Let’s start this article off with a look back at my own personal Facebook account in 2012.
At that point, the Rockies only had 14 losses. Little did I know, they would have 84 more by the time the season was over. Let’s just say I wasn’t a very happy 17-year-old that year. The Rockies final record was 64-98. They finished 30 games out of first place in the NL West.
What lead to this abysmal 2012 season? Well let’s take a look at the prior offseason transactions:
Traded: Chris Iannetta, Ian Stewart, Casey Weathers, Seth Smith, Clayton Mortenson, Jason Hammel, Matt Lindstrom
Acquired: Ramon Hernandez, Tyler Colvin, DJ LeMahieu, Michael Cuddyer, Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman, Jamie Moyer, Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Guthrie
Now a look at the Opening Day lineup:
1. 2B Marco Scutaro
2. CF Dexter Fowler
3. LF Carlos Gonzalez
4. SS Troy Tulowitzki
5. 1B Todd Helton
6. RF Michael Cuddyer
7. C Ramon Hernandez
8. 3B Chris Nelson
9. RHP Jeremy Guthrie
And the Opening Day starting rotation:
1. Jeremy Guthrie
2. Jamie Moyer
3. Juan Nicasio
4. Jhoulys Chacin
5. Drew Pomeranz
Just by looking at the above information, expectations for 2012 should not have been very high for anyone. The Opening Day starter was Jeremy Guthrie. I hate to use losses as a valuable statisitic to judge a pitcher, but Guthrie was coming off a season in which he had 17 losses. That just doesn't look very good. Keep in mind he did have a 4.33 ERA over 208 innings, which would have been great in Colorado. But Guthrie also had a groundball percentage of 39.6, which usually doesn't fair too well at Coors Field. For whatever reason, the Rockies liked his pitching ability and traded for him to be the ace of the staff.
The Rockies’ number two pitcher was Jamie Moyer, a 49 year old pitcher. He had a career 39.7 ground ball percentage and he currently holds the record for most home runs allowed by a pitcher. The whole purpose of signing him was to hold Jorge De La Rosa’s spot in the rotation until he returned from Tommy John surgery, but the decision to sign the oldest active player in baseball to your rotation was a real head scratcher.
The other three members of the rotation were young and promising pitchers, especially Jhoulys Chacin, who had high expectations as the year before he had an ERA of 3.62 over 194 innings and was just 23 years old.
The Opening Day lineup wasn’t terrible looking. Marco Scutaro looked like the ideal leadoff guy. In 2011 he hit .299 with a .358 OBP for the Boston Red Sox. A 2-3-4 of Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki was solid. Todd Helton played in 124 games the prior year in which he had an OPS of .850. Michael Cuddyer looked like a good pickup, as he had hit .272 with 141 homers and 580 RBI's over 11 season with the Minnesota Twins up to that point. The bottom of the lineup featured Ramon Hernandez, who took over catching duties after Chris Iannetta was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, and third baseman Chris Nelson. Neither were much of an offensive threat. Regardless, this was a pretty good looking Opening Day lineup.
So how did these players pan out in the 2012 season? Let’s start with the rotation:
Jeremy Guthrie was injured early in the season because he wrecked his bicycle riding to Coors Field. That pretty much set the tempo for his time with the Rockies. Guthrie made just 15 starts that year and was eventually traded to the Royals. He finished with an ERA of 6.35 and 9 losses.
Jamie Moyer made just 10 starts for the Rockies, going 2-5 with an ERA of 5.70 and allowing 11 home runs. If you want a more visual perspective of how his time with Colorado went, he gave up a no-handed home run to Todd Frazier:
Moyer was released in June.
Chacin, Nicasio, and Pomeranz went a combined 7-17 and a combined ERA of 4.88. Pomeranz led the group with 98.2 innings pitched. Both Chacin and Nicasio spent time on the disabled list as well.
The Rockies would have nine other pitchers start a game that weren’t part of the original rotation. Former Rockie Jeff Francis ended up leading the staff with 113 innings pitched.
Let’s take a look at some of the key position players.
Rockies’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki would solidify his identity as an injury prone player as he went down with a groin injury and was only able to play in 47 games. Rookie Josh Rutledge took Tulowitzki’s spot and played 73 games at shortstop. Veteran first baseman Todd Helton was also hit with injuries, as he was only able to play in 69 games in 2012. Newly acquired veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer spent a good chunk of time on the disabled list as well, and he barely cracked 100 games while hitting .260 with 16 home runs and 58 RBIs.
Chris Nelson found himself on the disabled list as well, and utility infielder Jordan Pacheco took over third base. Pacheco started 80 games at third base, including 35 games at first base and five games at catcher. Pacheco led the team with a .309 batting average.
Carlos Gonzalez had a rather solid year, as he hit .303 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs. Gonzalez was one of the few players on the team who was able to avoid the disabled list.
Dexter Fowler put together the best year of his career with an OPS of .863 in a team-leading 143 games played.
Chris Iannetta’s replacement Ramon Hernandez put together -1.5 bWAR over 52 games in his only year with Colorado. He had an OPS of .607.
No matter how you look at it, the 2012 season was a rough one. Jeremy Guthrie and Jamie Moyer were both in the starting rotation, Troy Tulowitzki played just over half of half a season, and Jeff Francis was the "ace" of the rotation. The 2015 season can still turn out very bad, but 2012 sure established a high—or, low—bar. It's something to remember.