This season has become officially too much to handle. Not only are the Rockies in the process of mailing it in for the second consecutive September (with last night's loss being their ninth straight), but division rivals from the Diamondbacks (who clinched the NL West last night) to the Dodgers (whose centerfielder has a very real shot at winning the triple crown) are stealing the headlines.
The D-Backs situation, in particular, really hit close to home. As I watched their celebration last night, I was overcome with all of the memories from when the Rockies clinched a playoff spot on their home field just two short years ago. Simply put, that was one of the best sports-related days that I can remember. I swear I shared the exact same feelings that the guys had while popping bottles and pumping jams such as "Boom Boom Pow" and "All the Above" on a constant loop in the clubhouse. The overwhelming feeling was not only that all of the perseverance paid off, but also that all of the pieces were in place to do this over and over again for several years to come. Now, two straight awful end-of-seasons later, I don't know what to feel.
Oh well, I don't get paid to write about my feelings, so here are some links:
MLB: Colorado Rockies' 2011 fate and 2012 prospects - ESPN (Insider Only)
As part of ESPN's "Kiss 'Em Goodbye" series, Baseball Prospectus teamed up with the four-letter network and detailed what went wrong with the Rockies in 2011, plus what they can expect next season. It's an insider article, but luckily for you guys I'm a subscriber.
The gist is that BP believes the Rox still have a great young core and a solid up-the-middle nucleus (led by Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Iannetta, and a rejuvenated Dexter Fowler). However, they're worried about the gigantic regression of Colorado's run prevention scheme, citing decreased groundball and strikeout rates, increased home run rates, and below-average defense (in terms of defensive efficiency). It's worth noting that they're not worried about Alex White's alarming amount of home runs allowed, but they believe he'll be better served starting 2012 in the minor leagues.
Bowden thinks the Rockies need to acquire a decent starter, and throws Wandy Rodriguez's name out there as one who can stabilize the rotation. He goes as far as to say that if they do get Rodriguez, they could make a run at the division title. Szymborski sees the Rockies' worst-case scenario as basically a repeat of this year. Best-case? They'll go 90-72.
Finally, here's an excerpt about the Rockies' organizational future, from Kevin Goldstein:
While the Rockies disappointed at the big league level in 2011, there was plenty of good news down on the farm. With a combination of plus power and arm strength, Wilin Rosario returned from knee surgery to stake his claim as the catcher of the future, while his Texas League teammate, outfielder Tim Wheeler, exploded with 33 home runs and 21 stolen bases while hitting .287/.365/.535. The most remarkable story, however, was 2009 first-round pick Tyler Matzek, who was looking like a bust with a 9.82 ERA after 10 starts for High Class A Modesto before leaving the organization to work with his high school coach and rediscover his mechanics. He returned with the kind of velocity not seen since his prep days, and while the command still needs work, at least his ceiling is back. Despite an ugly 2011, the Rockies remain young and talented, and they should play a role in the National League West for years to come.
That kind of makes me feel good, but I'm more skeptical than ever about believing in the Rockies' organizational strategy.
More after the jump...
Rockies' Iannetta has inside track as starting catcher in 2012 - The Denver Post
Very good stuff on Chris Iannetta from Troy Renck, who seems to have his own stance in the catcher wars.