Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2016 season. Next up: The Colorado Rockies
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Rockies, despite scoring lots of runs, were bad in 2015. At the risk of redundancy, allow me to observe that the Rockies, despite scoring a lot of runs, will be bad again in 2016. Maybe this is depressing to some, but there’s something to be said about constants in the universe. The Rockies are like Leonardo DiCaprio’s little spinning top thing in “Inception” in this way.
Nolan Arenado, and Carlos Gonzalez are back again. The former is the club’s best player and one of the best players in the game. The latter is great when he plays but fragile. They’ll be solid and will put up nice numbers. Gerardo Parra has been added. He’s solid enough but no game-changer. Troy Tulowitzki is gone and the guy they got in return for him, Jose Reyes, is away from the team and will likely be suspended for domestic violence. Corey Dickerson is gone. For all the runs the Rockies will continue to score, they will still get below average offense once you adjust for their park. They’ll be a tire fire on the road. Best thing this season outside of Arenado and Gonzalez will be seeing some prospects late in the year. Guys like infielder Trevor Story and catcher Tom Murphy.
As for pitching, it’s hard to believe that Jorge De La Rosa has been hurling at Coors Field for eight years, but he has. And he’s been doing it well. They’re gonna put a statue up of him there one day. An example that you actually can pitch at altitude and not be blasted to the stone age. He’s back. He’s solid. Beyond that there are a lot of question marks but also a lot of pitching prospects who will get chances in 2016, sooner or later. They won’t get a lot of innings early, but as the season goes on remember the names Jeff Hoffman, John Gray and Kyle Freeland, among others. They could be the future.
The bullpen has a couple of names in Jake McGee, acquired in the Dickerson trade, and Jason Motte, acquired in the Rockies’ fever dreams from 2011. I’d say this is an ill-advised tack to take for the Rockies, but it’s not like they’ll be protecting a lot of leads.
No way to spin this: the Rockies are gonna stink on ice. But at least watching Nolan Arenado play will be fun.
Prediction: Fifth place, NL West.