I have been a diehard Colorado Rockies fan my entire life. There is nothing I love more than watching a game on a sunny afternoon at Coors, while eating a Denver-Style X-Tream dog. The only bad part about going to a Rockies game, is the actual game. I know many sports fans out there know just how us in Denver feel, we suck. The Rockies haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, and in their 23 year history, have only reached the playoffs three times. Despite winning a National League Pennant in 2007, the Rockies have yet to win the NL-West. This year will be no exception.
Normally, I have a little faith in my team in the beginning of the year, like most fans ( *cough* *cough* Cubs). But this year I do not. There are a number of reasons why I believe we will end up in last, again.
First off, our pitching. Shocking, the Rockies pitching is going to struggle. Granted, last year the Rockies starters were not as awful as usual (5.34 ERA). It was the bullpen that was the problem. Last year the bullpen had a combined ERA of 6.26, vs the league average of 3.71. This year, the Rockies have barley improved, adding a few guys from the dreadful Troy Tulowitzki trade (Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco), and added a few more from the interesting Corey Dickerson trade (Jake McGee and German Marquez). Now, I understand these are good prospects, but they’re going to have trouble being affective this year. The only real pitching help the Rockies got from the offseason was ownership raising the fences 9 feet all around center and right. This way, maybe we might not give up 183 home runs this season (league worst). To make all of this worse, Jorge De La Rosa is taking the mound on Opening Day. Until July of last year, De La was winless at Chase Field. Coming into Opening Day vs. Zack Greinke (good luck) with an overall record of 1-8 at Chase field isn’t exactly promising.
Lastly, our hitting. Of course the Rockies are going to be a dominant force at the plate. The only problem is, it isn’t good enough to mask their terrible pitching. Last season, the Rockies hit 182 home runs (2nd best in the NL). Too bad that they also gave up 183 home runs (yeah, exactly one more), making that a league worst. This year should be different for the Rockies though. Trading away big time bats Corey Dickerson and Troy Tulowitzki is definitely going to hurt, but when you look at their replacements, it’s a little scary. Now, if Walt Weiss is smart, shortstop won’t be an issue. Between dominant prospects Christian Adames and Trevor Story, we should be fine. But knowing Walt Weiss, whenever Jose Reyes comes back, he probably is going to play. Of course with Trevor Story, and the rest of the Gold-Glove winning Rockies infield (DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado), fielding will be a non-factor. As you look at the outfield, you have the always entertaining Carlos Gonzalez, the ever consistent .275-.300 hitter Charlie Blackmon, and then three interesting players. To start, my personal favorite, Brandon Barnes. Barnes may not exactly be the power hitter of the team, but it is my belief that he is the best 8-hole hitter in the game. If you ask Barnes to do something, he’ll do it. That ranges from bunts, to hit and runs, to steals, to amazing catches in the field. His ever amazing nickname “double espresso” suits his style of play well. Next is Ryan Raburn. Now a veteran, Raburn has hit .256 in his 10 year career. Not very impressive compared to most Rockies. But when you look at his stats last year .301/.393/.543, you see his true potential. Put this kid in Coors with a bat, and he might turn some heads. Lastly, we have Gerardo Parra. The simple truth about Parra is, when he plays a lot, he does well. In seasons where he plays more than 100 games, he hits .292 vs .237 in seasons under 100 games. Parra should be interesting, along with Barnes and Raburn. The only concern is, is it enough to balance out the pitching? My bet is no, but here’s hoping.