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Colorado Rockies Preview

COLORADO ROCKIES: (92-70, SECOND PLACE, N.L. WEST [Wild Card] in 2009)

Our team preview series continues with the Colorado Rockies, a team profiled in the Total WAR Project a few weeks back. Stocked with young talent and an improving pitching staff, some see the Rockies as the favorite in the West, rather than second fiddle to the Dodgers. In 2009, the Rox finished three games behind L.A., but five games up in the Wild Card race, firmly entrenching themselves among the upper echelon of N.L. teams last season.

Troy Tulowitzki proved his 2008 was a fluke and re-established his position among the game’s elite shortstops, both offensively and defensively. Rookie Dexter Fowler and sophomore Carlos Gonzalez look to round out a young core that the Rockies may be able to contend with for years to come. It will certainly help the Rockies in the playoffs, knowing that the Phillies simply will not be able to retire Gonzalez if the Phils and Rox have a grudge match.

The less heralded portion of the roster is a solid, if unspectacular, pitching staff. Three returning starters – Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Hammel and Jorge de la Rosa – were each worth 3.7 wins or better, and relievers Huston Street and Rafael Betancourt enjoyed great successes of their own.

2010 SEASON

Colorado’s biggest question lies in its pitching staff’s depth. Jimenez looks to be a stud, but can Hammel and de la Rosa replicate their ’09 production? Can Manny Corpas, Jeff Francis, Taylor Buchholz and Franklin Morales provide enough quality innings and recover lost production?

Folk hero and star first baseman Todd Helton is aging and won’t be able to stave off decline forever. Can he and the rest of the offense rally around the trio of Tulo, Fowler and CarGo to provide a pennant-worthy offense?

Right now, this team is primed to be the team of the future in the West and, perhaps, the N.L. For this year, though, questions remain, too many questions to think that this team can be considered a pennant favorite. Make no mistake, though, plenty of players are primed for breakout, and the Rockies could pull off an upset and unseat the Dodgers to claim the West crown. They will be plenty good still this year, division title or not, and will likely make a return to the postseason.

Keep an eye on Seth Smith, Colorado’s version of our Ben Francisco. A solid bench bat and fourth outfielder that could start for many MLB teams.

PREDICTION: 93-69

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Chuck

    March 26, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I remember Seth Smith….very promising player. He definitely caught my eye.

    I think this is a good prediction.

  2. Steve-o

    March 26, 2010 at 11:33 am

    This is the team that scares me in the NL. I think the Phils are the class of the league, as many others do, but if there’s a team that could challenge them, I think the Rox might be it…

  3. BurrGundy

    March 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

    The Rockies will likely unseat the Dodgers. If their pitching holds up, they could go far in the playoffs. They have some leaders (Helton and Tulowitski) and some good young talent. Plus, they know how to take advantage of the mile-high thin air of Denver.

  4. bfo_33

    March 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    While the Dodgers won’t give up the NL West Crown without a fight, I like the Rockies to take the division, if for no other reason than:

    GLENDALE, Ariz. — Vicente Padilla, pretty much the last guy anybody expected to get the nod, will be the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher for the club’s season opener on April 5 at Pittsburgh.

    Padilla, a veteran right-hander, will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda, meaning Kershaw will start the April 13 home opener against Arizona.

    I know the season opener pitcher is largely a symbolic gesture, but Padilla? Really?

  5. Chuck

    March 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Yeah, not really sure what Torre’s thinking is here. I blasted him last year for starting Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLCS over a veteran like Randy Wolf. Maybe that’s part of his thinking??….that he doesn’t think Kershaw is up to the task??

    Or, maybe he just wants Kershaw to pitch the home opener….which makes sense I guess.

  6. Phylan

    March 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Kershaw is going to be the ace of that rotation anyway, and I suspect Billingsley will bounce back.

  7. Don M

    March 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I was knocking Kershaw before.. but really, he’s a young kid just lacking some experience..

    when you look at his numbers.. HE’S FILTHY !!!! If he cuts down on his walks, and gets some run support, he’s Cy Young within the next 2-3 seasons

  8. Manny

    March 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    He is FILTHY, Don.. Had him in my fantasy team last year, that’s when I realized how good he was… If he cuts down the walks, oh man, he’ll reach elite status very, very quickly.

  9. Brooks

    March 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t see what the attraction to the Rox is or has been. The team out of the West this year till be the Giants –
    The Freak, Cain, Zito – Wilson closing.
    I like the power SF has better than the competition in the West, Rowand, I like Aubrey Huff back in the NL, Panda and Molina all have some pop.
    SF
    CR
    LA
    AZ
    SD

  10. WFC010

    March 26, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Colorado is definitely a team to watch, and they will definitely be a top contender for the Wildcard and possibly even the division title. We should never forget what they did to us in 2007, even if our team is considerably better now than it was back then.

    When they are on a roll they can be frightening, although I think we are definitely better equipped to handle them now than we were back in ’07.

  11. WFC010

    March 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Also, it’s worth noting that the 2009 NLDS was a lot closer than some may realize, even if Colorado only won a single game, there was another game which was too close for comfort.

  12. Chuck

    March 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    2009 COULD have gone the other direction and been a completely different story. I’m just glad we took care of business out there in Game 4. No way you want to go to a deciding, winner-take-all game in the playoffs….even with home-field.

  13. Wine Man

    March 26, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    WHO CARES ABOUT THIS STIFF COLORADO TEAM????

  14. Paul Boye

    March 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Know thy enemy, Wine.

  15. Blaise

    March 26, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    It don’t matter because closers can’t touch the Phils in the playoffs

  16. Dylan Dobbin

    May 26, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Hi, thanks for the info. Please, try that: Denver Colorado

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