With the Cactus League now in the books, it's just about time for the Rockies to head north to their regular season home. But first, Colorado will take a detour to scenic Tulsa Oklahoma to battle the AA Tulsa Drillers (a team full of interesting prospects) tonight. All the Rockies, that is, except for Ian Stewart, whose status for Opening Day remains in question due to some minor leg issues. As Troy Renck postulates, that could mean a roster spot for erstwhile speedster Willy Taveras.
Another former Rockie that won't be making the trip is Michael McKenry, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox yesterday for minor league reliever Daniel Turpen. As others have stated, this will open up a 40 man roster slot for Jason Giambi in time for Opening Day (T-2 days people).
It was Colorado's turn in Fangraphs' 2011 Organizational Rankings, which measure organizational success going forward based on four metrics -- Present Talent, Future Talent, Financial Resources, and Baseball Operations. The Rockies were picked 10th in MLB overall (one spot ahead of the Giants), with Present Talent receiving the highest ranking (T-5th).
The article mostly discussed Colorado's financial position (13th) -- namely that it's a lot stronger than many people would believe due to the Rockies' combination of regional appeal and the Front Range Urban corridor. I believe that this ranking is pretty fair overall, though I believe that the Rockies' front office is shortchanged a little bit, especially given the fact that most of the team is homegrown (and was developed by the current management), has drafted well recently, and has really opened up a nice talent pipeline from Latin America.
In other news, MLB has added a new 7 day DL specifically for concussions, which is a welcome and encouraging development for player safety.
After the jump, there's a few more links and my 2011 predictions.
Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman likes the Rockies to win the World Series this year (as the wild card) with Ubaldo winning the Cy Young award. Troy Tulowitzki is pretty high on the 2011 Rockies and Dan O'Dowd seemed pretty happy about how Spring Training went this year.
While we're on the topic of predictions, I figured that I might as well get mine on the record. I've already guaranteed a NL West title for the Rockies (by at least 3 games) this year -- here are the rest of my 2011 predictions:
In order of finish:
AL East: Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles
AL Central: White Sox, Twins, Tigers, Indians, Royals
AL West: Rangers, A's, Angels, Mariners
AL Wild Card: Rays
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez
AL CY: Jon Lester
AL ROY: Jeremy Hellickson
NL East: Phillies, Braves, Nationals, Mets, Marlins
NL Central: Brewers, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Astros
NL West: Rockies, Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks
NL Wild Card: Braves
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL CY: Roy Halladay
NL ROY: Freddie Freeman
World Series -- Rockies over Red Sox in 6
Wouldn't that be nice?