 16 PuRP) was drafted in the Competitive Balance B round of the 2017 draft (70th overall). He has since spent one year at each level of the Rockies minor league system, most recently pitching for the High-A Lancaster JetHawks. He also made his big league camp debut in spring training. Last year in Lancaster, the 24-year-old right-hander pitched 36 innings over 38 appearances. During that time, he posted a 3.25 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a 3.69 K/BB ratio. He also struck out 32.9% of the batters he faced and converted 19 saves in 23 opportunities. In spring training, he made four appearances and allowed one run on one hit alongside three strikeouts over four innings.
Doyle made his MLB debut on September 23 to replace an injured David Dahl. During his brief stint with the Rockies, he made just three appearances. In the 2 1⁄3 innings, he allowed six runs on six hits. He also walked four and struck out just two. A lot of that could be chalked up to the fact that he was a rookie making his MLB debut after not being able to play regularly since March, but it wasn’t a great first impression for the young reliever.
Phillip Diehl was acquired by the Rockies in March 2019 when they shipped outfielder Mike Tauchman to the Yankees. He started with the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, but was quickly moved up to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes in May and eventually made his MLB debut on June 11, 2019. He rode the major league roller coaster last year, only making 10 appearances for the Rockies. He posted a 7.36 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 7 1⁄3 innings.
Diehl struggled a bit in 2020 as well, pitching just six innings over six appearances. In those six appearances, he allowed seven runs on seven hits for a 10.50 ERA. He struck out four batters, walked one, and allowed two home runs. Interestingly enough, Baseball Savant shows that his hard-hit percentage was down (45.8% in 2019, 35.0% in 2020) and his walk percentage was down (5.7% in 2019, 4.0% in 2020), but his strikeout percentage was also down (22.9% in 2019, 16.0% in 2020). FanGraphs notes that his BABIP was down as well, from .391 in 2019 to .278 in 2020.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly went wrong for Diehl other than being associated with the 2020 Rockies bullpen dumpster fire, but hopefully he can be a decent lefty reliever in 2021. They certainly need one.