The Colorado Rockies, according to ESPN.com’s roster analysis, possessed the fifth-youngest roster in the Major’s this past season. Heck, with a little depth at a few positions and a bullpen to match, this team could have easily been contending for a Wild Card.
The scary thing is, this is a team that could be potentially be adding a few more young guys to the roster come Opening Day.
oi enough talk about the 2016 season, it’s time to focus on 2017.
The Rockies were an under-the-radar team in 2016 — mostly every year they are if I’m going to be completely honest. With breakout rookie campaigns from Trevor Story, Tyler Anderson, and Jon Gray, this team has caught the eye of the national media and rightfully so.
Something that rarely happens, if at all.
The addition of Bud Black as the skipper is another reason why most believe the Rockies can surprise a lot of people in ’17.
Most recently, ESPN Senior Writer Jim Bowden did an insider piece entitled, “Why the Colorado Rockies will be the surprise team of 2017.”
Bowden praised the addition of Black.
The Rockies’ best move in the offseason was hiring Bud Black to take over as manager. Black has nine years of experience with the San Diego Padres, highlighted by a 90-win season in 2010 that led to Black winning the National League Manager of the Year Award. He’s a strong leader and a phenomenal in-game tactician, with an excellent track record for handling pitching staffs. I’m expecting him to be a difference-maker.
With that being said, handling the pitching staff was Colorado’s number one flaw the past season. Not saying the blame is entirely on Walt Weiss’ shoulders, but the bullpen management left you scratching your head at times. Colorado, as a team, blew 28 saves in 2016 — third worst in the league.
Bowden mentions that the position players consisting of guys such as Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, David Dahl, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, and DJ LeMahieu are playoff ready. The number one key for Colorado getting to the playoffs — year after year — will revolve around the pitching staff.
Colorado’s staff took a tremendous leap forward this past season, providing hope for not only this upcoming season, but for the future as well. Gray and Anderson, the two-headed horse atop the Rockies’ rotation, will be heavily relied upon to bring Rocktober back to the Mile High City. Both had impressive rookie campaigns, proving that these two can steer the ship for hopefully years to come.
Colorado’s rotation is pretty much set barring injury, also featuring Tyler Chatwood and Chad Bettis. The main question heading into Spring Training will be regarding the fifth spot in the rotation. German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman are the two top candidates for job, while Antonio Senzatella and Kyle Freeman provide not only dark horse options but depth as well.
The Rockies also went out and made a splash via free agency, inking outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70 million deal. A lot of people — I mean a lot — hated the idea simply because Colorado is looking to utilize Desmond as their everyday first baseman. A position in which he hasn’t even played an inning at throughout his entire professional career.
Halt the breaks.
Colorado’s outfield is stacked. Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, David Dahl, Gerardo Parra, and Raimel Tapia highlight the list. Though one of those names, most likely Tapia, will begin the season in Triple-A Albuquerque, Colorado will essentially have five outfielders on the active roster, including Desmond. Desmond could spell someone such as CarGo or Blackmon as a day off, leading to the potential of Jordan Patterson have a bench spot and/or Parra splitting time there.
People need to remember that last season was Desmond’s first full season in the outfield. So essentially a transition to first base shouldn’t be that big of a concern given his history playing shortstop and second base.
When it is all said and done, the Rockies have officially made it back on the map regarding the national media.