Well folks, it's almost time for the games to start counting. We've looked at projections, made predictions, altered those predictions based on spring performances, realized spring can be misleading and gone back to our original predictions and done it all again just to make sure we washed behind our ears. But I couldn't resist one more way of looking at the team before this circus hits the road. I've dropped a few hints in previous articles but I just want to say for the record that I love me some MLB 2K (this year's version is MLB 2k13, clever I know) and would like to this last Spring Training article to write about how the franchise sees our beloved Rockies.
For those who are imminently unfamiliar with sports video games, or video games in general, let me first explain a few things. Modern sports games are often mocked by regular gamers (rightfully so) for their reluctance to make major developments and changes in favor of rehashing essentially the same game every year with a few statistical upgrades. This is most certainly true most of the time. However, it should also be noted that moderns sports games are also amazing simulators and approximations of their respective sports.
Ask a locker room of professional athletes how they spend their spare time and I'd put the over/under at 80% of those who would tell you it involves playing sports video games. Anymore, the games are incredibly detailed in terms of forcing the player to commit to the actual strategy and execution of each sport, especially on the highest difficulties. I'm not saying they use them to train or scout (although I honestly wouldn't doubt it) I'm simply saying that the games are realistic enough simulations to give a great deal of credit to those who understand the sport and it's strategy.
Every aspect of the game, each team and stadium, and of course the players, is meticulously constructed to give the gamer the most authentic experience possible. It is now even common to have players ratings updated week to week via the internet as young players mature, old players decline, and Jeremy Guthrie implodes. Mind you, none of this is a particular endorsement of this game - in fact if anything the game is exactly the same as last year's version but now Mike Trout is a 99. +
It is, however, another unbiased view of our home club from a 3rd party source which features updated and in-depth interpretations of our guys. There are some obvious flaws (to be discussed) but there are obvious flaws in projections like ZiPs as well. Also, this method includes rating things that are often left out of statistical analysis, like ratings for raw skills (e.g. speed) or individual pitches. You will undoubtedly note some things seem way off (Tulo's numbers a bit down, does Pomeranz really have two 99 ratings?) and some things will confirm the eye-test (check EY Jr.'s defensive numbers.)
So without further ado, I give you the 2013 Colorado Rockies
|Player||Overall||Contact Right||Contact Left||Power Right||Power Left||Speed||Range||Catch||Arm Strength||Throwing Accuracy||
|Player||Contact v. Right||Contact v. Left||Power v. Right||Power v. Left||Stamina||Control||Composure||Pitch 1||Pitch 2||Pitch 3||Pitch 4||Pitch 5|
|Rafael Betancourt (83)||86||77||75||67||30||91||80||Fastball 84||Slider 72||2 Seem 85||N/A||N/A|
|Wilton Lopez (82)||75||72||70||69||39||81||89||
|Slider 58||Change-up 79||Sinker 86||N/A|
|Rex Brothers (79)||64||84||65||85||39||80||81||Fastball 83||Slider 69||Change-up 57||N/A||N/A|
|Matt Belisle (78)||69||68||72||71||42||75||74||Fastball 73||Slider 77||2 Seem 75||12-6 Curve 56||N/A|
|Adam Ottavino (78)||72||61||75||64||55||86||77||Fastball 84||Slider 78||Circle Change 81||N/A||N/A|
|Jorge de la Rosa (76)||72||88||64||79||88||65||58||Fastball 72||Slider 66||Change-up 63||2 Seem 68||12-6 Curve 58|
|Jhoulys Chacin (76)||82||83||81||82||84||60||59||Fastball 58||Slider 89||Curve 63||2 Seem 64||N/A|
|Jeff Francis (71)||70||83||74||87||84||53||60||Fastball 53||Curve 61||Change-up 59||2 Seem 50||N/A|
|Drew Pomeranz (71)||66||99||67||99||80||54||38||Fastball 64||Change-up 34||2 Seem 65||Power Curve 50||N/A|
|Juan Nicasio (70)||72||75||75||78||80||63||36||Fastball 75||Change-up 67||Slurve 45||N/A||N/A|
(Note: If you have any questions about these numbers, what exactly they mean, additional numbers, additional Rockies players, league averages, or anything related, please ask in the comments and I will do everything I can to get you an answer.)
A Few Observations
It seems like the game isn't quite sure what to make of Troy Tulowitzki this year. His numbers are still good, but they are down dramatically from previous installments, largely due to him only playing 47 games last year. I expect to see his numbers rise if he stays healthy this season. His range used to rate in the high 90's and has dropped to 87 but he still ranks as the best defensive shortstop in baseball.
The game makes the interesting case that Dexter Fowler is still a well above average MLB center fielder regardless of his defensive stats. I think this has to do with the fact that many defensive statistics don't take into account how big the outfield is at Coors and they have a hard time weighing how bad the stats could be if someone less capable manned the position. The game recognizes that Dexter Fowler has all the raw skills (anticipation, range, catch) to be a well above average defender. His stats in simulated seasons as a member of other teams bears this out, which suggests that if Dexter played somewhere else, his defensive stats would be much better.
These numbers confirm the eye-test that Eric Young Jr. is an exceptionally perplexing player. I think his offensive numbers may be a little high (reflecting his blazing season last year) but still the difference between those numbers and his defensive numbers feels spot on. Just staring at them for a moment one would have to utter a phrase certainly running through Walt Weiss' head all spring, "I've got to get this guy's bat in the lineup...but where do I play him?"
The game confirms we have two 3rd basemen who can hit but can't play 3rd base... and can't really hit for power.
If Wilin Rosario hits as well as these numbers suggest he can, he is going to have a huge season. His power numbers are well above league average. His defensive numbers have taken a slight tick up which puts him just under league average, with a plus arm.
It's sad to see Todd Helton at the bottom of that list. I hope his defense maintains as well as the game projects.
Pretty impressive bullpen, although it may just seem that way because of how low our starters are rated. It's nice to see Wilton Lopez rated so high, especially in composure and sinker.
I honestly have no idea how Pomeranz got two 99 ratings. This would be a good time to mention that there are tons of stats that I didn't include in both tables because they were just getting huge. However, players have some other ratings that offset some of these anomolies (for example Jordan Pacheco has a very high "eye" rating.) I promise you (through experience) that Pomeranz is not death on lefties as his control and composure are major factors.
Interestingly, Jeff Fancis' numbers are adequately unimpressive but he can be remarkably effective at messing up timing which perhaps reflects how he can sometimes be effective for the Rockies.
The game doesn't include any information on Nolan Arenado. It does have some prospects (Jurrickson Profar, Shelby Miller) but if he gets called up this season he will certainly be added to the game.
Oh, and we get to watch a team with Carlos Gonzalez on it. Man, that guy is good.