The Colorado Rockies currently lead the National League West after two weeks of play in 2017. They went four games above .500 (9-5) in a 14 game in 14-day stretch to begin the year. Most impressive about this stretch of baseball from the Rockies? They did it without their major offseason acquisition, Ian Desmond, flashy young outfielder, David Dahl and power hitting platoon catcher, Tom Murphy.
In fact, the Rockies started the season with the second-most players on the disabled list out of the 30 clubs in baseball. Chad Qualls a possible factor to the team is still rehabbing, inexperienced flamethrower Jairo Diaz is in the same situation, Chris Rusin joined the team midway through the 14 game segment and Chad Bettis, the team’s fourth starter, remains locked in his battle with cancer (seriously, #TogetherForBettis).
The Rockies not only held it together for eight games on the road, six at home, all of which were Bud Black‘s first games—including 10 against divisional opponents—they thrived.
On a preseason edition of the BSN Rockies Podcast, my cohort Drew Creasman and I agreed if the Rockies held it together and finished this stretch .500 that we liked their odds of making the playoffs. While Fangraphs currently has the Rockies at a 20.3% chance of making the postseason—that’s seventh best in NL—I will go out on a limb and say my odds for the club are much higher, I would even use the phrase, ‘good chance.’
The next battle for the Rockies, who will still be without Desmond, Dahl and others for at least the remainder of April will be surviving the injury to ace Jon Gray. Gray will be sidelined for ‘at least a month’ but what would be a death sentence for most year’s teams in the history of the Rockies, this is far from it. Not that the Rockies will be able to make up for Gray’s production but his absence could mean an opportunity for a younger and equally talented pitcher.
If Gray’s stress fractured foot heals and he is back in six weeks, he’ll be pegged to rejoin the big league rotation around Memorial Day where the Rockies will be playing around their 50th game of the season. If the club can find a way to hang onto their four games above .500 and find themselves at 27-23 they will be within striking distance with a hopefully healthy team that would remain deep.
If the Rockies don’t even keep pace but just cling to what they already have by the time Gray comes back—the eve of June—they will have set themselves up to do something very special.
How possible is this? Very.
The additions of Desmond and Dahl are huge and when considering the offense has slept through about 10 of the Rockies 14 games thus far it seems as though reinforcements are coming from everywhere, with very little signs of cracking from what is already good, the bullpen.
Looking at last year the club was 50-47 before Trevor Story and Mark Reynolds got hurt, their bullpen would collapse too and the Rockies had a rather forgettable finish. But let’s say the team is already going through their worst injuries—which they are surviving—their bullpen isn’t going to get bad, it’s full of veteran proven guys.