Two weeks from today the Rockies will begin their 2018 season. A lot of attention has been paid to pitching this offseason, and we’re likely to see Jon Gray aiming to come back after a hard end to the last season. Gray has worked hard to get here, though, and is ready to show us what he can do in the new year. There are a lot of balls in the air for the team this year: how Carlos Gonzalez will do in his return; if Nolan Arenado can put up another stellar performance; if next year’s free agents will be here in the future. One of the biggest, though, is the what kind of performance we can expect to see from the young pitching rotation. Bud Black has a lot of faith in his squad, believing they are capable enough to hold their own and then some.
The starting pitching staff has not been overly impressive in the Cactus League, but we must approach these numbers warily, as they are working on developing and strengthening rather than perfection. German Marquez has been solid, and Chad Bettis feels good about what the Rockies have delivered thus far. There’s a lot to be excited about regarding pitching in 2018, and we’ll see who makes the final cut by Opening Day.
The Cactus League is showing us who has the stuff to make it in the majors, and there is a sure sign of separation regarding this line. There are some clear indicators of who is ready and who is not. There are our two obvious stars, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, but the Rockies need to be able to depend on other players if they are hoping for success this season. The two stars’ statistics are outstanding, but the rest of the team struggled in 2017. Be it injuries or an off season, other Rockies’ stats are, to say the least, disappointing. Blackmon and Arenado are more than strong enough to carry the team through the season, but if the Rockies hope to make it into the offseason, others have better be ready to step up and prove themselves in the 2018 season.
Bud Black is happy to see the way the Rockies are shaping up for the year. He claims that it’s never a bad problem to have when you have too many good players to decide who to put in. Carlos Gonzalez’s return creates some question marks for what will happen in outfield, and it will likely impact what happens on first. Ian Desmond’s position becomes a little less sure. This then impacts some of the prospects’ futures. There are some certainties (Nolan Arenado at third, DJ LeMahieu at second) but things are still likely to move around a bit as the season goes along. The exact positions might be a little unsure, but regardless of who is where, the Rockies are hoping for some big things to happen in 2018.
There are many reasons to go to a game at Coors Field: to sing along with The Outfield as Charlie Blackmon comes up to bat; to watch Nolan Arenado make an incredible play; to take in the sunset over the Rocky Mountains. But we can’t deny that the food is a big draw as well. A hot dog dressed up just how you like. Cool ice cream on a warm summer night. A sweet Tornadough as the Rockies close in on a win. Food at the ballpark is a key component of the Coors Field experience. Check out the new foods that will be brought in this year, like the chicken tacos topped with purple slaw and the Mile High Mac-n-Cheese, smothered in green chili and chorizo. I was already impossibly excited for the new season, but this adds a whole new dimension to my Opening Day countdown.