Okay folks, pop quiz time.
Grab yourself a No. 2 pencil and a blank sheet of paper.
Today's topic? Colorado offense last summer; specifically from June 20th onward.
Below are the stat lines of five Rockies players from June 20th, 2012 through the end of last season followed by a list of those same five players. You job is to match the player to stat line. Good luck. (slash lines are batting average / on base percentage / OPS)
Player A) 252 plate appearances, 6 home runs, .332 / .364 / .858
Player B) 353 plate appearances, 4 home runs, .316 / .352 / .778
Player C) 314 plate appearances, 11 home runs, .289 / .328 / .847
Player D) 207 plate appearances, 2 home runs, .313 / .343 / .786
Player E) 310 plate appearances, 5 home runs, .275 / .352 / .755
1) Chris Nelson
2) Jordan Pacheco
3) Tyler Colvin
4) DJ LeMahieu
5) Carlos Gonzalez
Take a few moments to think about it.
Alright, pencils down. If your players were in the exact order that the stats were listed, congratulations - You got a 100.
Most importantly though, did you get Carlos Gonzalez right? If you didn't, take a look at something I'm sure many of you have already noticed. Carlos Gonzalez had a lower OPS from June 20th onward than Chris Nelson, Jordan Pacheco, Tyler Colvin, and DJ LeMahieu. This is not over a particularly tiny sample size either. This is over a half season worth of plate appearances.
The obvious question then becomes "Why"? - Which I hate because it forces us to speculate on things we just don't know for sure. Was it just a bad slump? Did he miss his bash brother Tulo batting behind him? Was he trying to make other adjustments at the plate to improve for the future in a lost season? We just have no way of knowing for sure.
One of the numbers that stands out in particular with Cargo here is five - As in the number of home runs he hit from mid June on. This is very curious because through mid June last season, Cargo was looking at a 2010 repeat at the plate with a 1.023 OPS and 17 home runs. Again though, this leaves us with more questions than answers.
One explanation that would fit the timeline is that Cargo may have been playing through injury and was not 100 percent. Following a game against Detroit on June 16th, Cargo was out of the lineup for three days with a sore right hamstring. He was back in action on the 20th an continued to play throughout the summer, but he was never the same hitter.
I don't want to make an excuse for him that doesn't exist, but that sore hamstring cutting into his power and forcing him to play extremely cautious on defense would really fit this timeline well. At this point however, it's just speculation.
Whatever it was that knocked Cargo's power out last summer, the Rockies need to find it and fix it if they hope to be competitive in 2013. A part of me actually hopes he was banged up though, because if he was not at full strength, then he's more likely to post an OPS above .950 in 2013 if healthy.
In addition, I have this dream of a Cargo - Tulo - Rosario combination terrorizing opposing pitchers this season and combining to hit 100 home runs. Cargo's probably going to have to hit at least 30 for that to happen.
Troy Renck talks about the upcoming season for Jhoulys Chacinand why it could be his best yet.
As linked last week, Tyler Anderson received an invitation to Rockies Spring Training 2013. Thomas Harding shows us just how high the club is on this young pitcher.
Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler are both happy to be Rockies after their names swirled in trade rumors for most of the winter. This link also talks about a possible two year deal for Fowler as he and the club have not come to terms on a contract just yet.
The Rockies shot their 2013 batch of commercials yesterday. Hopefully they are better than last year's bunch.