The Rockies window opened at a very bad time.
It is 2018, a brand new season for the Colorado Rockies. A season with hope and high expectations, but should it be?
In a slow and boring offseason, the Rockies made a lot of large moves, most notably in the bullpen. The Rockies notable signings include catcher Chris Iannetta (2 yrs/$8.5M), relief pitchers Bryan Shaw (3 yrs/$27M), Wade Davis (3 yrs/$52M) and the re-signing of Jake McGee (3 yrs/$27M).
The Rockies did lose a couple significant players to free agency. Notable subtractions include: Pat Neshek (Phillies), Greg Holland (TBD), Johnathan Lucroy (Athletics), Tyler Chatwood(Cubs) and Mark Reynolds (TBD).
The Rockies have a sneaky good rotation. With the projected (As of March 1st) rotation being Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson and local boy Kyle Freeland, people do not realize how good these five pitchers are. In fact, there are valid arguments that Jon Gray, Chad Bettis and German Marquez have ace potential. Of course, ERA is not the best measure for Coors Field, especially due to the fact that pitching at such a high altitude is very different than pitching at sea level. But, let’s get a little more in depth, shall we?
Jon Gray is something special, trust me. Playing half your games at Coors Field is hard for anyone, but especially for pitchers. In 2016, he had a 4.61 ERA but also a 9.91 K/9 which is real promise for such a young pitcher. In 2017, he followed up his 2016 campaign with a 3.67 ERA and a 9.14 K/9.
On August 8th, 2017, German Marquez pitched 6 shutout innings against Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians. Being at that game, I saw how much potential there was in this rookie pitcher. He is young, playing at a disadvantage at Coors Field but, with an 8.2 K/9 he also pitched 162 innings, the most a Rockies pitcher had in 2017. People have tabbed German Marquez as a dark horse Cy Young candidate, which I am inclined to agree with. He has incredible potential and if he stays healthy will be a very important part of the Rockies rotation
The miracle of Chad Bettis continues. After successfully recovering from testicular cancer, he started in 9 games and had a 5.05 ERA. In his last full season (2016), he posted a 4.79 ERA and had 186 IP. He is the most experienced pitcher of the Rockies rotation, first being called up in 2013. He is a very solid pitcher who is only just getting started
The kid from Colorado is going into his sophomore campaign after a rookie season that put him on the map, even getting some Rookie of the Year consideration. He went 11–11 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 games started. He did something that as Coors Field you must do, he had a 53.9% ground ball rate, getting those ground ball outs in Coors is something every pitcher must adapt to.
After being sidelined due to injuries, Tyler Anderson’s second year in the Majors was a fairly decent one. He struggled though, with his ERA increasing a over a point from 2016 and he is looking to rebound and stay healthy for the new season.
The Rockies offense was actually somewhat poor last season, contrary to the beliefs of people who scream “COORS” whenever a Rockies player does anything. There are some key rookies and veterans that will make or break the season for the Rockies. Let’s take a good look at them, we may not see them for long:
The Rockies signed Ian Desmond to a 5 year, $70 Million deal last offseason, assuming he’d produce like he did previously. Last season was injury stricken, in the 95 games Desmond played he only hit 7 home runs and had a -0.8 fWAR for the Rockies. It seems like Desmond is going to be the 1B on Opening Day for the Rockies and he NEEDS to begin to hit for power, especially where they play and considering the cost they payed for him.
Or as he should be called: “The other 1B option” is the #2 ranked prospect in the Rockies organization and had a VERY brief cup of tea last year for the Rox but according lately to manager Bud Black, he will be starting this season in AAA. People expect great things from McMahon, I went so far as predicting him to win Rookie of the Year for the NL. He has shown power and skill throughout the minor leagues and should be on the Opening Day roster for the Rockies. It is time for him to prove himself.
Whether Dahl exists or not is still a mystery, after having an incredible 2016 season ( .315,.359,.500) he struggled with many a few injuries, restricting him to only a couple rehab games. This of course, sparked a theory David Dahl is a ghost and so far in Spring Training he is having a pretty good time, especially for a ghost. He also might just start the season in AAA, since CarGo returned to the Rockies. He is such a ghost he is not on the Rockies depth chart but, trust me he is there and is going to contribute to the team very soon.
Well, the NL West got way more competitive, somehow. Last year, 3 teams from the NL West made the playoffs, both Wild Cards and the Division winner.
The Padres have built up for the future. The Padres are in for another rebuilding year, this time with an accomplished and well known player named Eric Hosmer. Will Hosmer make the Padres significantly better? Probably not, he is a average player who is being used as a centerpiece for the upcoming transition seasons for the Padres. But they could be a key spoiler, especially for NL West teams.
The Dbacks have lost a key player, but have tried to make up for it. The loss of star slugger JD Martinez was a blow to the team, to replace Martinez the Dbacks signed Jarrod Dyson and acquired Steven Souza Jr in a trade with the Rays. Souza has JD Martinez potential, with far better defense in the outfield so the loss may not be as large as it is made out to be. The Diamondbacks also still have ace Zack Greinke and perennial All-Star Paul Goldschmidt which makes them very tough competition for the Wild Card or possibly even division spots.
What is there to say? Last year they won 104 games, their 4th consecutive divison title and the NL pennant. They have not changed much, still the best team in the division whether we like it or not.
I have saved the most interesting case for last. The Giants went out and acquired Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Both players are in their 30’s and are in the decline of their careers. This team is in a odd and risky spot, they could be really good or really mediocre. They still have the talents of Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey as well, who have been consistently good. The Giants expect to compete, and very well could and they can just as easily fall apart like they did last year. It is an even year as well, if people still think that matters.
The Rockies are a very very good team, in a division that is at its most competitive in years. Every team has one defined superstar on it, whether it be Eric Hosmer or Clayton Kershaw. Perhaps all the competition will take a hit on the Rockies, a team that many have predicted to be under .500. I think that this team is special, it has been under the radar for a long time but they are good. They have 90-win potential, it is all about everything working for them. Are they World Series contenders? Probably not, but we will see. This is a team to keep an eye on, they could have the 2018 MVP and ROY. Don’t forget, here at NG Baseball we love Coors. Stay tuned for more of The Colorado Rockies Report as the baseball season progresses.