It's been a frustrating offseason for fans of this team who enjoy productive baseball discussion. The injuries the Rockies endured last year have caused a type of gridlock among fans and analysts both locally and nationally because they've made it nearly impossible to tell how healthy the Rockies will be in 2014. In addition to this, the Rockies have a group of young pitchers waiting in the upper minors who may or may not have a positive impact on the second half of the season.
Our own Drew Creasman wrote on a subject along these lines last week, highlighting the nine most volatile players within the organization. Building off the premise of this piece, we can take it one step further and view it through differing mindsets that surround the team this winter. Or to put it simply, nobody has any idea what they're talking about.
The Rockies' fan base is a group that desperately needs to see its team start playing games. Not just for the normal "we want baseball" reasons, but because we really need to gain a better understanding of what the next chapter of the book holds for this franchise. What makes the Rockies a particularly compelling case once the games started is that their floor and ceiling are not only extremely far apart, but several of their individual players are probably more likely to hit their own floor or ceiling than we see with most teams.
One thing that has received significant attention this off season is the future of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. However, most of that discussion seems to have been poisoned by our inability to properly evaluate the bottom of this 25 -man roster, or in the case of the national media, the refusal to even attempt to understand where this club is going. It's an exercise that's left many trying to predict an end game to a story where the journey between two points is completely uncharted territory, and it's gotten rather tiresome.
Over the weekend, Patrick Saunders wrote about the uncertainly surrounding this team from the more local perspective, and goes on to talk about the critical juncture the Rockies have reached. However, I think it's important for fans to understand that this critical juncture Saunders talks about may have less to do with Cargo and Tulo than most people think.
Instead, it probably has more to do with the performances of the 25 and under group, which includes but is not limited to players like Jon Gray, Nolan Arenado, Tyler Anderson, Corey Dickerson, Tyler Matzek, and Eddie Butler. In some ways, the performances of these players as a group are more important to the future of Cargo and Tulo as they shape the trajectory of the franchise, and I would argue that the trajectory and how the Rockies arrive at whatever win total they find themselves at when 2015 concludes is more important than their actual record as it relates to 2016 and beyond.
If the national media wants to continue to talk about a potential Cargo or Tulo trade, they should probably familiarize themselves with these players, as they hold the keys to whether or not the Rockies can be successful in the second half of the decade, and as long as the Rockies think they can be successful with Cargo, and especially Tulo on the roster, I don't think we're going to much action on that front, no matter how much a team from New York needs them.
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Saunders also wrote about the Rockies needing to change their approach at the plate this season. I'm running out of time to go too deep into this topic this morning, but I think Saunders nails it when he focuses specifically on the road struggles. It can't be easy to have a different approach at the plate at home and on the road, but that seems like the only option here as the general approach this team had at the plate last season which saw significant success at home, won't work in the other NL West parks.