In so many ways, 2015 was not a kind year for the Colorado Rockies. Sure, Kyle Kendrick and Daniel Descalso and the ghost of Charlie Culberson are all part of what a smaller market team must go through during a significant re-build, but that doesn't mean another 90-loss season (three in four years!) gets easier to take.
It's just as bad, then, that 2016 will almost assuredly be, well, just as bad for the Rockies; there's no light at the end of the tunnel for the club's fans. Sure, the Rox have one of the best farm systems in baseball, but it's going to take time before that pays dividends. So with another winter fading with the year coming to a close, as we wait for those prospects, here are some things we — fans, bloggers, Facebook commenters, the team, good and decent society — should leave behind...
Giving free passes
The Rockies' pitching staff walked 579 batters across 1,426 innings in 2015, logging 3.7 BB/9. In both gross number and per nine rate the Rox were atrocious, allowing the most free passes in baseball. It need not be said that this must change immediately, especially as Rockies pitchers have little margin of error to begin with pitching half the time at Coors Field. Say what you want about Chad Qualls and Jason Motte, at least both newcomers will fill up the strike zone; the more pitchers Jeff Bridich finds that can do that, the more likely the Rockies can take care of one massive problem.
Not getting free passes
With just a 6.4% walk rate in 2015, the Rockies' offense drew fewer walks than all but two Major League clubs. Now, one of those two clubs worse off than Colorado was the World Series champion Royals, who walked at the lowest rate (6.3%) in the game. But, the Royals also struck out just 15.9% of the time (best in the game, by far), compared to 21.1% for the Rockies, which was good enough for the ninth-highest strikeout rate in baseball this past season. Combine that top-half strikeout rate with an abysmal walk rate, and the Rockies aren't doing themselves any favors at the plate. Mark Reynolds' 11.4% walk rate alone doesn't come close to changing it, but at least it shows maybe the Rockies' front office is starting to think about different ways to build an offense?
Young arms falling off track
Both Eddie Butler and Tyler Matzek, in their own ways, took some pretty significant steps backwards in 2015. A year (and two) before, Chad Bettis was in that position, too. Bettis has seemingly found his way back — let's hope the same will soon be true of both Butler and Matzek — but this recent trend of promising young pitchers struggling mightily very early in their careers in unsettling. Here's to Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, and whomever else is coming quickly behind them staying on track in 2016.
We did it! We waited it out and we did it!
I'd take George Frazier back in exchange for getting Jose Reyes far, far away from Coors Field, and it ain't about the contract or on-field performance.
Forrest Wall's bad tweets
This will matter only to an extremely small subset of you who use Twitter pretty heavily, but Forrest Wall's tweets suck. It's not that he has opinions I disagree with or something, that wouldn't be a problem if that were his thing, I just probably wouldn't follow him. But it's not bad opinions. It's that he doesn't tweet for himself, so the company that tweets for him does some... interesting... stuff.
What does a prospect in the Rockies' organization care about the Rays' top prospects? I mean, did he play with these dudes in high school or something? If so, why not say that, what gives about the random tweet out of nowhere with this plus.ly link? By the way, that plus.ly link doesn't actually link to the story, it links through some affiliate website thing that seems a little sketchy.
And that's not even the weirdest part! The weirdest part is that after his account tweets these links out, they get deleted hours later. Every time. That's why I screenshotted the one in this post! Some days he tweets multiple links like this, but sure enough, they're all gone a few hours later. I don't get it. All the links have to do with baseball, but most of them don't even have to do with him, or the Rockies. What?
Not for nothing, he's also followed and unfollowed @rockiesVSconnor several times in the past couple months. I'd love to unfollow Connor, too, but you do it once and you're done, Forrest. Ain't no need to go back for the kill multiple times. For what it's worth, I remember David Dahl doing this two years ago, trying to build up his Twitter following with some weird stuff, as if he hired some "social media expert" to grow his audience. (If you're not a heavy Twitter user, I don't blame you for thinking this is superficial and dumb... you're right.)
Anyways, Forrest, pal, an open letter: did you hire a PR firm or some social media "expert" to manage your account? Get rid of 'em, man. Leave 'em in 2015.
Hating the Dodgers
Hating the Dodgers is too easy an endeavor, and I know I'm biased because I live in L.A. and have to deal with Dodgers fans every day (they're not that bad!), but it's pretty worthless to hate the Dodgers. They spend stupid money on veterans, take on bloated contracts, and still have a stacked farm system, in part because they draft well (credit where credit is due!), but also because they're willing to dole out millions of dollars to every 15-year-old kid they can find when they go on scouting trips to Cuba.
Despite all that, they still have zero World Series rings since that time Kirk Gibson took Eck deep. With Zack Greinke gone, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and much of the rest of the cast aging, Chase Utley inexplicably re-signed, Hisashi Iwakuma signed and then lost, and a suspect bullpen except for closer Kenley Jansen they're not necessarily getting any better.
If they get Jose Fernandez and do become significantly better, he's only around for three years before the Dodgers have to either shell out what will be a ridiculous amount of money to keep his services, or let him walk. The Rockies aren't gong to be coming into relevance for at least two of those years ('16, '17), anyways. Don't hate the Dodgers; let 'em roll for two or three seasons and then have to come up for air right as the Rockies get good.
Hating the Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are going for broke right now, but they aren't the Rockies' rival and there's no need to hate them. Like the Dodgers, it really doesn't matter whether the Dbacks win a World Series in the next couple years, because they're going to be saddled with a lot of Greinke money when he inevitably comes back down to earth as he ages through the life of that contract. Shelby Miller is off the books the same year a hypothetical Fernandez would leave the Dodgers, too, and the Dbacks, like Los Angeles, will need to spend significant resources to re-tool when the Rockies could finally, realistically be pretty damn good.
Hating the Giants
Ditto to what the Dbacks' and Dodgers' situations are, but with Johnny Cueto. If Cueto pitches well for a couple years with the Giants, he can opt out of his contract and go get more money on the free agent market — right when the Rockies should be getting good. If he stinks in San Francisco, the Giants are saddled with an albatross — again, right when the Rockies should be getting good.
Not hating the Padres
If we're here to leave our hate for the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Giants in 2015, then that leaves but one team to hate. You know, just to make 2016 a little interesting. So go f**k yourself, San Diego. I hate you. I hate your stupid city that's fun and dreamy, and your dumb ballpark that's incredible and beautiful, and your idiotic weather that's all sunny and perfect. April 8, 2016, losers... the rivalry continues.
Just when you thought I spent all my irrational hate on the
fine people of losers who live in San Diego, up pops the very worst mascot in sports! Nothing but a dissertation truly could account for all the faults one can find in Dinger, but suffice to say after more than twenty years of a pantsless dinosaur with Dippin' Dots all over his forehead, it might be time to go in a new direction down at 20th and Blake. If you don't want to re-brand the uniforms yet, hey, that's fine. But damn it Dick Monfort, don't you dare pretend that Dinger isn't the biggest problem with this organization.
That last sentence is a slight exaggeration, but I stand by it. Dinger sucks.
★ ★ ★
Here's to a wonderful holiday season for you and yours, and to all of us leaving the dumb stuff in 2015.