I am new to this posting thing, so please forgive me if this rambles on a bit or if I am posting it in the wrong section. I have been a Rockies fan since their inaugural season, and have read Purple Row for a majority of this last off season and this current season. I have found it to be a great place to learn about not only the current major league club, but what will be coming in the near future in terms of prospects, even if it is sometimes as seen through purple tinted glasses. As this is my first post, I feel it is appropriate to express my gratitude for the hard work you all put into your writing here and the enjoyable, informative pieces you have produced week in and out.
This season has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. The team has both under and over performed for long stretches, but in the end I do not feel that they are undeserving of their 47-41 record and could easily be several games better. They have a lot of young talent, most of which is finally turning potential into performance. The starting pitching has been surprisingly good, and the bullpen has had its ups and downs.
I agree with Jim Tracy, that the offense will only get better in the second half. Iannetta, Atkins, and Tulo have been improving over the past month+. Tulo is proving that last year was the fluke year, not his rookie year. Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter are still young and learning how to hit at the major league level, and I feel they have been improving, though they still have a ways to go. This offense will steadily improve as the season progresses. While I have been frustrated to see CarGo strike out seemingly every time he comes to the plate, it is worth the headaches now for a 5 tool player in the near future. I admit there will come a point where he needs to start putting it together consistently, but there have been signs recently in his approach at the plate and in his results that he may be on the verge of breaking out.
I think the first 10 games out of the break will give the Rockies a chance to gain ground on SF and we should have a good idea of how the rest of the summer will play out when the Mets series starts. If the Rockies can win their series against SD, ARI and SF, they should not only be leading the wild card, but should be amongst the favorites to win it since they will have a highly favorable schedule left with many home games and series against the teams lower in the standings. I am looking forward to the Mets series not only to see if they can take the lead in the wild card, but also because I am going to my yearly Rockies game July 28 at Citifield.
The biggest rival for the Wild Card is SF at this time. I believe San Francisco has been over performing on offense. Their BABIP is amongst the league leaders while their pitches per plate appearance are the worst in the NL (3.61 compared to a 3.83 average). They are swinging early in counts and getting hits. If teams adjust and start to take advantage of their free swinging tendencies and stop grooving pitches early in counts to get ahead, I can see their run production dropping in the second half. Their pitching is still just about as good as it gets, so they will be in competition for the Wild Card right until the end of the season, but ultimately I think/hope they fall short.
I don’t think the Rockies need to trade for Halladay or make any blockbuster deals that would set the farm system back for years, but would really like to see either some of the young pitching talent brought up to shore up the bullpen, or a trade for some good middle relief. While many of the young guns we have in the minors should be starters in the future (Chacin, Deduno, Hynick, etc.) I think some of these guys could benefit the big league club by pitching in relief, similar to what the Yankees did with Joba Chamberlain, the Rays did with Price, and the Cardinals did with Wainwright. I know it is not easy to pitch every day when you are used to every fifth day and it is a bit of a risk health wise, but I think they can handle it, plus it gets them acclimated to pitching in the big leagues sooner. I have read that pitchers tend to take about 100 innings to show what kind of player they will be, and it would be nice to get Chacin et. al. into position to help the big league club for years to come. With a couple of reinforcements in the bullpen, I think this team could be as dangerous as anyone in the NL.
I hope I am not drinking too much purple KoolAid, and this team really is the contender it has shown itself to be over the past 5 weeks. I am looking forward to the rest of the season and hope the rest of you Rockies fans are too.