Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 Preview: Colorado Rockies

     Only a few seasons ago, the Rockies General Manager Dan O'Dowd and company were locking up sluggers Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez on big contracts.  This club can provide excitement and produce runs like no other when firing on all cylinders.  "Tulo and "CarGo" are revered as one of the most dangerous 3-4 punches in the game...when they both are playing that is.

Troy Tulowitzki leaves the field due to groin injury.  
     Tulowitzki was plagued during the 2012 season with a nagging groin injury that limited him to only 47 games.  The key to the 2013 season for the Rockies success hinges on Tulo's health.  If he cannot remain healthy and on the field for the majority of the season, than the upcoming season may be as dismal as the last.  Without Tulowitzki in the lineup last season, the Rockies only managed to win 64 games.  But do not let that number fool you, this lineup has the potential to put up big numbers.


     Through all of the misery that encompassed the 2012 Rockies, there was a silver lining to be found. Josh Rutledge, called up from a strong Double-A campaign to replace injured Tulowitzki, provided plenty of production from the shortstop position.  Rutledge notched 76 base hits in 277 AB's, 33 of which went for extra bases.  After swiping 14 bags during his Double-A stint and another 7 during his 73 games on the big-league roster, there is no reason to believe Rutledge couldn't produce a 20/20 season in 2013.  Another encouraging bat in the lineup was found through 24 year old catcher Wilin Rosario, who banged out 28 HR's in 396 AB's last season.  Rosario, who will get the nod from opening day to be the Rockies' catcher, will have plenty of opportunity to build on his power throughout the upcoming season.  Having the veteran presence of super utility man Michael Cuddyer will help throughout the 2013 season just as it did in the last.  Cuddyer has a knack for coming up big in key situations for his team which could provide crucial if the Rockies are serious about wanting to improve off of last season's win total.  Lead off hitter Dexter Fowler, though striking out far too much, has shown that he can produce in the number 1 hole for the club, and will need to do so throughout the duration of the 2013 season to keep the Rockies out of the NL West basement.  Of course this lineup will benefit heavily from the steady presence of outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has become one of the most consistent five-tool players in the MLB.

Catcher Wilin Rosario admires one of his long HR's.  (28 in 2012)

     Though the lineup provides promise, the pitching staff is weighted down with sub par starters and focuses heavily on LHP's.  Led by Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge de la Rosa, both who of which are returning from missing most of the 2012 season due to injury, this staff is depending on young and veteran starters alike to put together a respectable rotation.  This staff could benefit from the starts of Christian Friedrich, a fastball pitcher with a power arm.  Much of the starting and bullpen staff lacks command and variety which could make for a long season if they cannot correct and improve this during spring training.

     Led by rookie manager Walt Weiss, who was coaching high school baseball last summer, the Colorado Rockies could be in for a long 2013.  There are too many nagging injuries for me to count this club as a serious contender for the upcoming season, but the Rockies have proven that wrong in the past.  Here's to hoping they can remain healthy for a long 162 games.

Stay magical, Walt.

*Projected NL West finish: 5th
*Fantasy Standout: Carlos Gonzalez



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