If you browsed social media on Wednesday around the time the lineup for that day’s Spring Training game was announced, you probably saw the following: “Looks like the Opening Day lineup.” That includes our own Twitter feed and a few others.
For those who didn’t see it:
That does look pretty darn good. Ian Desmond’s name will always stand out, but he hit a three-run home run today and would be sandwiched between lefties with this setup. The only new addition is Daniel Murphy, so it is kind of amazing to see what a difference just one guy can make to how the rest of the order looks.
Ryan McMahon still might lose that spot to Garrett Hampson. Chris Iannetta isn’t a guarantee, though it seems likely he will start opening day since the likely pitcher will be Kyle Freeland. This group fared well Wednesday, with Charlie Blackmon also hitting a homer in a 5-3 win.
And yes, that link is from a newspaper in Kalispell, Montana. I think it’s technically an AP story, but it’s way more fun to provide this link. Jack Thompson talked to Trevor Story about his thoughts on the lineup and his goals for the upcoming season. Story mentions his goal to strike out less, and if he does so while keeping up his other production, he will be in for a true superstar showing.
Thomas Harding writes about the way these two push each other, noting the “unlikely” part of this is that Arenado is so outwardly intense and Dahl is less so. There is a lot of interesting tidbits in here about how these two hit for power and try to learn from each other. For example, Dahl tends to drive the ball the other way more.
That also makes way for my favorite part of this article, which is that Dahl messes with and teases Arenado all the time. It seems like these two complement each other well, something that bodes well for the Rockies given their respective talent levels.
I think it would be the most fun if the Rockies beat the Dodgers at their best to claim their first National League West title. Looking ahead to 2019, it already looks like that won’t be the case as Clayton Kershaw continues to deal with injuries. Not that I will complain if the Rockies win the division under those circumstances.
Luke Zahlmann notes how that Kershaw injury plus some other health questions in the Dodgers’ rotation could open things up for the Rockies. We should also note, however, that the Rockies are just as likely to end up dealing with a major injury. Hopefully they don’t, and if they do hopefully they have the depth to cover it.
Nolan Arenado checks in at no. 5 on this list, while Trevor Story is the other member of the Rockies in the top 50 at no. 48. Given some of the pitchers on this list, I will push back against Kyle Freeland not being in the top 50. He was no. 91 on ESPN’s 51-100 list. German Márquez was no. 81 on that list, showing that his upside is starting to get noticed on a bigger scale.
Now let’s hope that next year’s list has somebody like David Dahl on it, because won’t that mean that the 2019 season has been fun?