Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Colorado Rockies preview

Could be the team to beat if it all comes together, or could finish well below .500. No one knows what is happening in this division, so trying to predict anything is silly. They’ll hit, because they always do. They have some good pitchers, and it’s a young team with some good speed. I think they’re the team to beat, and should win the division in a close race.


Chris Iannetta. The team can’t really figure out what they want from him. He starts, he doesn’t start; he has the job, doesn’t have the job. He can hit for power, at least in Coors, and he has a good on base percentage. His defense isn’t good, but he can play a lot of games and is young. Given a chance to play full time, he can be productive. For some reason, he’s not getting the chance.

Upside:  puts up the same numbers he did last time he was the starter

Downside:  already has the reputation of a back up

Score:  0

First base:

Todd Helton. The grand old man of the team, and the face of the franchise, but he doesn’t really have it any longer. Injuries have taken all of his power, and he hit a career low last year in everything. He can still draw a walk, but doesn’t get around the bases. His defense is good, but a slow start is going to get him on the bench. The only question will be whether or not he retires or accepts a trade to another team.

Upside:  one last year

Downside:  lack of production becomes a distraction

Score:  - 1

Second base:

Jose Lopez. A guy with a reputation for a hitter who really isn’t a hitter. He has some power and that might translate well to Coors, as long as he does hit. If he gets back his ability to hit for average, that will help also, as he doesn’t like to take a walk. He doesn’t run at all, so he needs to hit. He does play good defense, and that might be a strength on the team.

Upside:  gets his power back in Coors

Downside:  can’t hit enough to make a difference

Score:  + 1

Third base:

Ian Stewart. A big guy who doesn’t hit for enough power in the ballpark. He doesn’t have much extra base power and doesn’t run well either. His defense is below average, so you have to wonder how he is the best option for the team. He’s young and can still develop n the future. Not much plate discipline either, so he might not make it the entire season here.

Upside:  finds a power stroke

Downside:  becomes too important for the offense

Score:  - 1

Short stop:

Troy Tulowitzki. The new star of the team, and a good one. He’s doing it all and can hit outside of Coors. Found his power stroke, but could use more extra base hits. Runs well, but not often. Hits for average and can walk, and doesn’t shrike out too much. His defense is good, so he has added value to the team. Just hitting his prime, and he should get even better.

Upside:  rises to the superstar level

Downside:  this is his top level

Score:  + 2

Left field:

Carlos Gonzales. The best player on the team last year, people keep trying to find fault with his performance, but at the age of 25, I’m not sure why. He hit for power, average, walks, runs, and can do everything that is needed at the plate. He might be a product of Coors, but he plays half of his games there, so who cares. He’s good defensively as long as they leave him alone.

Upside:  the new Larry Walker

Downside:   a one hit wonder

Score:   + 2


Dexter Fowler. A good young switch-hitter who can hit for extra bases and run at will. The big knock is his lack of power, but not everyone hits homeruns. He gets on base, moves around them, and is the set up guy. He strikes out more than you want him to, but that isn’t an issue with the way the game is played today. He’s good defensively, and will anchor what will be the best defense in the league.

Upside:  starts using his speed better than now

Downside:  listens to those who say he should hit homeruns

Score:  + 1

Right field:

Seth Smith. A left handed platoon player who basically league average, he’s doing just enough to justify staying out there. He’ll spend a lot of time on the bench against left handers. Has the ability to draw a walk and doesn’t strike out very much. He has medium power, but doesn’t run well at all. He can play defense, just like everyone else, so he’ll help even if he doesn’t hit well.

Upside:  gets back to his 2009 numbers

Downside:  doesn’t hit well enough to stay in a platoon

Score:  0

Pinch hitter/general utility:

Ty Wigginton. A former starter who will be filling a back up role here, he’ll still get a lot of playing time at third and right field. Good power which could increase quite a bit in Coors. He’s not good defensively, but he is versatile at all corner positions. A guy like this is a valuable addition to a team like the Rockies, and he’ll enjoy being on a winning team.

Upside:  wants to make the playoffs

Downside:  can’t fill in all the places he’s needed

Score:  + 1

Backup catcher:

Jose Morales. A switch hitter who did well filling in for Joe Mauer might find his way in Coors. He hit for average and got on base a lot. He doesn’t run and doesn’t have any power, but doesn’t strike out very much. Defensively neutral, he’ll get plenty of playing time, and a shot to show what he can do. If he hits, it could end up in a platoon with Iannetta.

Upside:  hits like he did in Minnesota

Downside:  it was an aberration

Score:  0

Backup first baseman:

No one, unless Jason Giambi gets a roster spot, but that wouldn’t make much sense. All the starters figure to be full time starters, except for Smith, and that would be a straight platoon. Because of the nature of Coors, they’ll probably go a roster player short to carry an extra pitcher. The offense should be good, so pinch hitting situations should be reduced.

Upside:  anyone can fill the position

Downside:  comes back to haunt them when they need it most

Score:   - 2

Back-up infielder:

Jonathon Herrera. A switch hitting infielder who can play all of the positions. He doesn’t have any power, but he has a good on base percentage He doesn’t run, and has no extra base power. If he had to start somewhere besides short stop, he shouldn’t hurt the team, and might end up in some kind of platoon with Stewart. You don’t want him in there long term, but he’s okay.

Upside:  shouldn’t have much to do

Downside:  has to fill in for Tulowitzki

Score:  0

Back-up outfielder:

Ryan Spillborghs. The other side of the right field platoon; he can hit for average, and walks enough to be productive. He has no power and doesn’t get extra base hits or run at all. He’s striking out too much for the lack of power. His defense isn’t very good, but he’ll get time pinch hitting and filling in around the outfield. There is enough around him that he can be successful doing what he does every year.

Upside:  has an average year

Downside:  ends up staring somewhere in the outfield

Score:  0

Rotation (front 3):

Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge de la Rosa, and Jason Hammal. A Cy Young candidate and two other good starters if they are healthy. The back two need to pitch more innings and god deeper into the game. Good strike out rates, which will help in the ballpark. They allow a few too many runners, but that’s the hits more than the walks. They team will score with no problem, but the team success will depend on the pitching.

Upside:  they all pitch a full year

Downside:  injuries break down the staff

Score:  + 1

Rotation (back end):

Jhoulys Chacin and Esmil Rogers. Another good starter on the way up, and middle guy trying to break into the rotation. Chacin is a flame thrower who goes deep into the game. He’s young and has a good future. Rogers can strike out a bunch also, so he’ll be an asset as well. If these guys stay healthy and pitch as well as last year, the starting rotation is going to be good.

Upside: room to get better and they will

Downside:  Chacin comes back to Earth

Score:  0


Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom, Franklin Morales, and Matt Reynolds. A good bunch of relievers who can strike out a lot of batters, and in Coors, that’s a good thing to do. Too many of them pitch less than an inning an outing, and that could be a problem. The starters will have to go deep for this to work. They will obviously carry more responsibility than these guys, but these are the horses.

Upside: the starters average 7 innings a game

Downside:  they don’t make it to the sixth

Score:  + 1


Huston Street. An experienced close, he also has a history of injury problems and is hurt right now. When he’s healthy, he’s one of the better ones in the game, and still strikes out a lot of batters. The team is going to contend and Street has to be a big part of it. They do have some other guys who can do it if he can’t, but its going to hurt the bullpen.

Upside:  is healthy enough to help the team

Downside:  injuries do him in

Score:   + 1

Team speed (which includes base running):

Good, but not great. They steal bases at a pretty good clip, but could get more if everyone runs. They hit a lot of triples, but that’s park effect more than a speed issue. The outfield can run, and so can Tulowitzki. The speed will help out in the outfield, and they don’t have to rely on the homerun away from home. This is a positive for the team and more of it would be good to see.

Upside:  everyone gets the green light

Downside:  relies too much on the homerun

Score:  + 1

Team defense:

Excellent. They’re good at six out of eight positions, and have back ups who can play defense at those position. The outfield is going to be good, and that will help with the big area out there to cover. The team will always give up a lot of runs, so the more they can prevent, the better. This will be the best defense in the league, but no one will know it because of the amount of runs scored per game.

Upside:  will make a good pitching staff even better

Downside:  everyone wants to carry a bat more than a glove

Score:  + 2

Team batting:

It’s good, but how good? Are these guys really hitters, or is it all park effects? The biggest thing is whether or not they can hit away from home or not. Unless they just go crazy at home and win 55 games, and only have to be .500 on the road. They’ll hit a lot of homeruns, and they walk a lot, but they also strike out way too much. They are better than feast or famine.

Upside:  can hit on the road

Downside:  there’s no place like home

Score:  1

Team pitching:

Good, and should be a strength for the team. If everyone is healthy and can get a full year in, the team is looking at 90 wins. The starters are the key, as the bullpen doesn’t really go for a lot of innings. They will pitch a lot of games, but a few batters at a time. Street’s ability to stay healthy, or his inability to do so, will be a big factor, as there will be a lot of save opportunities. If you believe in them.

Upside:  starters pitch a lot of innings

Downside:  bullpen has to pitch too many

Score:  + 1

Total score:    + 11

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