Venezuela may be home to the Andes mountain range, but it will soon be taken over by the Rockies.
Jhoulys Chacin and Carlos Gonzalez, born 27 months apart in Maracaibo, Venezuela, have already begun to be celebrities in their home town. At 23 and 25 years old, respectively, and under team control through at least 2015, both will have ample opportunity to raise that profile further in the coming years.
While February and March tends to be littered with what amounts to be overzealous optimistic fluff in the papers, it is hard not to buy in on the potential of Gonzalez and Chacin, each of whom have succeeded on mind-blowingly high proportions in purple pinstripes as young players more than they have failed.
Gonzalez has added 17 pounds of "good weight" to go allowing with his $80mil, according to Jim Tracy, bulk which is designed to prevent fatigue come November. Yes, November. The Little Pony has become a celebrity, and he is handling it the right way thus far. One cannot help but be excited to see what comes of Gonzalez with a full season in the three-hole, batting in front of Troy Tulowitzki, rather than toiling in the leadoff position until June 22. Jim Armstrong writes more on CarGo here.
Arguably more exciting than CarGo is 23-year-old fellow countryman Jhoulys Chacin, who posted some incredible numbers in his rookie season.....4-2 with a 1.77 ERA in NL West road parks.... 1.44 ERA over his final eight starts....a 3.28 ERA as a rookie, lower than any Rockie pitcher with 20+ starts ever, except for 2010's Ubaldo Jimenez.
The excitement and anticipation for what Chacin could be transcends standard spring fluff; it's palpable. Even if contributions from Chacin and Gonzalez do not result in a pennant in 2010, their impact could prove immesurable. Colorado's presence in Venezuela is notable and expanding; two of the top prospects in Rookie League Casper in 2010, Albert Campos and Rafael Ortega, are Venezuela natives.
Purple Row Staff Addition
It is not an easy task to stand out in a community of over 2500 people. Neither is it an easy task to maintain a consistently cool head in debates in said community, a faction principally comprised of deeply passionate, nay, obsessed sports fans with deep love for the Rockies organization and the game they play. One of Purple Row's long-time members has accomplished the first difficult task by standing out above all others in the second.
Citing her innate perspicacious nature in community dealings over an extended time period, it is my great pleasure to announce on behalf of the Purple Row staff the addition of holly96 to the staff as "ClubHouse Manager." She will primarily aid in the moderation of all threads and comment sections, equipped with warn and ban privileges. She has shown an ability to diffuse hostilities in threads in the past without these tools, so I imagine she will use them sparingly, yet they will undoubtedly be useful in the game threads she will prowl. I don't doubt she is the most levelheaded person to wield a banhammer in all of SB Nation, so if you get banned by her, you probably deserve it.
She will not add be charged with any writing responsibilities; however, should the rest of the staff be unavailable/unable to step in for a game wrap (as has happened on rare occasions), she can and will substitute on those. Please welcome holly96 to the staff.
How Good Is Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez? - Rob Neyer omitted Gonzalez by mistake from his rankings of the best right-fielders of the upcoming decade, so he devoted a column solely to the Rockies' outfielder. While Neyer buys in to the prowess of Jason Heyward and Jay Bruce, each of whom have one good major league season, he wants "to see (Gonzalez) play brilliantly for more than one season before assuming he's going to be a big star for the next nine seasons."
Baseball Prospectus | Fantasy Focus: Left Fielder Rankings Meanwhile, Marc Normandin at Baseball Prospectus ranks Gonzalez the #1 left-fielder available in fantasy for 2011.
Does Melo’s exit elevate Rockies? | Inside the Colorado Rockies Of course, there was big news across town last night. Another star player has left Colorado, and against what you may have been told, he wasn't forced out by the penny-pinching Monforts. Melo was arguably the lone star attraction of a player left outside of the Rockies, and Steve Foster asks a question I initially posed a week ago. New times are afoot indeed in Denver.
Quiet, secluded Tucson is losing spring baseball - MLB - Yahoo! Sports While we get so many stories of players and fans entranced with Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, there is always the other side of the coin. Tucson, an endearing city to be sure, has been left without professional baseball in February for the first time since the mid-forties. Yahoo's Steve Henson has their story.
Tracy sets early Cactus League rotation | ColoradoRockies.com: News
It's one small step towards game time.