Saturday, March 2, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Colorado Rockies

By: Isaac Boloten

2012 Record: 64-98 (5th in the NL West)

Key Additions
Ryan Wheeler (Trade with AZ)
Dan Rosenbaum (Off Waivers from WAS)
Yorvit Torrealba (Minor League Contract)
Chris Volstad (Minor League Contract)
Reid Brignac (Trade with TB)

Key Subtractions
Jason Giambi (Minor League Contract with CLE)
Jonathan Sanchez (Minor League Contract with PIT)
Matt Reynolds (Trade with AZ)

Which new guy will help the most?
It's very slim pickings here, as the Rockies did very little to help their ballclub this offseason. I would watch for Daniel Rosenbaum. Who in the world is Daniel Rosenbaum, you may ask? Well, he's a left-handed pitcher whose minor league stats are shockingly stellar. He doesn't strike too many guys out, but he has had a FIP in the high 2's-low 3's his entire minor league career. He was never a top prospect, because he doesn't have electrifying stuff, and he has never had a clear path to the big leagues with all of the studs in DC, but the Rockies rotation is thin (so thin), and it would seem that at some point in 2013, a rotation spot should be his for the taking. If not, a long relief role would seem to fit his abilities just fine.

Spring Training Battles

Who will be the starting 3rd Baseman: Chris Nelson, Jordan Pacheco, or newcomer Ryan Wheeler?

Nelson, (0.3 WAR in 111 games) actually appears to be the favourite for this job. In my opinion, he would be the worst candidate for the job. He is an absolutely horrid fielder. He's right up there with the worst of 'em. In 2011, he had a -22.9 UZR/150. I think that speaks for itself right there, not to mention his -18 DRS(so all the defensive stats don't like him). If he wins the job, I don't see him going too far over replacement level. Jordan Pacheco impressed many in 2012, but it really wasn't all that great (0.2 WAR), and his defense is almost as bad as Nelson's. One thing that sets Pacheco apart from Nelson is his ability to play all around the diamond. In 2012, he played every infield position except for shortstop (including catcher) . It never hurts having a guy like that up with the big squad. Now we get to Ryan Wheeler, the man who should inevitably get the job at the hot corner, whether it's right out of camp or mid season. In a small sample size last year with the Dbacks, he was a mess, failing to get his OBP over .300. But, in his MiLB career, he has been nothing short of a stud. He won't hit for much power, yet he manages to get his wOBA close to .400 every season.. The thing that intrigues me the most are his ZiPS projectoins, which suggest he will hit 16 HR, with a OBP of .325 and a wOBA of .326. These are numbers that I don't think Chris Nelson or Jordan Pacheco would come close to.

Which youngster will earn a rotation spot? LHP Drew Pomeranz, LHP Christian Friedrich, or RHP Tyler Chatwood?

Overall, you're not gonna get anything great here. Coors Field or not, none of these pitchers are destined to be a star. All of them were somewhat highly touted, most notably Pomeranz, who was a centerpiece in the Ubaldo Jiminez trade. Personally, I would throw Chatwood out of the conversation immediately, as he's a player who could have a 5+ FIP, and could also fail to be above replacement level. Now it would be down to Pomeranz and Friedrich. Statistics wise, the 2 are quite similar. I would give the upper hand to Pomeranz, and it seems that everyone else seems to think that way too. And, as a Jays fan, I had to laugh at Friedrich's #1 Comparison (according to ZiPS), Brian Tallet.

Questions Heading into the Season

Will Troy Tulowitzki stay healthy?

This, like most seasons, is really the only large question with this team. Tulowitzki, one of the most valuable players in the MLB, at a premium position, always seems to get hurt. No one can predict whether he will stay healthy or not, but the effect he has on the team is extremely large, and losing him again would lead to more Rockies failures in 2013.

Prospect Who Should Have the Most Impact in 2013

Josh Rutledge is the answer to this question. The 23 year old second baseman is destined to be a very good MLB player. He impressed last year in 291 plate appearances, but many suggest this is just the beginning. He steals bases (and doesn't get caught), hits home runs, and hits for contact (.332 wOBA in '12). The only thing that he really needs to improve on is getting on base, as his OBP last year was .306. At a premium position, Rutledge is bound to break out in 2013, especially with a little(or a lot of) help from Coors Field. Expect many to view the Rockies middle infield right up there with the best of them when next offseason comes around.

Projected Roster (via
Projected 'Go-To' Starting Lineup
1 CF Dexter Fowler**  
2 2B Josh Rutledge    
LF Carlos Gonzalez 
4 SS Troy Tulowitzki 
5 RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton*
C Wilin Rosario 
3B Chris Nelson
Projected Bench 
C Ramon Hernandez  
C/IF Jordan Pacheco 
1B/OF Tyler Colvin
IF/OF Reid Brignac
OF Eric Young, Jr.**

Projected Starting Rotation 
1 LHP Jorge De La Rosa

RHP Jhoulys Chacin
LHP Drew Pomeranz   
RHP Juan Nicasio 
5 LHP Jeff Francis
Projected Bullpen 
CL RHP Rafael Betancourt
SU RHP Matt Belisle
SU RHP Wilton Lopez
MID LHP Rex Brothers
MID RHP Adam Ottavino  
MID LHP Josh Outman
LR LHP Daniel Rosenbaum

Projected Record
72-90 (5th in the NL West)

With a full season from Tulo, a breakout year from Ruthledge, and the rotation doing there best to not let Coors Field get them, this club might be able to break 72 wins. The problem they have is that each team in their division is better than them, and it will be those inter-division games that cost them. With the 2 juggernauts up top in LA and San Fran, and the solid teams in Arizona and San Diego, the Rockies will once again finish in the basement, and might have to start talking about trading Tulo.

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