Saturday, March 17, 2012

Colorado Rockies Preview/Prediction

Now that we got the division predictions done it is time to dig a little bit deeper.  Between now and the opener in Japan each team will get their own prediction/preview.  I am going to go in alphabetical order.

First we need a moment of silence for my Gonzaga Bulldogs.  They played well today, just couldn't get the job done against Ohio State.....................................  Alright Onward Ho!!!

Our next post takes us to the Rocky Mountains, where huge expectations for Colorado last year had them underachieving, Now no one really is speaking about them and they still have a lot of talent, and play in a stadium where double digit scores are common.  Let's see how they will do this year.

Infield:  Ramon Hernandez at catcher, Todd Helton at first base, Marco Scutaro at second base, Troy Tulowitzki at shorstop and Casey Blake at third base.

Ramon Hernandez spent the last three years in Cincinnati, and now he goes to where the air is thin in Colorado. He has been in the league for 13 years and is a career .266 hitter.  They have a hot prospect in Wilson Rosario, so he will only be a placeholder this year.   My favorite fact about Todd Helton is that he was the starting quarterback at the University of Tennessee before Peyton Manning was. He is going to get to 2500 career hits this year and will once again go over .300, and people need to start taking him seriously as a Hall of Fame candidate, Coors field or not.  Marco Scutaro came over in a trade for the Red Sox and I don't know why Boston made that trade.  Scutaro is a scrappy and effective player and will succeed just like he did in Oakland and Boston.  Tulowitzki might be the mos talented player in the National League, but he just can't stay healthy.  He is a great hitter and is an absolute joy to watch play the field, so I am hoping he has a healthy season.  Casey Blake came over from the Dodgers and should thrive in the bottom third of a Coors field line up.  He will hit over 20 home runs this year for Colorado, as this was a very underrated signing for the Rockies.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Tulowitzki.  I see him playing 150 games this year for the first time since 2009 and will hit .300 have 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in and will win a gold glove.  The kid is a major talent and needs to stay healthy for this team to have any shot at the playoffs and something tells me he will.

Outfield:  Carlos Gonzalez in left field, Dexter Fowler in center field, and Michael Cuddyer in right field. 

Carlos Gonzalez missed 35 games last season because of wrist injuries.  He also had a ridiculous season in 2010 and so a drop off was expected in 2011.  I think his numbers for 2011 are similar to what you will see in 2012 and they are still good numbers.  Dexter Fowler has no power (notice only five home runs in 2011, despite playing half of his games at Coors Field) and he doesn't steal a lot of bases.  He needs to get on base for Tulowitzki and Gonzalez to get him in. Michael Cuddyer is another underrated signing for the Rockies.  After spending his entire career for the Twins Cuddyer moves to the National League but I still thinks he has a fantastic year for the Rockies.  

Who will have the best season of these guys?  It's tempting to go with Cuddyer because he is so consistent but I think Gonzalez has the better year.  Gonzalez, along with Tulowtizki, will be hitting in Dexter Fowler and Marco Scuatro all seas long.

Starting Pitching:  Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Drew Pomeranz, and Guillermo Moscoso.

Chacin had an ERA under 4 last year, and for someone who starts half his games at Coors Field that is pretty good.  However, he also had a losing record and that is not so good.  He did strike out 150 hitters in 31 starts so he does have pretty good pitching ability.  Tyler Chatwood came over from the Angels in the trade for Chris Ianetta, and he is a ground ball pitcher which the Rockies need.  If an opponent hits the ball on the ground he can't hit it over the fence, and that is what the Rockies want out of Chatwood. Jeremy Guthrie came over from the Baltimore Orioles, and he would have been the only Oriole starter I would have heard of.  He does have a career losing record and at 32, I'm not expecting very big things out of him.  I am expecting huge things out of Drew Pomeranz this season though.  The main reason the Rockies pulled the trigger on the Ubaldo Jiminez trade was that so they could get this kid, and so far they have to like what they see.  The former first round pick in 2010 will make the team out of spring training and will be the best starter the Rockies have.  As good of a move as it was for the Rockies to get a ground ball pitcher in Chatwood, it was just as bad of a move to get a fly ball pitcher in Moscoso.  Last year he had the highest fly ball percentage of balls put in play in all of Major League Baseball, so expect him to give up a lot of home runs this year.  

Who will have the best season of these guys? Drew Pomeranz will be the best starter on this team.  I think he is one of the favorites for National League rookie of the year, and he will be a mainstay in this rotation for years to come.  Buy low on Pomeranz right now.

Bullpen: Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, and Matt Reynolds.

Betancourt had an ERA of .33 in the second half of last year, which is why he is the closer this year.  He also struck out 73 batters in only 62 innings, so he definitely has the stuff to do it.  Belisle has appeared in 150 games for the Rockies the last two years, and he also strikes out a lot of batters.  Rex Brothers might have the best stuff of any person in the bullpen, but has no idea where it will go.  59 strike outs in only 40 innings pitched are great numbers, but 20 walks in those same 40 innings are not.  He needs to improve on pounding the zone if he is going to be the closer of the future for the Rockies, which is what they want.  Matt Reynolds is a  27 year old who gave up 10 home runs in only 50 innings last year.  He is left handed though and that is why he is still employed.

Who will have the best season of these guys?  Betancourt will not have an ERA under 1 this year like he did the 2nd half of last year, but he will still have the best year.  Brothers is still too inexperienced and the other guys are not as talented.  Betancourt will be the closer all year long before they turn it over to Brothers next year.

Record Prediction: 87-75, third in the National League West

Next up:  Detroit Tigers

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