FanPost

FPF: Drawing Much-Too-Early-In-The-Season-To-Draw-Conclusions Conclusions about the 2017 Rockies

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Editors note: We're publishing this FanPost Friday submission from last week responding to our FanPost Friday prompt "What is the best/worst case scenario for the 2017 Rockies?"

Conclusion: We're contenders!!!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret of how to be a playoff contender. All you gotta do is win 2 outta 3, two-thirds of the time, and do no worse than 1 outta 3 in the other third. Basically, you have to win a series more often than not, and when you don't take the series, just don't get swept. It's that simple, and that's just what the 2017 Colorado Rockies have been doing so far this year.

The secret to being a contender may be a bit of a mouthful, but if you check the math that comes out to be 90 wins over the course of a 162-game season. Since 2012, when the wild card was expanded to 2 spots per league, only 2 teams have won 90 games and missed out on the playoffs. Of course, this assumes that you count making a 1-game wild card as "making the playoffs". During that same stretch 12 teams won fewer than 90 games and made the playoffs. So while, it's not an absolute lock, 90 wins is a pretty firm line in the sand.

Sure, I know what you're thinking, SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!!! It's much too early in the season to draw conclusions!!!! While this goes against my personal philosophy that you should never check the standings until Memorial Day, things are different this year, hope springs eternal.

This year the Rockies aren't playing under the dreaded burden of expectations. Really, the only expectation that might exist for this team outside of the thin, mile-high air of Colorado would be for Nolan Arenado to win another gold glove. While you might find the occasional analyst that predicts Arenado to be NL MVP or the Rockies to be a "surprise" wild card, this isn't the Rockies of the late aughts who were frequently pegged to win the West after an '07 World Series appearance.

Entering this season the starting rotation had a combined 145 career starts. That's roughly 4 1/2 years experience across five pitchers. Two of them made their Major League debuts when toeing the rubber for the first time this year. Sure, there are some arms anchoring the bullpen with potential, but keep in mind, these are surgically repaired arms. There are really no expectations for this staff to be any better than subpar.

While our new manager, Bud Black, is experienced, in 9 years with the Padres, they never once "made the playoffs". This further tempers expectations. Of course the Padres were oh so close under Black. In 2007, Black's first year at the helm for the Padres, they were nudged out of the wild card by the Rockies team of destiny in the infamous game 163, ending the season with 89 wins. In 2010 under Black, the Padres won 90 games, yet missed the playoffs. Had the 2-wild card per league system been implemented for those seasons, his Padres would have "made the playoffs" twice.

The Rockies' bright spot has always been the lineup. However, with injuries to up-and-comer David Dahl and high priced talent, off season signee Ian Desmond starting the season on the DL, again expectations were thrown out the window.

Perhaps the best thing in sports is for a team to have nothing to lose and everything to prove.

With the Giants of San Francisco beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 on Wednesday, the Rockies stand knotted at the top of the NL West with the snakes. So while friends shouldn't let friends draw conclusions this early in the season, the 2017 Colorado Rockies are playoff contenders.

Here are 3 things to hang your hat on after two spins through the young rotation.

1. This bullpen is legit

The Rockies haven't won a game by more than 2 runs, and yet are 2 games over .500. The Rockies won back-to-back 2-1 ballgames, and one of those was even played at Coors Field! According to fangraphs.com, entering play on Wednesday, the Rockies firemen boasted a Major League leading combined 1.2 WAR and a Major League leading 12.62 K/9. A key to continued success will be for the starting five to extend their outings, as the bullpen so far has recorded nearly 40% of the outs.

2. The hitting should get better

So far DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story, and Carlos Gonzalez have been seemingly absent at the plate. They have gone a combined 17 for 114 with only 2 home runs. Once they start clicking, pitchers should see start to see more run support. So far this year the Rockies have put up 3.4 runs per game (3 home, 4 away), down significantly from last year's 5.22 (6.27 home, 4.1 away). While Mark Reynolds' hot start doesn't have anyone clamoring too loudly for Ian Desmond to hurry back, Desmond and Dahl should add additional support in the lineup once healthy.

3. The Rockies are 3-1 with rookie starters on the bump

Antonio Senzatela has been sensational. He has only given up 2 runs in 2 starts and proven he can work his way out of trouble. The hometown hero, Kyle Freeland got his career off to a great start with a home opener win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Padres jumped right on top of him early today, scoring 4 runs with only 1 out in the first, he settled down with 3 one-two-three innings before being pulled with two outs in the fifth.

Yes, it's a long season. 162 games can be grueling. But remember, take it one series at a time. Here's to taking 3 outta 4 in San Francisco and here's to Bud Black getting a team "into the playoffs" with 90 wins.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).