With the hot stove season kicking up, a lot of the Rockies fans seem to be divided as to how close this team is to competing. Some think we should blow things up and start over, starting with a trade of Tulo, Cargo, Fowler, Cuddyer, etc.
Others think that we are not to far off, and with some smart additions, we might have a shot at competing as early as next year. The Front office seems to hold this view point, as do I. Lets take a look back at one season, and see just where the Rockies are at in comparison.
As you can see, this team had established starters at 3b, LF, RF, 2b, and LF. It was getting below average production from CF and Catcher, and SS was an area that needed to be improved as well. The good news however, was the top position prospect in the Rockies system was knocking on the door, and would be ready the following season to help the Rockies in a big way. There were also interesting bench players who where making their way on the team as well.
Lets look at the pitching of this mystery team.
On the pitching side of things, this team had 3 fairly decent starters, however it is fair to note that SP2 was traded that off season. The bullpen had a mix of good RP options, and then some replacement level pitchers thrown in the mix.
It should also be noted, that on this team, 2 of it's top pitching prospects where close to major league ready, and SP3 had shown some encouraging signs of being a solid middle of the rotation starter.
If you haven't figured it out yet, this team was the 2006 Rockies Team. Now, that team wasn't good. They finished with 76 wins on the year, and clearly had some holes. However, they also had a solid core of players, and they had guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Tulo, Seth Smith, and Manny Corpas ready to make an impact the following season.
People tend to dismiss the following 2007 because of the streak. They tend to forget that in the months of July and August, the Rockies played .566 baseball in those two months, which over a full season would equal about 91 wins. All the streak did was correct for what was a horrible April, but the 2007 team was good throughout the whole season, and back in 2006, people wouldn't have thought that team was that close.
Lets look at where we are today, compared to that 2006 team.
So we have stars at SS, and LF, a rising star a 3b, solid players at 1b, Catcher and RF, and a glove only 2b. Just on our lineup alone we are nearly 3 rWAR better then the 2006 team, and we have a rising star at 3b who could be a 5+ rWAR player if he can even hit at a league average pace. If we are able to find a 2 WAR player at 1b, then we will be miles ahead of that 2007 squad going into next year.
Lets look at pitching.
Our rotation alone is 3.7 WAR better then the 2006 Squad, and unlike the 2007 squad who had to replace Jason Jennings' 5 rWAR season, our top 3 pitchers aren't going anywhere. Like the team that was heading into 2007, we have our top two pitching prospects very close to making an impact in the near future, much like Ubaldo and Morales did.
The bullpen is also about 2 WAR better then the 2006 squad, and the only RP we need to replace to match that is Raffy's 0.2 rWAR.
The off season of 2006, the franchise was thinking about trading their face of the franchise to the Boston Red Sox. They didn't. The front office was smart enough to recognize that they had a good core in place, and they were only a few moves away from competing. They ended up Traded Jason Jennings for Jason Hirsh, Willy Taveras, and Taylor Buchholz. A deal that would be a steal at the time for O'Dowd. They also added some under the radar pitchers in Rodrigo Lopez, Jorge Julio, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Herges, and Jeremy Affeldt (who was traded for in 2006). They allowed for Tulo to develop into the star he is, and mid season they let Ubaldo do his thing. The rest is history.
This core we have now is much better then the core was back then. When the front office says they just need to add pieces, they are 100 percent spot on. Why? Because they have been here before. If you add a bat for 1b/RF, A starter (like Rodrigo Lopez was to the Rockies in 2007) and a few bullpen arms, we will have a good team that can make a run at things.
We shouldn't burn it down and start over. We are close, and with the right moves we will see Rocktober once again.