The high highs and the low lows of spring training are firmly in the past. If fresh in your mind today, they'll be forgotten by tomorrow. Nolan Arenado is hitting over .500? Nope. Arenado's batting average is .000. Jorge De La Rosa has an ERA over 6.00. Not in 2016. De La Rosa's ERA is 0.00. The Rockies are over .500? The Rockies are 0-0. The extended prologue that is spring training is complete. The Colorado Rockies 2016 season starts today.
Let's get ready for some baseball.
Thomas Harding spoke with former Rockies player Cory Sullivan about the Rockies current group of young players and team chemistry. We hope to have much more on team chemistry this season. For now, Sullivan identified accountability and mutual support as tenets of team chemistry.
Despite recently stating that the Rockies weren't going to have someone firmly in the closer's role, Walt Weiss has named Jake McGee the Rockies' closer.
On the one hand, this is one of those old-school baseball acts that is sub-optimal. Simply using the team's best reliever in the most important situations, rather than just the ninth inning in the event that the game conditions meet the requirement for one to secure a save, is smarter. On the other hand, the optimal strategy might cause discomfort for relievers who are accustomed to having assigned roles. This discomfort might negate the other advantages. It's possible to combine these things. That's what I think the Rockies did last year when their closer, LaTroy Hawkins, was assigned the ninth inning role, but their best reliever, Adam Ottavino, was available for high leverage situations, regardless of the inning.
Ultimately, I'm indifferent about the news. Jake McGee will get the save opportunities. That's all.
This list includes major leaguers as well as prospects, and like Baseball Prospectus' organizational rankings, this list is broken down into tiers. Nolan Arenado, the highest ranked player in the Rockies system, comes in at seventh overall and in the third tier. In order, he sits behind: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa, Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole, and José Fernandez. Not bad company.
The Rockies then have a player in each tier from 10 to 14. Brendan Rodgers who comes in at 60 and in the tenth tier. He can shoot up this list if he has a good showing in 2015, especially if it comes in full season ball. Here, he's grouped with prospectus such as Austin Meadows and Javier Baez and major leaguers Ender Inciarte and Marcell Ozuna, Jeff Hoffman is in the eleventh tier and ranked 71, along with pitchers Andrew Heaney, Taijuan Walker, Jose De Leon, and Eduardo Rodríguez. The twelfth tier has David Dahl at 81. Other players in this tier include Dalton Pompey and Blake Swihart. Ranked 90, Jon Gray is in the thirteenth tier, along with Sean Newcomb, Alex Wood, Trevor Rosenthal, and Joe Ross. In the fourteenth tier, the Rockies have Ryan McMahon, who is ranked 94th. Other position players in this tier include Gleyber Torres, Rafael Devers, Ozhaino Albies, and Odubel Herrera. Once the ranking gets to number 102, Raimel Tapia, everyone from there to 175 is lumped together. Tapia is the final Rockies player on the list.
In all, that puts seven Rockies ranked in the top 175. Two are in the major leagues right now, one is a few years away, and the remaining four should arrive sometime in within the next two seasons. By that point, Arenado might have staked a claim (if he hasn't already) as one of the ten best players in all of baseball, regardless of age. If the Rockies compete in 2017 and 2018, they'll be doing it with this young core.
The Opening Day edition of Mike Laurila's weekly Sunday Notes column offers quite a lot. Opening Day is not just for teams; for a lot of players, including the Rockies' Trevor Story, it's also a major league debut. This experience can range from the extraordinary, which characterizes Byron Browne's story, to the mundane, which is evident in Ryan O'Rourke's telling.