Happy Thursday Rockies fans. With position players set to report tomorrow for Colorado, the spring training hype is set to go into full overdrive. With a plethora of reporters attempting to justify their existence in Arizona for the next several weeks, expect lots of human interest articles and random projections for the 2014 season. Since I am not in Arizona, I provide you with what has already started coming out of the state with the weirdest time zone.
Thomas Harding lets us know over on mlb.com that Michael Cuddyer has shown up a couple of days early to find out that he is now using Todd Helton's locker. I assume this is a locker with a coveted position. The article discusses how the Rockies hope to make do without Todd this year, at first base, at the plate, and as far as leadership. The answers from the article are: Justin Morneau; Justin Morneau; and a combination of Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez, LaTroy Hawkins, and...Justin Morneau.
In another Harding article that is actually five mini-articles combined, he gives a few more nuggets from early spring training. Michael Cuddyer discusses the possibility of hitting second, being age 41 is not a big deal to new reliever LaTroy Hawkins, Weiss has views on new rules on replay and plat collisions, and the Rockies are trying to decide who their best righty setup pitcher will be. Standard spring training information as a whole.
Over on Fangraphs, Mike Podhorzer provides his 2014 Pod projection for Nolan Arenado. He uses regression to average for most of his numbers and is surprised that his projection looks like all of the others when he compares the results. I think most of the projection systems use regression to average or projection to minor league norms to guess on young players like Nolan. I think that is fair, but it also doesn't look at how they are likely to improve as they grow up and now have a year of experience under their belt.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs puts the Rockies on his list for best transactions of the 2014 off-season, but not in a good way. He lauds the Astros for turning over two bit players for a starting center fielder who is still under team control. While the Rockies still have the potential to gain from this trade in the long term, their recent history of trading shows that we may be regretting this for awhile (Jimenez trade, Guthrie trade).
In an article that could be similar for the Rockies, Jeff Sullivan discusses Baltimore's "window" in light of the Ubaldo Jimenez signing. Tidbits to gain from this is that fans often overvalue current talent and are optimists about near term chances of success while forgetting about regression of players who have had recent success. The Orioles, despite recent "success" and a good off-season are still on the fringes of contending in a difficult AL East. This will be a similar problem for the Rockies over the next few years as they try to compete against the Dodgers in the last years of Cargo's current contract.
The Post gives us articles on the Rockies being deeper this year and Jordan Pacheco being comfortable as a catcher. I like the cautionary tale by Renck that it is not depth until it is proven amidst adversity. Saunders' article about Pacheco is standard spring training fare and has mini-story lines at the bottom similar to Thomas Harding's.