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Several Rockies players are in the hot seat entering 2018

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Rockies news and links for March 24, 2018

Who is on the Colorado Rockies’ hot seats for 2018 as they try to return to MLB’s postseason? | The Denver Post ($)
There are five players in the hot seat for the Colorado Rockies entering the 2018 campaign, writes Nick Groke of The Denver Post. They are Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story, Wade Davis, and Jon Gray.

For Desmond, CarGo, and Story, there is an obvious desire for improved offensive production from a season ago. Desmond is working on a different approach at the plate this Spring, to avoid putting the ball on the ground at a league-leading rate, as he did in 2017. Gonzalez and Story both showed promise in the second half of 2017. For CarGo, it’s just a matter of putting up numbers akin to those of September- or at least like his 2015-2016 stretch of production. The big focus for Story will be on cutting back on his 191 strikeouts- a number that led the National League in 2017.

Gray, on the other hand, did not struggle in 2017, but there were factors that limited him from pitching like a true ace. Gray enters 2018 as the ace of the Rockies, and seeing him pitch 180+ innings for the first time in his career would be a boon to a still-very youthful pitching staff.

After signing his lucrative three year, $52 million deal, Davis immediately was penciled in as the Rockies’ closer. The Rockies have not been the most successful team in the past when it comes to free agent pitching success stories, so Davis will be relied upon to change that narrative.

Nolan Arenado confident Rockies will rebound from offensive woes of 2017 | The Denver Post ($)
2017’s offensive underperformers have a vote of confidence from their manager and teammates. Third baseman Nolan Arenado expects CarGo and Desmond to turn things around in the new season. “CarGo has a lot left,” Arenado says. Manager Bud Black also expressed confidence in Story’s approach at the plate this Spring.

Arenado more than a one-man highlight reel | Rockies.com
“Nolan Arenado is not a look-at-me guy,” writes MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. “It’s just that you can’t help but cast your eyes his way.” If you’re a Rockies fan, you know about Arenado’s talent. Nolan credits his success with trying not to do too much, and simply being prepared for a ball hit his way at the hot corner, and letting his instincts take over.

Colorado Rockies: Who’s the leadoff man in 2018? | Rox Pile
Center fielder Charlie Blackmon seems very likely to occupy the leadoff role in the Rockies’ lineup in 2018, but Rox Pile’s Olivia Greene focuses on other players who might fit in the first spot of the lineup. They are Desmond and Raimel Tapia. Desmond and Tapia both possess enviable speed on the basepaths.

Senzatela putting himself in mix for roster spot | Rockies.com
There are still 25-man roster decisions to be made for the Rockies before the regular season begins on Thursday. Much like last year when German Marquez was briefly carried in the bullpen to begin the season, Black says the club will consider a pitcher who doesn’t crack the starting rotation to occupy such a role again in 2018. Right now, it’s looking like Antonio Senzatela is on the outside looking in of the rotation, but has had such a successful Spring, it would be difficult to leave him of the Opening Day roster.

Davis, Black establishing good communication | Rockies.com
For an established reliever like Davis, it’s important to have good communication with your manager, and the Rockies’ closer and Black are establishing a good relationship. Davis is no stranger to a heavy workload, having pitched deep into the postseason with the Kansas City Royals in 2015, and the Chicago Cubs in 2016. A focus on “monitoring and maintenance” has put Davis in a good position to understand how much to push himself.

Colorado Rockies: Who would be next in line for the closer’s role? | Rox Pile
Should Davis find himself missing any time in 2018, who could fill the closer’s role? Fortunately, Jake McGee has lengthy experience closing games, and Chris Rusin picked up two saves in a very successful 2017 season as well. Noah Yingling of Rox Pile also throws Senzatela’s name into the mix, while hesitating to endorse Bryan Shaw for the closing job, as he has struggled outside of setup duties.

Spring Training recap
The Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds on Friday by a score of 8-2, improving their Cactus League record to 12-14. They could be at .500 before we know it!

Kyle Freeland got the start for the Rox, pitching a solid 6 innings of 2-run ball, with one walk and three strikeouts. The combination of Scott Oberg, Mike Dunn, Shaw, and McGee pitched a perfect 3 innings in relief, with 6 strikeouts (three of which came from Shaw).

In the fourth inning, Arenado and Gonzalez hit back-to-back home runs. For Nolan, it was a two-run shot, and the solo homer for CarGo was his first of the Spring. Desmond and DJ LeMahieu each picked up multiple hits after starting the game. David Dahl entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Blackmon, and promptly went 2-for-2, with a single and a double. Ryan McMahon pinch-hit for Arenado and collected a single as well. Dahl and McMahon are certainly making their case to occupy a spot on the Opening Day roster.

FanPost Friday

This week’s FanPost Friday topic was “What are your five predictions for the Rockies 2018 season?” I’ll highlight one thing I found interesting from each.

Five Predictions 2018 - firedinger thinks Dahl and McMahon will both be starting by July.

FPF: Five Sure to be Wrong Rockies Predictions - RockiesFan4life believes that Jairo Diaz will make a case for being the Rockies’ most valuable reliever.

FPF: JFK’s 2018 (unpopular) Predictions - jrockies predicts that Dahl will hit for a natural cycle on August 17 (which is a Friday game against the Braves in Atlanta, for those who wish to see this spectacle in person).

FPF- Five Predictions - Road2Rocktober has the national media penciled in to continue to overlook the Rockies.

FPF. Five predictions that will probably all be wrong - pedalpusher forecasts Desmond to be an All-Star and win the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award.

FPF - I got 2 out of 5 last year, so lets see which 2 of 5 predictions I’ll get right! - RoxRock4 envisions a Rockies pitcher throwing a no-hitter in 2018.

FPF: Predictions for 2018 - Arimaris foresees McMahon winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

FPF: Five Predictions - TropicalChrome prognosticates that the question of who plays first base will remain just as big a question at the end of the season as it is now.