When you have a club that’s rattled off two straight losing seasons, managed to offend their superstar third baseman, and is looking at another offseason of minimal activity aimed towards turning things around, it’s hard to find much to be thankful for. A similar narrative has taken hold of the year 2020 as a whole, which has consistently delivered bad news and battered down even the most optimistic of characters. Today, in the United States, people across the country will do their best to find bright spots in a dark year, no matter how small they might be. In a similarly challenging task, I’ve chosen to highlight three things to be thankful for in the world of Colorado Rockies baseball.
We still have Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story...for now
It may only have been 30 days since the Dodgers were crowned World Series champions at Globe Life Field, but those 30 days represent roughly one-quarter of the whole offseason and to this point, the Rockies have managed to hold onto their two biggest stars
*knocks on wood*
Barring a Trevor Story contract extension over the next three months, rumors will most likely be flying around until the day the Rockies report to Spring Training (and probably after that). With that said, these two guys represent the strongest left side of any infield in baseball and having them sport the Rockies purple is something every fan should be thankful for.
Nolan’s down year in 2020 could be a blessing in disguise. With a contract as large as his, some teams might be scared that they’d be overpaying for a guy who is coming off a shoulder injury and a down year offensively. So even though a fourth place division finish was dismal, I’ll go ahead and say that I am personally thankful for Arenado struggling at the plate this year and count this as a two-for-one section on giving thanks.
The top of the rotation looks pretty good
Getting excited about pitching is always risky when it comes to the Rockies, but the fact that Jon Gray had the fourth best starter ERA on the team in 2020 gives me hope.
Germán Márquez had a 3.75 ERA, falling below the threshold of 4.00 which I have personally established as “good enough” for Rockies pitching. Take into account the fact that he gave up 10 of his 34 runs on the season in one game against the Astros and his season was even better than it looks at first glance.
Then you have Kyle Freeland who did exactly what he needed to after an abysmal 2019 season. He wasn’t quite back to the level of his magical 2018 season, but his 4.33 ERA was a welcome site — falling 2.40 runs below his 2019 mark. As long as Freeland continues moving in the right direction, or at least maintains his 2020 level, he’ll slot very nicely into the second spot of the rotation.
But, the biggest surprise on this list has to be Antonio Senzatela, who seemed to piece it all together in 2020. His 3.44 ERA led the team and his 5-3 mark made him the only Rockies starter with a winning percentage above .500. Like Freeland, Senzatela struggled in 2019 so his breakout campaign in 2020 was a welcome site to Rockies fans.
Having three or four pitchers who have proven themselves at the major league level is certainly something to be thankful for, especially if they’re all hitting their stride at the same time.
Raimel Tapia could be a top of the order staple
A few weeks back when I wrote about Raimel Tapia for our Ranking the Rockies series, I was shocked to discover he had the ninth best batting average in baseball. It still hasn’t fully registered for me, but whenever I get the chance to type it out, it makes me happy. The Rockies haven’t found any consistent hitting outside of Story, Arenado, and Blackmon over the last couple of years and the possibility of having Tapia consistently on base ahead of the big three is something this team desperately needs. With his speed, Raimel is a threat to score any time he gets on base and his fun energy is the kind that can spark a team in need of some new life.
So give thanks!
Rockies fans haven’t had many reasons to be happy about the team these days, but on Thanksgiving, we come together and do our best to find diamonds in the rough and give thanks for what we have. For now, I’ve put aside my negative thoughts and acknowledged the good that Rockies baseball still has to offer. In a month or so, perhaps I’ll be channeling my inner George Costanza and airing my Rockies grievances to celebrate Festivus.
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As I made my way through this article, I had a hard time figuring out who Bleacher Report would have picked to fill this spot for the Rockies. My first thought was Trevor Story, but I wondered if his emergence as a superstar over the last couple of years and pending free agency took him out of the equation. Then there was Germán Márquez who despite having a relatively strong hold on the title of best Rockies pitcher, still has room to improve, but at 25, could be a centerpiece for this team for a long time. I want to say I thought of Brendan Rodgers before seeing his name on the list, but unfortunately, I was still thinking about Márquez when I scrolled far enough down to see the Rockies’ top prospect appear. I always seem to forget about Rodgers since he’s been “the next big thing” for what feels like a decade now, but at just 24 years old, the former third overall pick has more than enough time to grow into his own.
Despite a relatively quiet start to the MLB Hot Stove across the league, the Rockies were in action on Wednesday. With Hoffman headed to Cincinnati, the Rockies can close the book on the trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. Hoffman was the crown jewel of the return the Rockies got when they shipped Tulo up the Great White North, but unfortunately things never really got going for Hoffman.
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