The articles don't need dates on them. You can tell it's spring training. Players are showing up to camp thinner, and the lost weight is going to make them a lean, mean, baseball playing machine. Other players are showing up heavier; but not to worry, they just added muscle and are on the doorstep of the best season of their career. One of these years I'm going to save all these Spring training articles from across MLB and bring them up at the end of the season to show how utterly ridiculous they are - Well, most of the time anyway.
Some baseball articles are better than no baseball articles however, so I'll link them anyway.
More Rockies Coverage
More Rockies Coverage
This one from Thomas Harding is about Corey Dickerson adding 15 pounds to his frame this off season, all muscle of course, as he tries to grab hold of an everyday job in the Coors Field outfield. In all seriousness though, Dickerson is a hugely important piece if the Rockies are going to surprise in 2014.
Less than three years ago, Dickerson was mostly an afterthought sans a couple of PuRPs lists. An eighth round draft pick coming off a great season at rookie level where he was too old for his competition, Dickerson was widely expected to run into a wall once he faced stiffer competition. But then a funny thing happened, Dickerson kept right on hitting.
He destroyed Asheville in 2011, but his detractors were quick to point out his sharp home / road splits. He then turned around in 2012 and posted similar numbers at High-A Modesto, earning a mid-season call up to Tulsa where he more than held his own at the plate for 67 games. The Rockies promoted him again to start 2013, this time to Colorado Springs where he posted an OPS north of 1.000 which then earned him another callup midseason. In just over two years, Dickerson went from a guy making his first start at Low-A Asheville to a major league ball player.
This is why he's so important. So far, this is a guy outperforming expectations at every level. When he's doing this down at Modesto, you might say he's too old for his level, or that he'll run into problems when he faces better pitching, or that the sample size isn't large enough yet. Now, he's just about run out of levels that might be capable of taming his bat. If he keeps the boom trend going in 2014, the Rockies have officially found a gem. Every once in a while, you find a guy that everybody just misses for some reason. Dickerson's bat isn't quite there yet, but he's knocking on the door.
Matt Belisle meanwhile is displaying an attitude fans have to love. The man who's become a fixture in the Colorado bullpen is "flat-out sick of having potential and knowing the season's done at the last game of the year". It really is a shame the Rockies have wasted the production Belisle has given them out of the pen over the last four seasons, where he's appeared in a staggering 302 games (never less than 72 in a season) and has really been one of the most reliable setup men in the game.
Where his career goes from here is tough to tell. On one hand, he's getting older, he's been worked like a mule the last four seasons, and he looked more vulnerable than ever in 2013. At the same time though, he K/BB ratio remains very strong, he's become one of the most intelligent players you'll find out there, and the majority of his bad outings in 2013 were clumped together in two rough stretches; one in June, and another in early September. In other words, his 2013 wasn't as bad as his final numbers made it look.
Walt Weiss likes what he sees in the 2014 Rockies, but really what else is he going to say at the start of Spring Training?
Franklin Morales still wants to be a starter, but thankfully he's going to have to beat out both Juan Nicasio and Jordan Lyles this spring to have any chance of that happening. As long as the front four in the Rockies rotation stay healthy, the guy pitching the best among those three (and I doubt it will be Morales the way he walks people) may not be the worst option in the world at fifth starter. The problem will come if two or more of these guys is starting every five days.