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Saturday Rockpile: Football haze over sports world

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With the new college football playoffs and the NFL wild card weekend taking everyone's attention, there is nothing being reported about your purple-clad baseball team.

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I have spent hours this morning surfing the web trying to find you some snippet of news or commentary on the Colorado Rockies.  Unfortunately for you, the reader, I have found nothing.  The best, and maybe only, source for news and information over the past three days on the Colorado Rockies has been your very own Purple Row.  So, to give you something to talk about or at least a starting off point, I have decided to do my own projection of Nick Hundley's statistics, assuming he fills the role of starting catcher for the Colorado Rockies.

So first things first, I am going to assume 100 games for Nick.  This is a bit much considering that he has averaged around 84 over the past five years, but he did participate in over 100 games in 2013.  The Rockies seem to rely on their starting catcher more so I will assume 100 games and 390 plate appearances.

I am going to split my projection into home and road numbers for our new catcher.  Starting with how he has hit at Coors Field over his career, there are plenty of oddities to Nick Hundley's splits.  By and large, 2011 is considered Hundley's career year, when he batted .288/.347/.477 in 308 plate appearances with 30 extra base hits.  The odd part is that Nick hit .059/.059/.059 at Coors field that year.  That's right, he went 1 for 17, with that only hit being a single.  Since 2011, Nick's overall batting numbers have gone down, but he has improved at Coors Field.  In the last three years, he has batted .268/.286/.512 at Coors over 42 plate appearances (striking out 7 times).  I do not think that the .512 slugging is sustainable so I will tone that down a bit.  So my projection, using a bunch of math you don't want to see and factoring in some personal hope, for Nick in 190 plate appearances at Coors Field is .270/.295/.460 with 6 walks, 8 home runs, and 11 doubles.

While Nick has normally kept his home/road splits close, I attribute this more to him having to play in PETCO Park versus him being any kind of unusual road warrior.  For this reason, I think that he will have a bit lower numbers on the road than he has in the past due to the dreaded Coors Field effect.  Based on his averages over the last few years, I therefore project that in 200 plate appearances, he will average .215/.255/.340 with 10 walks with 5 home runs and 9 doubles.

This will give Nick a .243/.274/.401 hitting line with 13 home runs and 20 doubles.  The Steamer projections predict a bit better average and on base percentage for next season but not near as many home runs or doubles (.260/.310/.419 with 5 and 9).  This would put his bat somewhere around 0.7 WAR to go along with a defense somewhere around 1.0 WAR.  While his bat is not even as good as Wilin Rosario's disappointing 2014, his backstop skills mean that this signing could be worth about two more wins in 2015 over 2014.

Two more wins may not seem like much but it is a start.  As the team says, if they are healthy, Tulo and Cargo will provide a significant bump (~5 more wins is conservative).  A better bullpen (2 wins), a new starter (3 wins), and a better rest of the rotation (3 wins) could add up to a .500 ball club.  Improvement from any of the young players could then mean a winning baseball team in Colorado.  Of course, this is just conjecture and WAR doesn't win baseball games, but I look forward to a competent catcher, and I approve of this move by the Rockies.

Do you think that these are achievable numbers for Nick Hundley? What should the Rockies be looking for in return as they try to trade Wilin Rosario?  Please discuss.