The Los Angeles Dodgers were really good in 2017. Really, really, really good. Historically good.
The Dodgers still didn’t win the World Series.
Why? Baseball is weird and hard.
Anyway, the Dodgers playing into November is going to have effects on them next season. With pitchers and catchers reporting in just about 10 weeks for L.A.
In turn, this gives the Colorado Rockies an advantage, albeit in a weird way, for the 162 to be played in 2018.
Winning the offseason or some classic narrative like that
Okay, I know the sub-headline, which was written by me but I’ll blame my editors (curse you Creasman), anyway with said that the Rockies need to win the offseason. They don’t. Well, kinda.
By no means do the Rockies need to go out and spend $25 million a year on some sexy free agent, someone who you’ll be trying to figure out why they signed three years from now. In fact, the Rockies can pretty much stay away from the market completely.
As Drew Creasman and I laid out on the BSN Rockies Podcast earlier the club will have about $70 million committed to six players (one option) and a dead contact (Jose Reyes.) The Rockies should have about another $70 million to spend to figure out possibly 20 spots. Luckily for them, almost their entire team is pre-arbitration giving the club the chance to spend big on the bullpen.
The first move should be to re-sign Jonathan Lucroy and that goes without saying but the second should be to sign two of the three of Greg Holland, Pat Neshek and Jake McGee while supplementing that with two veteran relievers.
That’s pretty much going to be all the Rockies money and it doesn’t look like a huge improvement but that’s a major win for them.
They have to trust their system and core and make savvy moves to compliment Jon Gray, Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and etc.
Better utilization of talent
Trust your system. The Rockies have to trust guys like Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon with Carlos Gonzalez and possibly Mark Reynolds gone. This is not a bad thing. Each of these two youngsters is expected to be terrific. Though his injury history means he can’t be entirely counted on, David Dahl will likely factor into this equation as well. Trust it, save your dollars here.
Not only will saving dollars here allow the club to better spend their money but it will allow them to better utilize their roster which had it’s young talent halted most of 2017 by veterans. In fact, Albuquerque’s offense looked just as good as the big club’s in July.
This will come down to Bud Black and Jeff Bridich, who for the most part did a solid job of this last year, but have some room to grow.
The Cubs were so bad in the first half of 2017. We all know they weren’t a bad team and they were pretty much the same 25 players that had just won the World Series.
The World Series hangover is real, even for the team that did not win it. The Indians only had a .540 winning percentage in the first half compared to the gaudy .733 they had after the break.
This mainly came down to pitchers losing velocity on both teams because they were fatigued early on. Joe Maddon publicly admitted his club was ‘hungover’ until mid-May.
Brandon Morrow pitched in every single game of the World Series, Kenley Jansen threw 68.1 innings in the regular season and another 16.2 in the post and Clayton Kershaw threw 23 innings in October and November.
This will have an impact.
The Rockies have a great opportunity to get a huge lead on the Dodgers and hope it lasts.
Get a “surprise”
The Dodgers got some massive surprises in 2017, at least to people outside of L.A. Nobody could expect Cody Bellinger to have the season he did, especially after a Dodger—Corey Seager— did it last year. Chris Taylor, a dude who started the season in Triple-A, put up a 5.0 WAR, Justin Turner was a menace and the aforementioned Morrow turned into the best set-up guy in baseball after being left for dead by the Padres, of all teams.
The Rockies have some reasonable candidates to shock the world. Top prospect Brendan Rodgers advanced to Double-A in 2017 and has a great shot at making the majors in 2018. If so, he, even at a very young age could have a massive impact. After missing a full season, Dahl could surprise people but he won’t be a surprise locally.
On the pitching side, Jon Gray’s ascension could reach new heights in 2018 and put him among the best pitchers in baseball, which would be a pleasant surprise. His long-time running mate Tyler Anderson has been exceptional every time he’s been healthy in pro ball. If they can avoid injury, the Rockies could have a prolific one-two punch.
Hope your players repeat
Arenado and Blackmon have to be the two-headed MVP like monsters they were in 2017, maybe even better. Without the two putting up eye-popping numbers, it will be hard for the Rockies to upstage the Dodgers.
More than just the starters need to keep stepping up though. Trevor Story sophomore slumped through the first half, the Rockies cannot afford that with their young pitchers. Particularly concerning is the way German Marquez ended his season in 2017. But on the upside, all of them, including Kyle Freeland and German Marquez, threw more innings this past season than ever before which should help to stretch out their arms.
The Rockies margin is slim. They have less money and organizational talent and fewer resources. There is a reason after all that the Dodgers won 18 more games than the Rockies in 2017, but Colorado has a shot, albeit a slim one, to end Hollywood’s five-year starlit.