For the first time in what seems like forever, the Colorado Rockies enter spring training with something the fan base hasn’t seen in almost seven years – legitimate optimism.
It’s been common for the Rockies to start the season hot with dominant hitting and passable pitching. However, as the season goes on, injuries creep up on the team, key players are lost, and their pitching – specifically their usually less-than-stellar bullpen – holds back their explosive offense. The season usually ends in nothing but disappointment, blind faith and the common notion, “Well there’s always next year.” This year might be that “next year.”
The Rockies aren’t going to be legitimate contenders for the division. The Los Angeles Dodgers are still miles ahead of the Rockies, but there is a chance the Rockies contend for one of the two Wild
Card spots. Offensively, where they have always excelled, the Rockies look amazing on paper.
Their lineup will feature Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, Ian Desmond, Carlos Gonzalez, David Dahl, Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu. Five of those seven players hit 20 or more home runs in 2015, with Dahl hitting 16 in just 63 games in 2016.
The offense is fine. The defense is fine. Gonzalez is an accomplished out elder, LeMahieu is a great in elder and Arenado is arguably the best defensive in elder in all of baseball.
What gives Rockies fans hope is the state of their pitching, something that has been nothing short of pitiful in recent years. In terms of the rotation, Jon Gray showed why he was selected third overall in 2013 by the club. Though his 11-9 record seems subpar, his 3.38 ERA was tied for the team’s best. Last season was the first season where he saw significant time on the mound and, at moments, he flashed hints of being the club’s future ace.
The bullpen does not look as terrible as it has been. Best case scenario for the bullpen is passable work that won’t be enough to win them a majority of close games, but perhaps win them just enough.
Overall, the Rockies are hard to predict this year, and that should be awesome news for their fans. The Rockies are a dark horse contender for the Wild Card and could surprise the masses come
late September. In order to do so, however, the Rockies have to fend o Wild Card contenders from the NL Central and NL East.
No matter if the Rockies make the postseason or not, one thing is for sure, the Rockies have something they haven’t had in what seems like ages – hope.