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Sunday Rockpile: Now all of America is learning how dreamy Chris Iannetta is

Troy Renck predicts that Chris Iannetta will be in the All-Star game this season thanks in part to his performance on the big stage of the WBC with Team USA. We had a discussion earlier in the off season about who would represent the Rockies in the Midsummer Classic now that their two most reliable All-Star caliber players have departed, and Iannetta was my choice there as well, but he's going to have to do it against the stiff competition of a few big market teams that have the fanbases to stuff ballot boxes and a Pittsburgh team that might not have any viable All Star candidates besides Ryan Doumit this season. If he makes it on to the squad, he'll be a very special boy indeed.

Don Baylor's work with the team's hitters is apparently already paying dividends with Ryan Spilborghs, who has been on a tear this Spring thanks to adjustments that Baylor taught him. Our well wishes and admiration go to Spilly, as he doing this while dealing with the loss of his beloved mother, Essie.

As for the other new member of Hurdle's bench staff, a "class act" by Rangers manager Ron Washington resulted in Jim Tracy's son Chad getting to play against the Rockies, and consequently in the Rangers getting some serious damage in yesterday's win when Chad launched a grand slam off Jhoulys Chacin. Next time an opposing manager feels so inclined to be so "classy", let's hope the gesture is confined to off field courtesies.

The great news in that last link to Patrick Saunders' notes is that Jorge De La Rosa's velocity was consistently 93 to 94 mph, added to his zero walks on the day and this becomes very significant. With both JDLR and Morales reaching those velocity levels, I don't think a lot of fans realize how dominant Rockies pitchers could be this season. There's a lot of fretting over slots four and five in the rotation due to too much focus on Spring ERA's, but the outlook seems to be getting rosier as we get closer to April. To answer Tracy Ringolsby's question, Rockies pitching should be considerably better in 2009 than a lot of people seem to realize. Now if we can be sure our defense can help them out.

Jack Etkin writes about how other Rockies fared in a minor league game yesterday. Ryan Speier, Clint Barmes, Todd Helton and Yorvit Torrealba all got some solid results it looks like.