Monday Rockpile: 28 More Days

US PRESSWIRE

The worst of the waiting is over, but baseball fans are still a month away from getting what they really crave.

Four weeks from today, the Rockies will begin their 21st season in Milwaukee against the Brewers. At times, it seems so close, and yet for some reason, Spring Training always seems to take so long in my mind.

This may sound a bit odd coming from someone who is starving to see meaningful baseball, but I actually have a hard time getting excited for the middle part of Spring Training. The first week or two is awesome. It marks the beginning of a new season, it sparks new stories involving the players you missed reading about, and there's just a general sense of optimism in the air.

After a while though, the limited information during games, the quick hook for most players who are going to end up on the 25 man roster, and just the overall meaninglessness of these contests kills to mood for a week or two - Or at least it does for fans who can't attend Spring Training. It's a different situation for the lucky fans in Arizona right now, but for everybody else, you can only follow "fake baseball" on MLB Game Day for so long before the craving for "real baseball" overwhelms you.

I've arrived at that point. We're about two weeks from things really getting interesting. That's when we get to the doorstep of the season and the battles for the last few roster spots heat up.

Until then though, there's a few links and minor story lines to keep us busy. Most notably, Jorge De La Rosa struggled big time with control in his outing yesterday, but manager Walt Weiss is not worried, or at least not yet.

"We will have patience with Jorge because he hasn't been out there much for the last year and a half or so," Weiss said. "We are counting on him, and he knows that. We have another month to go, so we aren't going to get too carried away. It wasn't real pretty, but again, he's got some time."


I'm not going to get concerned over De La Rosa yet, but it's pretty hard to undersell how vital he is to Colorado's fortune this season. It's almost impossible to draw up a scenario where the Rockies are competitive this season without De La Rosa coming back at least somewhat strong.

The Rockies agreed to a minor league deal yesterday with minor league relief pitcher Bobby Cassevah. He's an interesting signing in that he pitched effectively for the Angels out of the pen in both 2010 and 2011 before a derailment in production in 2012.What do the Rockies see in him? We'll it's likely exactly what Patrick Saunders points out in the linked piece above, Cassevah has a career 70.7% ground ball rate.

Tyler Colvin talks about trying to maximize his production this season and build off what he learned last year. He is a major wild card this season on a roster filled with wild cards. Everything about him is unpredictable. When you look at his year by year numbers, you see a productive hitter in both 2010 and 2012, with a complete disaster of a season sandwiched in between. In addition, when you break up last season into halves, he was also extremely streaky. Colvin had a stretch in June and early July where he hit 10 home runs in just 85 plate appearances and raised his season OPS at the time to .983. However, after forcing his way into the lineup more often, Colvin faded at the plate down the stretch hitting just five more long balls in 260 plate appearances and posting a .763 OPS the rest of the way.

Further complicating matters (at least when it comes to trying to nail down what Colvin's 2013 might look like anyway) is Colvin's ability to play both the outfield and first base. Interestingly enough, Colvin looked very good with a glove at first last season and the defensive metrics like him in general, but he and Todd Helton are both left handed bats so it may be difficult to find Colvin playing time at first since you want him starting mostly games where there is a right handed pitcher opposing Colorado on the mound. It should be interesting to see how this all plays out.


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