During the offseason, we'll try and look a little more in depth what steps the team needs to take to "catch up" with Arizona and Los Angeles, who seem to be entrenching themselves in the public eye as the NL West's strongest teams for the next few seasons. But after last night, a little exploring into the reasons why media outlets get this view could be valuable:
Where the Rockies meet or exceed the standards set by the Dodgers and Diamondbacks:
- Starting Rotation on the whole. Without significant overhauls I don't see either Arizona's or LA's rotations matching ours next year, either.
- Other on field positions where we're competitive: team relief and the corner positions, both infield and outfield.
- Scouting and development. This shouldn't be a surprise to Rockies fans, but it may be to many outside observers. Our system is just as full of prospects and potential as either the snakes' or bluebloods', however, there is a caveat that I'll go over in a bit.
- Up the middle as far as position players. These are the hardest players to find and replace, and despite a system that has a relatively high number of middle corridor prospects, we have only a couple near ready to step into major league roles. Yorvit and Jamey have been quality pick-ups by the team and have helped ease some of our angst here, but clearly we're still deficient.
- Cash. Does anybody really expect this team to go out and find a center fielder in the offseason? What about a shortstop? In order to find anybody worth pursuing at either of those positions the Rockies would have to spend a figure that extends beyond any sum they've shown an ability to afford the last three seasons.
- Team leadership on the offensive side of things. Ouch. I hate to say it, but after last night it's pretty glaring that there's not really a spark for this team. Could nobody step up and fire up the troops? I think Jamey Carroll is as close as we've got to that guy and when that guy is going 0 for 8 who do you fall back on? Todd Helton's always been too quiet to be the spark, Clint Barmes, like Carroll in the end just doesn't have the ability to back it up. Those other players that do have the ability, Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, Garrett Atkins haven't really stepped into that field motivational role. Or maybe they have, but nobody's listening. I don't know, but I think one of the main reasons we don't have a win streak of significance this season is that we lack that.
- Competent on field management.
NL Runners left stranded/runs scored (with the teams OPS rank in parentheses)
1. Mets 1.309 (4)
2. Braves 1.310 (3)
3. Phillies 1.362 (1)
4. D-backs 1.433 (7)
5. Giants 1.474 (14!)
6. Marlins 1.476 (11)
7. Cardinals 1.478(6)
8. Brewers 1.481 (10)
9. Dodgers 1.506 (5)
10. Reds 1.519 (2)
11. Cubs 1.528 (16)
12. Rockies 1.531 (8)
13. Nationals 1.561 (9)
14. Astros 1.597 (13)
15. Pirates 1.608 (15)
16. Padres 1.645 (12)
Basically, you would expect these numbers to follow other offensive performance measures such as OPS, as it stands to reason the most potent offenses will also be the most likely to clear the basepaths. However, you can see quite a bit of divergence, and I think at least part of that divergence can be attributed to the coaching staff and it's choices. Part's also admittedly attributable to sheer luck, but in simple terms, I think this helps measure which teams have been getting the most out of the offensive hand they've been dealt, as personnel decisions are usually made at higher levels. In this case, perhaps Felipe Alou doesn't get enough credit for helping the Giants offense play over their heads, and you wonder why the Reds aren't racking up more runs given their potency. The Rockies are in a similar boat in that it seems to take us an inordinate amount of baserunners to produce our runs, but maybe we can take solace in it not being as bad as it could be.
- Acceptance or understanding of risk. I write about this once a season it seems, but when it comes to evaluating the Rockies front office and on field decisions against those of their peers, making the correct decisions when risk is involved is not one of this team's strong suits, with the exception of the amateur entry draft. I'm going to need to go over this in another post, so I'll probably save that for this weekend.