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Rockies project as a high-variance team in 2018

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Rockies news and links for March 16, 2018

Predicting the Rockies

Table For Two: Previewing the Colorado Rockies | Baseball Prospectus
Ben Carsley and Jeffrey Paternostro at Baseball Prospectus offer their thoughts regarding the Colorado Rockies’ expected 2018 performance. BPro’s PECOTA projection system projects a 78-84 record for the Rockies, and the consensus among the authors is that the Rox will outperform that- though maybe not by a wide margin. The main concern is one that has been oft-speculated among Rockies’ fandom- the possibility that too much time will be given to underperformers because of their veteran status, while young talents are stashed in the minor leagues- or worse, on the bench in the Majors.

You may already be able to guess which players we’re talking about. Ryan McMahon (PuRP No. 2), David Dahl, and Raimel Tapia appear close to, if not entirely, major-league ready, while Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez, and Gerardo Parra are coming off sub-par 2017 seasons. The Rockies have a plethora of depth options in the outfield available to them which will allow them to rise above underperformances or potential injuries, but the depth that the Rox have created is “unconventional,” as Paternostro writes.

Ultimately, Paternostro predicts “a low-80s win, high-variance team” in the 2018 Rockies. Projection systems have had a tough time predicting the Rockies in the past, and that may be a similar story this season.

2018 Preview: Colorado Rockies | NBC Sports
Craig Calcattera of NBC Sports also submitted Rockies predictions for the 2018 season on Friday. Specifically, Calcattera forecasts a fourth-place finish in the National League West for the Rox. I could envision two teams finishing the season ahead of the Rockies, but it’s difficult for me to believe the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks will all have better records. However, the Rockies do have some big question marks, as Calcattera details.

Colorado Rockies: NL West outlook based off Spring Training | Rox Pile
At Rox Pile, Olivia Greene predicts the season based on Spring Training results. Of course, if regular season winning percentages were equal to the Cactus League numbers, the Rockies would find themselves last place finishers in the West. Fortunately, it is only Spring Training and there have been positive signs for players young and old in Rockies camp.

Colorado Rockies key to success: More tacos in 2018 | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt suggests “tacos” [sic] as a key to success for the Rockies in 2018. If you’re unaware of the Rockies Taco Special, it can be achieved at participating Taco Bell locations when the Rockies score seven or more runs during a regular season game. Unsurprisingly, the Rockies often found themselves winners when scoring seven or more runs in 2017, and rebound offensive campaigns from several players could result in more opportunities to get taco’s in 2018.

Colorado Rockies: A path to taking that “next step” and winning the division | Rox Pile
Nick Bunney of Rox Pile had some fun looking at park metrics for determining Rockies’ success. The Rockies not only had success in the pitcher-friendly confines of Coors Field in 2017, but in visiting “hitter-friendly” parks as well. The Rockies had a losing record in “pitcher-friendly” parks league-wide. Bunney posits that more stolen bases, fewer strikeouts, and fewer GIDPs will help the team have offensive success in “pitcher-friendly” stadiums in 2018. This Spring, the Rockies have led all of baseball in stolen bases, and have improved the strikeout numbers. Double play data was not readily available, but perhaps one of our readers with a decent amount of time on their hands would be interested in finding that information.

Spring Training Notes

Jon Gray sets his goals for 2018 and the number in his head is 200 | Mile High Sports
Looking ahead to the coming season, Jon Gray is focused on pitching an “ace-level” workload. Gray says he would like to pitch 200 innings in 2018. What has revealed itself to be a key to having success as a Rockies’ starter is having no fear of Coors Field- and Gray says he wants “to be a dominant guy that guys don’t want to face, even at Coors [Field].”

Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez on his first Cactus League game | Rox Pile
CarGo spoke to reporters about his first game back in Cactus League action. He went 1-for-3 with an infield single against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. He also hit a home run off of Scott Oberg in a minor league game on Wednesday. Gonzalez is focusing on concentrating early on in Spring, and Rox Pile’s Noah Yingling provides entire quotes from the Rockies’ right fielder.

LeMahieu’s swing not missing much in spring | Rockies.com
DJ LeMahieu will be a free agent after the 2018 campaign, but for right now, he is having nothing but success in Spring Training. After the conclusion of Friday’s action, LeMahieu is now hitting .455 (15-for-33) in the Cactus League. He also has one home run, a grand slam against the Angels on Thursday.

Spring Training recap
The Rockies clobbered the Angels on Friday, winning by a final score of 18-6. Desmond broke out of a slump with two home runs (in the same inning, no less). One of those home runs came off Angels starter Shohei Ohtani, who also gave up a three-run jack to Arenado in what became an 8-run 2nd inning for the Rockies. Parra and Sam Hilliard (PuRP No. 17) also went deep in the game. LeMahieu, Trevor Story, and Mike Tauchman (PuRP No. 22) also picked up multiple hits, and Charlie Blackmon, Chris Iannetta, and Jordan Patterson (PuRP No. 14) reached base multiple times.

On the pitching side, German Marquez got the win after giving up three earned runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. Marquez also allowed two walks, and on a more promising note, struck out five. Jairo Diaz (PuRP No. 27) gave up a couple runs, and Jake McGee allowed one earned, while Chris Rusin pitched a scoreless inning. Non-roster invitee Brooks Pounders was perfect, striking out 3 in the final 2 innings of the game.