The Rockies announced today that right-handers Christian Bergman and Justin Miller have been outrighted to Triple-A Albuquerque, thereby clearing a pair of spots on their 40-man roster, which now sits at 38.
Bergman, 28, pitched part of his third season with the Rockies this season, logging 24 2/3 innings but struggling to an 8.39 ERA in that time. His peripheral stats were a bit more encouraging, though, as Bergman struck out 22 batters against just six walks with a 37.1 percent ground-ball rate. He was plagued by a .381 BABIP and by the fact that a sky-high 20 percent of his fly-balls turned into home runs, with seven long balls clearing the fence against him overall. That figure seems like an anomaly, especially considering a more standard 10 percent homer-to-fly ball rate in his two previous seasons. Overall, Bergman has a 5.79 ERA in 147 2/3 innings, though a 4.51 xFIP and 4.43 SIERA give some hope for future improvement.
The 29-year-old Miller, meanwhile, tallied an even more substantial amount of time in the Rockies’ bullpen, tossing 42 2/3 innings, though he too had difficulty, as evidenced by his 5.70 ERA. Miller, though, averaged 93.1 mph on his fastball and punched out 45 batters in his 42 2/3 innings of work, though his control (4.2 BB/9) took a step back from a solid 2015 season that saw him post a 4.05 ERA (3.22 xFIP, 2.84 SIERA) in 33 1/3 innings. The majority of Miller’s struggles came when pitching at Coors Field this season, as he posted a 7.40 ERA at home against a 4.09 ERA on the road. His overall numbers in the Majors don’t stand out, but he’s shown a knack for missing bats at both the Major League and minor league level throughout his career.
Both Bergman and Miller can elect free agency in lieu of this outright assignment, so either could be attractive to other clubs on minor league pacts. Bergman has spent most of his minor league career starting, so he could be a rotation depth piece for a club in a thin free-agent market. Miller, on the other hand, has never made a start in the Majors or minors since being selected in the 16th round of the 2008 draft by the Rangers.