The Colorado Rockies have a clear area of strength: their starting rotation. Let’s first just take a moment to step back and bask in that fact. With a tip of the cap to Jeff Bridich and Bud Black and so many others, it’s just so awesome that the Rockies think their rotation can stack up with anybody and they’re not wrong or crazy.
As for 2019, this article drives home the pressure on the starting rotation as the Rockies try to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Kyle Freeland and German Marquez need to be studs again. Jon Gray needs to get on track. Tyler Anderson needs to be more consistent. Antonio Senzatela and a cast of others need to offer depth.
There are plenty of reasons to think they can get it done in 2019. But it also doesn’t take much for starting rotations, especially young starting rotations, to have things unravel. That’s the pressure on these young pitchers as we get ready for Spring Training.
It doesn’t take long to list off what’s new in Colorado. In with Daniel Murphy, out with DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino. What is needed is a more complicated question.
The obvious need for improvement lies with the offense. That doesn’t mean that we should just assume the starting rotation is set to dominate again in 2019. As Nick Groke notes in this rundown, it’s a lot of pressure on a young rotation to keep up as the league adjusts to them. It’s also always dicey to assume young starting pitchers will stay healthy.
That brings us to potential questions for the Rockies on the pitching side. Will they have the depth in the rotation if they need it? Do they have enough firepower in the bullpen? Now is the time of year when it’s fun to consider those questions, and the Rockies have a lot of them even as they look like contenders once again.
The Rockies need their offense to be better in 2019. Part of that will come down to improvements from guys already on the roster and youngsters coming up through the system. But an equally important part of that will be sustained contributions from the good performers such as Story.
As Jack Etkin notes in this article, Story will have to step up in a different way this season as well. He will need to be a leader for whichever prospect grabs the second base job, whether it be one or a combination of Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers.
Story seems like the type who will be up to the task. This also underlines the importance of strong locker room guys, a consistent priority for the Rockies. Just because they overpaid doesn’t mean those guys don’t provide leadership.
It’s me, a guy with two English literature degrees, here to tell you that I still have no idea what a quant fund is. I do know this article by Michael Santoli is too quick to assume that the rise of analytics in baseball means the end of traditional scouting. That’s a false choice and teams still use both.
I also know that if some front offices view their teams as a portfolio in cold hard terms, that doesn’t necessarily include the Rockies. For better or for worse, the Rockies seem to factor in other considerations. That brings you questionable moves like Ian Desmond’s contract or CarGo’s return last season, but it might also bring you a Nolan Arenado mega extension as the rest of the league avoids Machado and Harper. Here’s hoping!