I know that I've been pretty doom and gloom about this team in recent weeks. Having the month of May that the Rockies have had will do that. However, I think that I've gotten most of the frustration out of my system now. Not only is the June Rule 4 Draft right around the corner, but this team has quite a few reasons to keep watching them even if they don't threaten .500 again this year.
1. May is almost over
The Rockies have gone 8-18 in the month so far (after going 8-21 in May 2011), during which they've averaged 4.8 runs a game. They've been so unsuccessful because the pitching staff has allowed over 6 runs a game in that stretch. I'll wager that some serious regression to the mean on that front will occur, but the real reason that I think the Rockies will be considerably better in June is their schedule.
The Rockies have 15 home games in the month and many of their 12 road games will come in hitters parks (Arizona, Detroit, Philadelphia, Texas). I believe that this will help mitigate the Coors effect somewhat for close to an entire month, allowing the offense to stay in rhythm. The pitching might still be bad, but I think that the offense can be better than it has shown so far. The Hardball Times reviews the NL West so far.
2. Dexter, he's so hot right now. Dexter.
As the driver of the Dexter Fowler bandwagon (I believe that he'll be an All-Star multiple times), I have to mention that he is hitting .327/.444/.673 (195 wRC+) in May after his huge day on Monday. Dave Krieger writes that this is what we've been waiting for from Dex. The defensive metrics hate his play in center field, but then again I am dubious of them when it comes to measuring OF defense at Coors. As Andrew 2 said yesterday, Dex needs to be leading off and playing every day. In other words, he needs to be given a chance to break out a la Carlos Gonzalez in 2009.
We've seen this kind of run from Dex before, and it lasted the entire second half of 2011. I'm extremely interested to see if he can maintain his slugging while remaining an OBP machine if left atop the batting order. If he can, the Rockies might be set at CF for a long time.
3. Cargo and Tulo are really good at baseball.
Say what you will about Troy Tulowitzki's 2012, but he's still managed to put up a darn good line (.288/.362/.486, 119 wRC+) despite struggling mightily. When he goes thermonuclear (and trust me, he will), it's one of the most exciting experiences in baseball -- I wouldn't want anyone to miss it.
Meanwhile, Colorado's other superstar has been quietly awesome (if that's possible) so far in 2012, hitting .309/.381/.575 with a 153 wRC+. Even better, he's managed to stay healthy and productive throughout -- and he's really heating up now. The combination of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki is one the best 1-2 punches in the big leagues -- and when both are hot at once, I don't think that there's a duo that can match them.
4. The kids are all right
Wilin Rosario has been pressed into full-time duty at catcher and is running with it. Jordan Pacheco has hit well in his 2nd tour this season with Colorado. Christian Friedrich has risen from the depths of the prospect ladder to become an intriguing rotation option.
There are a number of talented young players to watch who are already on this team, and there's more on the farm who might be big-time contributors in the near future. As the season goes on, more of these players will get an opportunity to experience the Show and to demonstrate that they belong. By the end of the year, Colorado needs to have given their young prospects enough run to know which pieces to build 2013 and beyond around.
5. Watching baseball on a summer night is simply exquisite
If we had nothing else, we'd have this. Watching a baseball game on a summer night at Coors Field while the sun sets over the Rockies is a phenomenal experience every time for me. The Rockies may have had a lousy season so far, but much of that frustration and anger I have with this team evaporates the moment I step into Coors Field.
Maybe I'm just easily distracted, but the kind of escapism provided by a summer night at Coors really does the body good. I look forward to many such nights this summer.