We're still eight weeks away from games that count, but it's already clear that this Rockies team has more depth in the rotation than any of the recent additions of the club. If forced to guess, I'd predict the following opening day rotation:
1) Jorge De La Rosa
2) Chad Bettis
3) Jon Gray
4) Tyler Chatwood
5) Jordan Lyles
That's actually not too bad, but what's perhaps even more important is that a rotation like this would still leave interesting names like Tyler Matzek, Tyler Anderson, Eddie Butler and Chris Rusin on the outside looking in. It's an important point to consider, because unless you're the 2012 Giants where you can ignore rotation depth and end up lucky enough to get the top five guys to make 161 starts, the first few arms out of the rotation in April are probably going to have a big impact on your season.
Rockies' pitching needs to take step forward in '16 - Thomas Harding / MLB.com
What's perhaps most interesting about this pitching staff though is the number of guys who have the potential to make a bigger impact on the club than they did in 2015. Harding talks about seven arms in this piece (a mix of rotation and bullpen), and doesn't even mention Gray or Anderson.
Exactly how many of these guys take a step forward this summer remains to be seen, but the Rockies do have a bunch of tickets in the "who might get better this year" jar on the pitching side of things.
Hale poised to bounce back after rough '15 - Thomas Harding / MLB.com
One of the more forgettable arms in that metaphoric jar is David Hale, who battled injuries and a "delivery flaw" in 2015. As Harding notes however, he's another one of those guys who could be better in 2016. (His FIP being 1.35 points lower than his ERA last year suggest this too.)
Hale's certainly not a name you want anywhere near your opening day rotation, but he's fine as a tenth starter, which is where I'd rank him right now if the team is not dead set on giving guys like Matzek and Butler a bunch of starts in Triple-A. Unless he takes a huge step forward, he might not ever make another start for the Rockies again (sans a being the guy you throw out there for one half of a double header if you need an arm).
Rockies Around Baseball: Non-Roster Spring Training Invitations - Isaac Marks / Rox Pile
Some former Rockies like Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson will be easy to track this year as they will be big parts of what should be fun AL East race. Other former Rockies however tend to fade into obscurity. Determined not to let that happen quite yet, Marks did the legwork here and found 13 former Colorado players who are non roster invitees to other cams this spring. They range from Rockies as important as Jhoulys Chacin to as insignificant as Logan Kensing.
Why the Dodgers will win the NL West - again - Barry Svrluga / Washington Post
Other than placing McGee in the Rockies "loses" instead of "additions" bucket, this is a pretty strong preview from a national writer.
Svrluga wisely picks the Dodgers to win the division despite the noisy winters from Arizona and San Francisco. Even though they constantly struggle in October, the Dodgers have solidified themselves as kings of the NL West, finishing a combined 30 games ahead of the Giants over the last three seasons (so they're averaging a record ten games better than San Francisco of late). For some perspective there, the Giants have finished an average of 13 games ahead of the Rockies over the last three years. So the gap between the Dodgers and Giants since the start of 2013 is almost as large as the gap between San Francisco and Colorado.
Oddly, I think Rockies fans should be rooting for the Dodgers this season. Not just because San Francisco and Arizona are insufferable, but because the first Collective Bargaining Agreement since the Dodgers became more associated with green than blue is coming up next winter, and I think the league is likely to take more significant action when it comes to leveling the playing field if the Dodgers are coming off their fourth consecutive division title. If Arizona or San Francisco upset them in 2016, the owners may back off on some of the items being discussed behind the scenes right now.
Since the Rockies certainly aren't winning this division with their 2016 lineup, we might as well cheer for the Dodgers to put themselves in a position that makes the league want a more competitive landscape in the NL West going forward.
This season is gonna be strange.