Colorado Rockies State Of The Union For 2014

 

 This club often reminds me of an aging heavyweight fighter.  You may beat on them for a time, but there is always that chance the team will land a haymaker on you.  2007 was one of their days in the sunshine.  2014 may see them at least make the postseason again.  With a 20 - 1 odd for the club, the value is there for a longshot pick.

This club often reminds me of an aging heavyweight fighter. You may beat on them for a time, but there is always that chance the team will land a haymaker on you. 2007 was one of their days in the sunshine. 2014 may see them at least make the postseason again. With a 20 – 1 odd for the club, the value is there for a longshot pick – should you be allowed to gamble on this chance.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Colorado Rockies brass were a busy bunch in the 2013 winter, heading into the 2014 year.  They have picked up several solid players for the upcoming campaign.

I simply hate that this club plays in the NL West with the Dodgers and Giants.

This year, just like any in recent memory, will depend heavily on whether the team can keep Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.

When both are clubbing it, this 3 – 4 punch may be the best in baseball now that Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera have been separated.

Even with playing teams in the NL West with Parks like Petco, Dodger Stadium and AT &T Park, Rockies player gets 81 games of AB versus 27 against the other parks or 75-25 %.  The Rockies continue to lead the MLB for Home Averages year in and year out.

Even with playing teams in the NL West with Parks like Petco, Dodger Stadium and AT &T Park, Rockies player gets 81 games of AB at home versus 27 against the other parks or 75-25 % with pitcher advantage situations in the NL West. The Rockies continue to lead the MLB for Home Averages year in and year out, having accomplished the feat over 85% of the time.  Even the post – humidor days have only seen a 10% reduction, but it is not enough for hem to be usurped most seasons.  The Coors Field fans are one great fanbase, drawing in between 2.5 MIL – 3.0 MIL despite only having 6 winning seasons out of 21 franchise campaigns.

Coors Field provides so many weird anomalies because of the climate on the players.

Pitchers have a tough time with the air, while the hitters have superhuman efforts in Denver, and tend to struggle abroad.

Walt Weiss comes back for a 2nd year to manage the club, trying to improve on the 74 victory mark of 2013.

He should be skippering a team with the best offense in the NL.

The biggest question will be who will hit 1st?  With Michael Cuddyer (RF) hitting 2nd, Carlos Gonzalez (LF) hitting 3rd, Troy Tulowitzki (SS) batting cleanup, followed by Justin Morneau (1B), Wilin Rosario (C) and Nolan Arenado (3B) batting between 2 and 7, so that leaves the 2B and CF slot.

We are talking about D.J. LeMahieu, Corey Dickerson or possibly Drew Stubbs, but I think the most logical choice has to be Dickerson.

If Stubbs makes it into any lineup, he simply doesn’t have the OBP to hit 1st.

Dickerson has hit at every level – including bouncing 23 base hits of the extra bag variety during the 2013 season (13 – 2B, 5 – 3B and 5 HRs) in just 194 AB.

The 2010 Rockies Draft Pick also features a Minor League OBP of .379, and what is good, is his Strikeout rate isn’t horrible.

Yes he K’d 41 times in 213 Plate Appearance for the big team last year, but he may be able to cut the down with his 2nd time through the league.

MIchael Cuddyer was probably the most unlikely candidate to win a NL Batting Championship in 2013, but that s exactly what he did with a .331 BA.  He is only a .277 career hitter.

MIchael Cuddyer was probably the most unlikely candidate to win a NL Batting Championship in 2013, but that s exactly what he did with a .331 BA. He is only a .277 career hitter.

Out of the 2nd slot will be NL reigning Batting Champion Michael Cuddyer.

The RF hit a career high of .331 during 2013, however I am thinking a slight regression may come in 2014.

If he could maintain an average around .300, with an OBP in the .360’s, then it should pave the way for CARGO and TULO.

Carlos Gonzalez is latest in the long list of players to take advantage of the thin air in Denver.  CARGO has destroyed the cover off of the ball at a 3 Slash Line of .339/.403/1.033 - with 79 HRs and 253 RBI in just 1168 (or the equivalency of playing 2 full seasons at Coors Field.  His road 3 Slash is .269/.324/.774 - with 48 HRs and 148 RBI in 1248 AB.  To be fair, 2013 he has evolved to hit everywhere finally, sporting a .987 OPS on the Road - to a .930 mark at home.   The 28 year old, will make $63.5 MIL over the next 4 years, but that is decent when yoiu consider the MVP type numbers he is putting up every year.

Carlos Gonzalez is latest in the long list of players to take advantage of the thin air in Denver. CARGO has destroyed the cover off of the ball at a 3 Slash Line of .339/.403/1.033 – with 79 HRs and 253 RBI in just 1168 (or the equivalency of playing 2 full seasons at Coors Field. His road 3 Slash is .269/.324/.774 – with 48 HRs and 148 RBI in 1248 AB. To be fair, 2013 he has evolved to hit everywhere finally, sporting a .987 OPS on the Road – to a .930 mark at home.

If Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki played a full year each right now, it could be assumed both would hit north of .300, with 30+ HRs and 100+ RBI – with OPS’s and Gold Glove defense.

Projected 3 Slashes for both.  Gonzalez .305/.370/.555, Tulowitzki – .310/.400/.525.  I am not going to put up power totals, as I sort of said it already up above.

Troy Tulowitzki is one of the best all-round shortstops in baseball. he plays Gold Glove caliber defense, and he actually hits well pretty much anywhere whether home (.935 OPS) and Away (.819 OPS).  The team always plays better with their franchise Shortstop is in the lineup - and they have a punchers chance to compete in their Division.  Tulo is owed $134 MIL over the next 7 years, and could easily command that type of salary on the open market

Troy Tulowitzki is one of the best all-round shortstops in baseball. he plays Gold Glove caliber defense, and he actually hits well pretty much anywhere whether home (.935 OPS) and Away (.819 OPS). The team always plays better with their franchise Shortstop is in the lineup – and they have a punchers chance to compete in their Division. Tulo is owed $134 MIL over the next 7 years, and could easily command that type of salary on the open market

Justin Morneau should have a comeback year at .290/.340/.475 – with 27 HRs and 95 RBI.

At the time of his concussion in 2010, Morneau had made 5 straight ALL-Star teams and had made 526 RBI in 4 and a half seasons.  His 2010 OPS was 1.055.  He fell off to .613 in 2011, before a slight rebound of .773 in 2012 - and .736 OPS in 2013 - where he played his 1st full season since his 2006 AL MVP year.  A move to Coors Field should see him put up better numbers, and at least provide the power Todd Helton had in the last few years.

At the time of his concussion in 2010, Morneau had made 5 straight ALL-Star teams and had made 526 RBI in 4 and a half seasons. His 2010 OPS was 1.055. He fell off to .613 in 2011, before a slight rebound of .773 in 2012 – and .736 OPS in 2013 – where he played his 1st full season since his 2006 AL MVP year. A move to Coors Field should see him put up better numbers, and at least provide the power Todd Helton had in the last few years.

Wilin Rosario may hit 30+ HRs, have a high Batting Average and also an OPS of above .800.

If you don't know how good Wilin Rosario is yet, you will very soon.  This guy is putting up monster numbers from the Catchers position.  In his 1st 899 Career At - Bats, he has launched 52 HRs and driven in 158  RBI.  The 24 Year Old finished 4th in NL Rookie of the Year Voting in 2012 with 28 HRs in just 396 AB. 2013 saw him drop to 21 big flies, but he should jump to over 30 HRs this year.

If you don’t know how good Wilin Rosario is yet, you will very soon. This guy is putting up monster numbers from the Catchers position. In his 1st 899 Career At – Bats, he has launched 52 HRs and driven in 158 RBI. The 24 Year Old finished 4th in NL Rookie of the Year Voting in 2012 with 28 HRs in just 396 AB. 2013 saw him drop to 21 big flies, but he should jump to over 30 HRs this year.

Nolan Arenado will win a Gold Glove, club 55+ XBH, reach nearly 20 HRs, and improve on his 2013 slash of .267/.301/.405.

This team is totally dangerous through that part of the lineup.

Guys in the 8th slot like Drew Stubbs, or the team’s 2B are the only real players that may be less than ideal.

Stubbs can even clock you an odd HR.  Other guys who will see bench duty include Brandon Barnes, Charlie Blackmon, Jordan Pacheco and Charlie Culberson.

The Pitching Staff has been bolstered by several new additions.

Starters Franklin Morales and Brett Anderson were acquired via trade, while Relievers Boone Logan and LaTroy Hawkins will join the Relief core.

Jorge De La Rosa is already 6th on the ALL - Time Franchise Win List with a Record of 53 - 34.  Where so many Pitchers have struggled to have success - he has a 35 - 12 Record and a 4.21 ERA in Denver.  He was acquired from the Kansas City Royals a month into the 2008 year.  The man was originally drafted as an amateur Free Agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Jorge De La Rosa is already 6th on the ALL – Time Franchise Win List with a Record of 53 – 34. Where so many Pitchers have struggled to have success – he has a 35 – 12 Record and a 4.21 ERA in Denver.

The staff was much better in 2013 with the return of  Jorge De La Rosa – and the emergence of Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood.

It is important to note the Chacin and Bullpen arm Logan are on the Disabled List to start the year.

De La Rosa is the best chucker on the starting staff by far.  He went 16 – 6, with a nice 3.49 ERA.

The man knows how to pitch in Coors Field, and is a veteran of 6 seasons with Colorado – and is a Free Agent after this upcoming season.

Tyler Chatwood is one of the promising young pitchers that the Rockies have on their roster. He won 8 games for the club in 2013, with a 3.17 ERA  He was acquired for Chris Iannetta.  A great deal when you consider the team had a young Wilin Rosario waiting in the wings anyway.

Tyler Chatwood is one of the promising young pitchers that the Rockies have on their roster. He won 8 games for the club in 2013, with a 3.15 ERA. He was acquired for Chris Iannetta. A great deal when you consider the team had a young Wilin Rosario waiting in the wings anyway.

Chatwood was an awesome steal job from the Angels for Chris Iannetta in return.

In his 1st full season, he went 8 – 5, with a 3.15 ERA.  The Right Hander held down a 3.50 ERA in 11 Game Starts at Coors, while he served up a 2.72 ERA on the road.

To start the year, Chatwood is questionable for his 1st start the year, nursing a strained left hamstring.

Brett Anderson was once hailed a can’t miss prospect in baseball.  Suffering through many injuries has slowed down his development.

Dealing back Drew Pomeranz (one of the main pieces in the Ubaldo Jimenez 2012 trade) was what it took to land the LHP.

He should significantly help the rotation this season.  Anderson has a 3.81 ERA for his 450.2 IP worth of experience thus far.

Oakland did give some cash, but Anderson makes only $8 MIL in 2014 anyway.  He does have a $12 MIL Team Option for 2015 too.

This kind of deal is a nice way to compliment a lower salaried team with an additional arm without being locked down long-term.

Think of the Pirates trading for Wandy Rodriguez or A.J. Burnett.

The departed team picked up some salary, and the exchange was a liveable contract, that would not cripple you should it not work.

If Anderson works out, the team should have no problem absorbing that 2015 Option.

This also provides insurance against Jorge De La Rosa fleeing for Free Agency after this year.

Pomeranz had not worked out in his time, so it was a nice deal for both clubs.

Juan Nicasio lugged 157.2 IP out of the 5th Starters slot last year.  While his ERA was not that great at 5.14, this is to be expected from whomever is at the back end of Colorado’s rotation.

Bullpen

LaTroy Hawkins at age 41, will start his 20th MLB season as the club’s projected Closer.  This guy is an ultimate professional and will not be overwhelmed by throwing in Denver.

Hawkins has appeared in 172 games over the last 3 years, and has had his best stretch of throwing in his career.

In 2013 alone, he pitched his most innings since 2004, with 70.2 frames tossed.  He was the Mets lock down arm at the end of the year with 13 Saves and 2.93 ERA.

Rex Brothers was one of the more dominant LHP in the game of baseball, and was notably robbed of an ALL - Star Game at Citi Field for his efforts.

Rex Brothers was one of the more dominant LHP in the game of baseball, and was notably robbed of an ALL – Star Game at Citi Field for his efforts in 2013.

Rex Brothers will be the primary setup guy for Hawkins, and could seamlessly be the go to guy later in the year.

The 26 Year Old should have been an ALL – Star selection with his 1st half numbers (0.91 ERA in 39.2 IP.)

Brothers will be with fellow LHP Boone Logan in the Relief Core through this year.

Paying $16.5 MIL/over 3 years for any Reliever not your Closer or setup guy is strangely odd for the franchise, having said that Logan is a workhorse.

He also will be starting the year on the DL with left elbow inflammation.

Logan has appeared in 256 Games covering the 2010 – 2013 years, and has been quite effective with a 3.38 ERA and a 19 – 7 record.

Keep in mind his numbers hailed from the AL East..actually good comparisons to Coors Field.

Adam Ottavino, newly Rule 5 Draft Tommy Kahnle, may join Wilton Lopez and Matt Belisle as others who will see late inning action.

The Rox must have good production from these guys considering they will be working lots.

When all is said and done, it should be a normal year in Colorado, if you call it either an under .500 season, or near a post season berth.

I, for one, think they will improve on 74 victories.  Maybe an 80 – 83 win campaign should be in the cards.

If Tulo and Cargo stay healthy, they should play meaningful games into September.

The Rockies have struggled to compete after making the playoffs in 2011.  Colorado has battled injuries, and has watched the Giants and Dodgers begin to pull away from the rest of the Division in terms of payroll.

The Rockies have struggled to compete after making the playoffs in 2011. Colorado has battled injuries, and has watched the Giants and Dodgers begin to pull away from the rest of the Division in terms of payroll.  The Rockies being their 2nd year under the tutelage of skipper Walt Weiss.  The team had improved four games from 2012 – 2013, however will need a huge improvement to compete in 2014.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at http://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/
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