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Opening Day!

Rockies news and links for Thursday, July 23, 2020

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We finally made it! Opening Day!

While almost nothing is normal about this season, the excitement for the start of the season is as strong as ever, if not more so. I would think there are about two spots you could be as a fan these days.

The Optimist: Fewer games = higher odds my team makes the postseason. Not to mention we’ve had to wait longer than normal for Opening Day and by gosh, this country could use some baseball right about now. I’m more excited than ever!

The Pessimist: Fewer games = higher odds my team gets sunk by a slow start or bad stretch. I also can’t imagine we make it through a complete season. Surely there will be an in-league Coronavirus outbreak that derails the campaign.

I certainly fall into the former group and think there’s no better place to start on Opening Day than with a look at Bleacher Report’s Power Rankings. Sure—they may have the Rockies at a lowly 26th in the league, but they highlighted the possibility of German Márquez and Jon Gray bringing this team back to contention. We’ll get our first taste of that tomorrow when German takes the mound against the Texas Rangers.

MLB power rankings: Where all 30 teams stand ahead of 2020 opening day | Bleacher Report

Pro Tip: Don’t look at who they have in the top spot here because it isn’t exactly a team you want to see—plus, you probably already know who it is, so why get bogged down by that team that shall remain nameless? We’re not worried about them.

Rockies season preview: How Colorado is set up to navigate this abnormal run | The Athletic ($)

If you’ve taken some time away from baseball news during the Coronavirus pandemic, The Athletic has you covered with this Rockies season preview, broken down as follows:

The Generals: The primary focus in this section falls on Nolan Arenado (shocking!) with his five straight top-ten MVP finishes, seven Gold Gloves, and a constantly improving ability at the plate. On the other side of the ball, is German Márquez who columnist Nick Groke cites as one of a few pitchers “on the verge of true ace status.”

The best path to the playoffs: While many people, Bud Black included, harp on pitching as the key to success, the centerpiece of this section is the team’s ability to hit the long ball. The fact that they’ve been near or in the top five in the major leagues in slugging every year since 2015 is a good sign.

How to get off track: I personally didn’t want to include this one. Getting off track is not something I even want to think about, let alone analyze. But if you must know, a poor stretch, such as last year’s 3-17 record over a 20 game span, or a lack of strong pitching behind Márquez, Gray, and Freeland would mean trouble for this team.

What summer camp taught us: The Rockies are taking chances on some previously successful names who haven’t been the stars they once were in some time; Daniel Bard and Matt Kemp. Any return to form for these guys and the Rockies would have landed on two absolute steals during the break.

How the lineup takes shape: It’s looking to be something along these lines:

CF David Dahl

SS Trevor Story

RF Charlie Blackmon

3B Nolan Arenado

1B Daniel Murphy

DH Matt Kemp

2B Ryan McMahon

LF Raimel Tapia

C Tony Wolters

and lastly,

About the future: Aside from the never-ending Nolan Trade rumors, Story and Gray will be free agents after the 2021 season...but who needs to focus on that for now. Let’s just focus on the 2020 season.

Happy Opening Day!

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