Last year marked the best year for the Rockies in a long time. Ronnie Kohrt at Mile High Sports argues that it’s going to take the best pitching we’ve seen in a while to get to an NL West title. He contends that regardless of our offensive performance, the Rockies can make the playoffs if their arms deliver. Historically, even when we’ve had a strong offense, it hasn’t been quite enough to get us to the postseason. Kohrt points to the 2014 and 2015 seasons, when the Rockies crushed it offensively but came in at the bottom of pitching statistics.
The Rockies are placing a lot on the young shoulders of the Rockies pitching staff. There’s Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, and Jeff Hoffman, who will get the starting position in some spring training games. Gray did very well last year, despite his poor show in the division game. Kyle Freeland was a favorite hometown boy, and he came deliciously close to a no-hitter at Coors. They’ll join solid pitchers in Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, not to mention the mega bullpen the team has built in the last couple months. These stars, when we apply it to this theory that pitching is most important, leads me to believe that this could be the year for the Rockies.
Zac Rosscup, a lefty relief pitcher, killed it against left-handed hitters last year, but he faces incredibly stiff competition in the bullpen. But he’s still hopeful about his chances on the mound in 2018. The Rockies have an idea about what the lineup will look like, but there are too many unpredictable elements to say anything for sure, meaning there is still a chance for many players. Some of these hopefuls include Rosscup, as well as outfielder/first-baseman Jordan Patterson, and Noel Cuevas. These aren’t necessarily names that got tossed around much during the offseason, but it’s anybody’s guess what will happen after spring training.
Greg Holland was a stellar addition for the Rockies in 2017. He would walk out as a closer, and the opposition would shake in their booties. I believed, and I don’t think that I was alone, that we would see him pitching in a Rockies uniform again this year. And the Rockies proposed a pretty great deal—the same three-year $52 million one Wade Davis accepted. Holland turned it down, though, which some blame on the one agent having the most impact on the offseason, Scott Boras.
There have been some signings made by Boras’s clients in the past couple of days, which seems to have kicked activity back into gear. However, Olivia Greene at Rox Pile argues that when Holland declined the Rockies offer, he made a mistake. It may not have been completely devastating, as Holland could very well find a good spot with another team. But he turned down a pretty good deal with the Rockies. We’ll see where he ends up and where the Rockies end up, and then we can compare notes.
Depending on the kind of performance we might see out of Trevor Story early in the season, Bud Black might like to see him batting cleanup. He certainly struggled offensively last year, but every now and again reminded us of the rookie Story that we saw. It’s a good time, speculating about what the lineup will look like, and we’ll see after spring training and all that comes with it, how everything shakes out.
Twenty-year-old Colton Welker, a minor league third baseman in the minor leagues, was ripped from the excitement of spring training by the tragedy that occurred in his hometown. Welker has several connections to the 17 killed, and it has been a devastating experience. Welker’s alma mater, a school usually known for succeeding at sports, has now been inextricably connected with a major tragedy. Our thoughts go out to the Parkland community, and to all those whose lives have been violently altered forever.
Many of us were shocked to find out that All-Star Corey Dickerson was designated for assignment last week, and there were those of us who would be willing to see him back in Denver. However, Pittsburgh has snatched him up, getting themselves a solid player. Dickerson might have his flaws, but this is still a good pick-up for the Pirates.