Was Scott Oberg An All-Star Snub, Or Just A Victim Of The Numbers Game?
Jul 09, 2019 07:54PM
● By Bill Gilman
Colorado Rockies pitcher Scott Oberg.
If statistics were all that mattered and the baseball gods were fair, Colorado Rockies reliever Scott Oberg would be in the bullpen for his first All-Star Game appearance.
But life in the Big Leagues is hardly ever fair.
So despite audacious first-half numbers, the Tewksbury native spent the All-Star break at home in New Jersey with his wife and their baby.
Oberg has been lights out over the first three-plus months of the season. In 38 appearances, the Colorado set-up man has posted a 5-1 record with 7 holds, 3 saves and a microscopic 1.24 ERA. He's struck out 48 over 43.2 innings. He's allowed just one earned run over his last 19 appearances.
So why did Oberg find himself watching the All-Star Game from home? Blame the numbers game.
To begin with, there are just four relief pitchers on the National League roster and Manager Dave Roberts chose four closers. Second, every team must have at least one representative on the roster and one of the closers, Felipe Vasquez, is the Pittsburgh Pirates' lone All-Star.
But the biggest obstacle to Oberg being an All-Star is his uniform. Playing at mile-high altitudes in Coors Field, Rockies' position players historically put up gaudy offensive numbers. This year, Colorado has four position players on the NL roster, including starting third baseman Nolan Arenado.
A fifth player was not going to be in the cards for a team that is mired in 4th place in the NL West, at 44-45, 14.5 games behind the 1st place Dodges.
Looking ahead to the second half of the season, the Rockies need to decide if they will be buyers or sellers at the July 31 trading deadline. As of the All-Star break, they stand just 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. How they play over the next two weeks will go a long way in determining the team's course.
Should they be sellers, don't be surprise to see Oberg dangled as trade bait for a contender looking to bolster its bullpen in the stretch run of a pennant race.
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