It has long been documented that Coors Field is not a friendly place if you're a pitcher in Major League Baseball. Opposing hurlers have difficulty finding their breaking and off-speed pitches in the high altitudes, and Rockies pitchers have learned to live with inflated numbers due to the "Coors effect".
There have been a select few, though, who HAVE found success in the Mile High City. Ubaldo Jimenez finished third in Cy Young voting in 2010, Jhoulys Chacin emerged as an ace in 2013, and most recently, Kyle Freeland broke out as a star pitcher last season.
That's why it was so surprising when he was demoted to Triple-A on Friday.
Kyle Freeland just got sent to Triple-A and with a 7.13 ERA it's not hard to see why, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a guy go from "4th in Cy Young" to "minor leagues" in such record time. Imagine thinking he'd be in the minors in May 2019, if you were told that in Sept 2018?— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 31, 2019
A year ago, this guy posted an ERA under 3, allowed less than one home run per 9 innings, and finished fourth in Cy Young voting. Not even two months into 2019, he's been sent to Triple-A.
The move was a necessary one, as Freeland simply hasn't been close to the same pitcher he was in 2018. But wow -- talk about a dramatic regression.
In 2019, Freeland has surrendered a ridiculous 47 earned runs across 59.1 innings pitched, good for a 7.13 ERA. He had failed to last more than 4 innings in each of his previous three outings, and surrendered 15 earned runs across 8.2 innings during that span.
Last year, Kyle Freeland posted the lowest ERA in Rockies history (in a non-strike season), at 2.85.— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) May 31, 2019
He just got demoted to AAA after starting off the season allowing 47 earned runs in 59.1 IP (7.13 ERA).
Freeland has recorded just three outings of sub-3 earned run ball this year, and has been shelled for 5+ earned runs on six separate occasions. Yikes.
Here's hoping Freeland finds his stuff in Albuquerque. On his night, he's one of the most fun to watch starters in baseball, but he just hasn't had the stuff to get it done this year. Perhaps some time mowing down minor leaguers will give him the confidence boost he needs to return to Coors Field and perform.