There are changes afoot for the Rockies in 2011, according to Troy Renck and others. Renck argues that the Rockies need more muscle, particularly away from Coors Field to give the pitchers run support. I agree with the goal, just not the process. The Rockies 52 road HR's rank 9th in the National League, which is below average and could see some improvement, but it's not nearly as damaging as their last place (tied with the Pirates) .232 road batting average and the .306 OBP that goes along with it. If the Rockies ramp up the amount of players that get on base, they'll hit more road HR's simply by the fact that they'll be giving their hitters more plate appearances to hit those HR's in.
I guess my main worry about focusing solely on acquiring power threats in the offseason is that you risk turning the team into the Diamondbacks, and the Rockies are already hacktastically close to that standard as is. I hate to give them credit, but the makeover Colorado should look at would be the one the Giants were able to pull off, adding four players with OBP's over .370 in the last year: Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and Buster Posey.
Of course, to give Renck a point, Burrell's also a prototypical slugger and Huff's a borderline case if not in that category himself. Meanwhile, power has certainly been a huge part of Torres' game this season (I think Andrew Fisher was going to write something about him with this Fangraphs article, or maybe just cite that UZR's screwing over how they're viewing CarGo). In the end, after I've done circles, I realize Renck and I are probably on the same page on what's needed for 2011, I just don't know if I trust the simple "look for power" motto as a way for getting there.
As for who to excise, I think the Rockies don't improve at second by replacing Clint Barmes with Jonathan Herrera. If they're planning on treading water offensively there, then Renck's suggestion of getting rid of Todd Helton becomes a necessity. Rather, it might be easier on the franchise's fanbase if they looked seriously for an offensive upgrade at second and used their budget consciousness in the outfield, where the team already has young, affordable quality options.
On Thursday I mentioned that I thought that the Rockies were in decent shape heading into 2011 compared to their divisional competition. The main explanation I gave in the comments for this was that the teams currently in front of the Rockies, namely the Giants and Padres, are experiencing more good luck than bad, as compared to Colorado, which is experiencing the opposite. Having said that, I think the Giants as presently constituted are a substantial threat, albeit an aging one, and the Padres are a decent team. With intelligent fixes on our front, it should be a three team race next season, it's unfortunate that it wasn't this year.
"We have the best group of Latin players we've had in some time," Gustafson said. "We're in contention for the playoffs at Casper, and it has been a while since we could say that."
Rafael Ortega hasn't been noticed enough here at Purple Row, and I hope Rockies fans are paying attention to this group of Latin players at Casper. It's probably hard to tell given their Pioneer League inflated stats, but the pitchers might be as exciting for the team's future as Ortega and Christhian Adames. Anyway, Ortega's likely going to be in my top ten PuRPs.
Actually, for those wondering, here is my current top ten prospect list, before it likely adds two players at tomorrow's signing deadline:
- Tyler Matzek
- Christian Friedrich
- Wilin Rosario
- Hector Gomez
- Nolan Arenado (he's really slumped in the second half of the season, but I'm still a believer in the bat)
- Juan Nicasio
- Rafael Ortega
- Michael McKenry
- Chad Bettis
- Charlie Blackmon
Kyle Parker would bump Ortega to eighth, and Peter Tago would bump Bettis out of the tenth spot if both sign.
Eric Young Jr. was recalled to take roster spot until a starter is needed Tuesday, when Jhoulys Chacin likely will take the open spot in the rotation.
Now that Woody's said it, we know it must be true.
Just in case you wanted to reminisce on yesterday's disaster.