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Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had an amazing May at third base

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Rockies news and links for June 2, 2017

May's top defender: Is Nolan Arenado -- gasp -- getting even better? | ESPN
It doesn't seem possible for Nolan Arenado to actually get better at defense, but that's what Mark Simon sees so far this season. Arenado was the Defensive Player of the Month in May, a month in which he led the majors with 11 defensive runs saved. Simon dives into Arenado's results, both in terms of numbers and the aesthetics of watching him do his thing at third base. He also spoke with Arenado about his preparation.

As for pregame prep, Arenado goes through different variants. He'll do the Derek Jeter jump throw from down the line and the Troy Tulowitzki whirl-and-throw so that he's ready for those types of plays. “When the game starts, I'm not surprised by any ball”, he said.

Combine this work ethic with Arenado's instincts, and you have a third baseman on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

Antonio Senzatela, the Little Prince, working through nerves in first-rate rookie run for Rockies | Denver Post
Antonio Senzatela has been defying expectations in a couple of ways in 2017. First, nobody really expected him to jump from a handful of appearances in Double-A in 2016 to the majors the following year. But he did. And nobody expected him to pitch about 30 percent better than league average. He has. Finally, a lot of folks, myself included, have been expecting Senzatela to come down to earth.

This expectation is based on several factors. Senzatela hasn't been striking many batters out, his groundball rate is pretty low, his BABIP against suggests that he's been the beneficiary of some luck, and he only really throws two pitches. After two months and 11 starts, he's largely defied that expectation as well. Nick Groke spoke to Bud Black and some of Senzatela's teammates about this.

Black says he can't pinpoint how Senzatela has defied these expectations: “I just know what I see,” Black told Groke. Significantly, Black also indicated that he doesn't think Senzatela is a finished product. If Senzatela can in fact maintain his command while upping his strikeouts and adding a workable changeup, it would be a layer of polish on an already mature pitcher.

Rockies' Jon Gray to ramp up rehab next week | MLB.com
Jon Gray, who is recovering from a broken foot, ran for the field for the first time during his rehab on Wednesday. During his absence, Gray kept his arm in shape. He just needs to regain strength in his legs before his return. Black told MLB.com that Gray's rehab will speed up once the Rockies return to Denver after the weekend.

Projecting the playoff chances for all 30 teams ($) | ESPN
Dan Szymborski offers up a playoff chances update. After two months and one-third of the season complete, we can slowly stop with the "yeah but it's still early caveat." The odds are based on Szymborski's ZiPS projection system. It pegs the Rockies' final record at 90-72, which would likely be good enough for postseason play, but not enough to best the Dodgers, who the system projects to win 98 games.

About those Colorado Rockies, Szymborski writes, "While ZiPS was positive about the Colorado Rockies coming into the season, placing them firmly among the wild-card contenders, the Rockies have done quite a bit more than that."

Bud Black unconcerned over lack of dominance at home | BSN Rockies
Drew Creasman spoke with Bud Black about the Rockies weird start to the season. In particular, they've been about .500 at home and excellent on the road. Black doesn't seem to be concerned with the Rockies' relative mediocrity at Coors Field. The real worry, and the most likely eventual outcome, is that the Rockies aren’t going to win as many games on the road as the season progresses. If that happens, and history suggests that it will, then it will be critical that the Rockies make up for it by winning at home. History suggests that will happen, too. The likeliest full-season outcome is still that the Rockies will finish around .500 on the road—which would be excellent—and better than .500 at home.

The Colorado Rockies host one of the strangest communities and it’s “a huge part” of their identity | BSN Rockies
Jake Shapiro takes a deep dive into the Rockies' online community, where things like "coors" (never uppercase) and "taco's" (inappropriate apostrophe required) are a couple of the codewords for the group of oddballs that populate Rockies twitter.

Colorado Rockies: Just how great has Greg Holland been? | Rox Pile
Pretty dang good. So good Holland could produce one of the best reliever seasons in Rockies' history.

Padres chasing historically bad run differential | Gaslamp Ball
In this FanPost from our friends at Gaslamp Ball, Jay Stokes looks at the Padres' run at a historically awful run differential in 2017. As of May 29, the Padres had a run differential of -91, which would extrapolate to a full season run differential of about -278. That wouldn't be the worst mark in team history, but it would be close. Padres’ fans are now at a point where the most interesting thing about the season is how bad it can get. Rockies fans have been there before—pretty recently, in fact.

Dodgers dropped by Cardinals, split series in St. Louis | True Blue LA
The Cardinals beat the Dodgers yesterday. Coupled with the Rockies win, and Colorado gained a game in the NL West standings.

Diamondbacks 3, Marlins 2 | AZ Snake Pit
The Diamondbacks, however, didn’t cooperate. The Rockies and D-backs are tied for first place in the NL West. AZ Snake Pit has more on Arizona’s win last night.