Tomorrow, a new season begins. With Spring Training officially in the rear-view mirror, we will continue the trend of looking ahead to the 2019 campaign while there’s still time for unadulterated opinions on how the Rockies will do this year. This time, Matt Provenzano has your Rockies 2019 team preview from the always astute Beyond the Box Score.
According to Matt, there are a certain amount of wins the Rockies can bank on thanks to their tried and true stars—like Nolan, Trevor, Chuck, Freeland, and Marquez—and it’s about 71 wins. How then do they get from 71 to, say, 91 wins and compete for a division title? Well, a lot will fall on the shoulders of role players, the bullpen, and back end of the rotation. Will Dahl or McMahon breakout? Will Shaw and McGee recover? Is it Jeff Hoffman’s year to become a rotation staple? These are the questions that will guide us in 2019.
If nothing else, its a fast and well thought out read that does not drop lazy Coors or you-just-know-they’re-gonna-hit takes. It’s refreshing to see another reliable and smart national source take time to understand the Rockies and how they’ve achieved back-to-back years in the Postseason and what they’ll need to do to finally nab a division title. Like Matt says, this team is in control of its own success and primed to compete with the Dodgers once again.
As I mentioned, the Rockies will open the season tomorrow in Miami to take on the new-look Marlins, and Kevin Henry from Rox Pile has your latest look at how the roster, pitching staff, and lineups are taking shape. There was a flurry of roster activity in the past week and it really cleared the muddy waters of how this team would look on Opening Day—Mark Reynolds is back in a key role, Raimel Tapia’s competition was traded, and the never-ending catcher drama, well, ended when Tom Murphy was DFA’d. Now it’s time to play.
Thomas Harding joined Ben and Woods, a local San Diego sports radio station program, to preview the Rockies and talk about the upcoming season in the competitive NL West. Harding lets everyone know that the Rockies truly believe in their ability to win the division this year and explains why there are many reason for that optimism. He describes it like they know it’s their destiny to defeat the Dodgers and claim the West, if not more. It’s the kind of optimism that certainly has me fired up for this season.
You know what helps when you want to win your division? Having the MVP. If David Adler of MLB.com gets his predictions right, the Rockies will have just that in Nolan Arenado. The past four seasons Nolan has improved his MVP standing each year, going from 8th to 5th to 4th and to 3rd place in 2018. Adler and his colleagues expect that trend to continue, and predict Nolan will just edge out Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper for the eminent award.
Raimel Tapia is finally getting his chance. Well, sort of. He will be on the Opening Day roster for the Rockies, but in a back-up role as the fourth outfielder behind Blackmon, Dahl, and Desmond. Thomas Harding spoke to Raimel about this opportunity—a comeback of sorts—and his mindset and preparation for attacking opposing pitchers this season.
Interestingly, a strong component of the interview is about Raimel’s attempt to learn English better as a way to improve his hitting skills and relationship with teammates and coaches. In particular, new hitting coach Dave Magadan surprised Raimel with his ability to speak Spanish, and the 25 year old native of the Dominican Republic was all smiles knowing he can more comfortably converse with his coach to help him make an impact all year.
You can’t blame Kyle Freeland for feeling so comfortable atop the Rockies rotation here in Colorado, he is home, after all. He was born and raised here, learned to compete here, and grew up rooting for the very team he plays on now to achieve the ultimate baseball goal of winning a championship. It’s only natural that Kyle would take winning here so personal.
Pat Graham spoke to Kyle about his Colorado heritage and how he has seemingly developed an advantage to pitch here—where other pitchers adopted the altitude, he was born in it, molded by it. The altitude betrays others because it belongs to Kyle.
In all seriousness, though, it’s an incredible read, and Kyle’s Colorado pride really shines through. Plus, if you’re the type of person who enjoys reading too closely into quotes, Kyle admits, “It would be a little weird to be somewhere else,” so, career-long extension practically confirmed, am I right?