Tuesday, 13 March 2012

2012 Previews: Colorado Rockies


The Majors
 If there's a team that could surprise in the NL, it's probably the Rockies.  Assuming the Reds winning their division wouldn't be surprise to you, because it shouldn't.  It's not like this division is overly tough or anything, I just prefer the chances of both the D'Backs and Giants to the Rockies, mostly due to massive, huge, extraordinary pitching concerns.

The lineup should be fine.  Tulo and CarGo are obviously the main attractions offensively, but beyond that, the criminally underappreciated Marco Scutaro is an excellent addition at 2B, and he should fit in nicely in front of Tulo/CarGo. Michael Cuddyer should thrive at Coors, assuming the move to hitter-heaven allows him to remain anywhere near as skillful as he's been in the last couple of years.  The fact that he can play all over the diamond in at least a somewhat serviceable manner always helps.

The big question mark is the pitching staff.  Dan O'Dowd has actually gone out and found a bunch of flyball pitchers to play at Coors, which, on the surface, sounds completely fucking braindead.  I really struggle to find any sense here, but if, for some reason, all these flyball pitchers are inducing weak flyballs instead of liners, maybe the outfielders and go and get them and O'Dowd will have put together an effective staff on the cheap.  Seems ambitious.  Whatever that rotation is going to look like by opening day, it's just going to be a bunch of 3's and 4's, but with a halfway decent bullpen backing them up.  They truly miss a frontline starter, having moved Ubaldo, but now that we've found out recently that Ubaldo wasn't happy in Colorado, it makes more sense.

The Minors
The Ubaldo Jimenez trade from last summer shored up the system nicely.  Drew Pomeranz and newly-DUI'ed Alex White should provide some value going forward, and Nolan Arenado is one of the better infielder prospects in the game, but beyond that, it's a whole bunch of depth without a bunch of star-power. The club has been in "win now" mode for the most part since 2007, whether they were actually winning or not, so building up prospects hasn't really been the plan lately.  I find that they're kind of in limbo regarding what they should do over the next few years, but they just signed Tulo and CarGo to extensions, so it's tough to justify blowing up the rest of the team around them at the moment.

The Verdict
Without a solid rotation, I can't honestly trust this team to surprise anybody, especially in this park.  They'll probably be decent, and I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at how many games they win, since most are writing them off, but they won't contend down the stretch without going out and finding a frontline starter, which they don't really have the pieces for anyway.  They might get surprising contributions from Drew Pomeranz, but I doubt it will be enough.

Projection: 81-81, 3rd in the NL West

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