By: Adam Pasternak
After an incredibly eventful offseason, Spring Training is finally here! The players have all reported to their respective Spring Training facilities and the 2016 MLB season is only a month and a half away. Over the next couple of weeks we will cover all 30 MLB teams and talk about what’s in store for the coming season. Today, we talk about the Colorado Rockies!
The Colorado Rockies come into the 2016 campaign with essentially no playoff hopes. In such a tough division, and with such a young and unexperienced roster – the only goal in mind for this year should be to develop their crop of young talent. They added Gerardo Parra and Jake McGee – two high quality players – but the roster remains basically the same as last season’s. Shortstop, Jose Reyes, is listed as “day-to-day” and isn’t even in camp due to an ongoing investigation into his domestic violence case. A suspension is a more than likely outcome, but until then he has been instructed to stay at home and workout on his own. The Rockies have two great players in Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez, but those two alone won’t be enough to carry the them anywhere near a winning record this coming season.
The rotation this season for Colorado is mediocre – at best. Their ace looks to be Jorge De La Rosa, who last season posted a record of 9-7 with a 4.14 ERA. While that isn’t an awful stat-line, it isn’t nearly ace material. Following De La Rosa will be some sort of combination of Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Lyles and Jon Gray/Chris Rusin. Let me guess…you don’t recognize a single one of these names, right? That’s ok; no one does. The rotation is definitely the Rockies biggest weakness, but don’t get too down on yourselves Rockies fans. Top prospect Jeff Hoffman will make his debut in the MLB at some point this season, mark my words. Acquired as part of a package in the Tulo deal last season, Hoffman looks to be like a future big league ace. Although he’s had arm issues in the past, he is still regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in the game today, and after a few months in AAA, you’ll most likely see the Rockies call him up to the big league team. The bullpen this year for the Rockies isn’t actually that bad. Veteran Jason Motte should win the closer role this spring, but not without any competition from the ex-Ray, Jake McGee. Behind them is yet another veteran, Chad Qualls – who will be a 7th or 8th inning man in Colorado this season. They also have youngster Miguel Castro, another piece from the Tulo deal. Although he looks to start the season in AAA, look for the dynamic young reliever to be in the majors eventually this summer along with fellow rookie Hoffman.
In the field, apart from the absence of Corey Dickerson and the addition of Parra – everything is the same. Gold Glove winner, Nolan Arenado, will be at the hot corner with duo of Ben Paulson and Matt Reynolds slated to split time at first base. D.J LeMahieu will be back at second base after a great defensive season last year. The replacement for Jose Reyes hasn’t been announced yet, and there has been a lot of competition at the shortstop position so for this spring. In my opinion, I think the job will be given to 23 year-old Trevor Story, who has had a monster Spring Training thus far. He’s hit .378 with 6 homers and 13 RBI in 45 at bats. If he can play solid defence at short and just bring half of that offensive production to the bigs with him – the Rockies will be very happy. In the outfield, the duo of CarGo and Charlie Blackmon will man right and centre respectively, with the newly acquired Gerardo Parra in left. Brandon Barnes and Ben Paulson will be heir backups to start the year, but the need for another outfielder is pretty big, along with starting pitching obviously.
This season won’t be any less painful than last, but improvements will be made. There are still rumours floating around that CarGo may be traded, but those rumours were also present last season, and he is still in Colorado. The Rockies can’t rush their development. They need to let their prospects mature a little longer, and when they are ready they will play. Besides, the Dodgers, D-Backs and Giants are all ahead of them at the moment, but they are also aging. The Rockies time will come, but that time is not in the near future.
What do you think about the Rockies moves this offseason? Was trading Dickerson, and not CarGo the right move? Will they ever get back to another World Series again? Comment below!
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