Last week I said not to overreact to Dexter Fowler's hot start and crown him the Rockies home run champion. A week later Fowler now leads the club with 6 HRs and has shown no signs of slowing down. I said the Rockies solid starting pitching would continue to be solid and outside of Francis' implosion the starting pitching has continued to pitch admirably.
Todd Helton has rewarded my faith in him by going 5-8 with two doubles and 2 RBIs over his last two ball games. And the offense, after taking a hiatus in San Francisco, has regained its powerful form the last two ball games against the Padres in pitcher friendly PETCO Park.
So, what were the over and underreactions from Rockies' faithful in week two?
The Rockies are just as bad as last year and they showed it in San Francisco.
A win is a win and a loss is just a loss, but let's not forget that the Rockies could have and probably should have won the first two games in San Francisco. They made a few fundamental errors in game one, most notably was EY Jr. getting picked off right before Carlos Gonzalez's HR which took a vital run off the board in what turned out to be a close 4-2 defeat. In game 2 of the series the Rockies blew a 6-2 lead and that just plain should not have happened. Game three was a joke and it would have been easy for the Rockies to go to San Diego and continue to backslide, but they didn't as they took the first two games in San Diego and will hopefully sweep this afternoon.
Clearly San Diego is an inferior opponent compared to San Francisco, but given the Rockies well known road woes, bouncing back on the road is in my opinion a big deal. The Rockies didn't wait to get back to comfy Coors Field to turn the offense back on, they instead came out swinging in San Diego and produced 7 and 9 runs in the first two games of the series.
Just looking at the wins and loss column is telling, but when you consider that the Rockies have been in every single game this season except one I can't help but be encouraged by that.
The Rockies' perhaps biggest perceived strength, the bullpen, is not what it's hyped up to be.
The Rockies relievers have not been very sharp up to this point. Wilton Lopez has a 12.46 ERA and has struggled to get guys out, but he has an excellent 2.17 FIP so far. His poor start can probably be looked at as unlucky more then anything else. He doesn't have very high K rates throughout his career so once those balls in play start finding leather on a more consistent basis he should be OK.
The other two that have really struggled are Adam Ottavino and Chris Volstad. Ottavino is struggling due in large part to a high walk rate of 8.31 BB/9. In his career both major and minor leagues he has been more around 4 BB/9 and he typically has a high K/9. If Ottavino can harness his control a little better he should be fine. This is his first time making a team out of spring training and he might be feeling a little added pressure to perform.
Volstad like Lopez has had a great FIP of 2.87 so far. He has also given up a ridiculous .500 BABIP - assuming that number comes back down to earth, Volstad should be fine. Another encouraging sign for Volstad is that he hasn't walked anyone yet.
Remember, that it is still very early and a few good outings can turn that ERA right around for the bullpen. Also, Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers, and until last night Edgmer Escalona have all pitched well out of the pen.
Chris Nelson is going to be fine. It's early in the season and he proved last year that he is capable. Arenado can wait.
Nelly has played solid D so far this year and he deserves credit for that. Offensively he has been decent so far, but has certainly not turned any heads. I could be wrong, but I am firmly entrenched on the Nolan Arenado bandwagon. If this means trading Nelson for virtually nothing then so be it.
Arenado did everything the Rockies asked in spring training and has continued to rip the cover off the ball in Colorado Springs with a .423/.483/.846 line. They have said in the past they feel Arenado is more then capable defensively and offensively being able to slide him into the 8 hole should allow him to relax and not feel over-pressured. I don't know the exact date that Arenado can be called up without the Rockies losing a year of his services, but as soon as he can be called up I believe he should be. Adding another potential big time impact player could be a great boon to any playoff hopes the Rockies have.