Colorado Rockies 2015 Season Preview
Colorado Rockies Futures
Odds To Win Division: +5000
Odds To Win NL Pennant: 75/1
Odds To Win World Series: 150/1
Regular Season Win Total: 71.5
Most Significant Offseason Changes
IF Daniel Descalso
C Nick Hundley
SP Kyle Kendrick
RP David Hale
RP John Axford
OF/1B Michael Cuddyer
2B Josh Rutledge
SP Brett Anderson
RP Matt Belisle
They’ll Be Successful If…
…opponents are simply blown away by Colorado’s offense. Look, no one’s going to mistake the Rockies for a World Series contender, but they can boast a superior knack for putting runs on the board. In 2014, Colorado finished second in homers (thanks Coors Field!), third in runs and first in slugging percentage. Factor in superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki playing out of his mind (.345 and 21 round-trippers by the All-Star Break) before his season-ending injury and you’ve got a club that will terrify pitchers that are ready nervous in the thin air of Denver. Roster retooling wasn’t pursued in the offseason, so it’ll be vital that Tulo and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez are kept on the field and out of the hospital. If nothing else, Tulo, CarGo, Justin Morneau and leadoff dude Charlie Blackmon provide an intimidating enough collection of players to possibly outperform Arizona in the standings. If things go south quickly for the Rockies, the measure of success may shift to how much the franchise can get in return for Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. Y’know, provided they aren’t on the disabled list.
They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…
…the starting rotation isn’t given mutant powers before opening day. If offensive production is a point of pride for Colorado, the club’s pitching should send them into a shame spiral. Opposing teams pummelled the Rockies pitching and a Majors worst 4.84 earned run average is the ugly souvenir they have to show for it. It’s never a good sign when nostalgic columns on the musty old bones of closer LeTroy Hawkins clock in as the media’s main pitching talk point. Apologies to all the big Kyle Kendrick boosters in our readership, but new GM Jeff Bridich didn’t really make any earthshattering moves to improve the club’s arms. Leftie Jorge De La Rosa enters 2015 as the club’s ace, although the pitchers with the most pressure on them will be promising prospects (and first round picks) Eddie Butler and Tyler Matzek. In a ferocious division with the Dodgers, Padres and the World Series champion Giants, Rockies fans better hope Butler and Matzek can survive those potential showdowns with their confidence intact. Not helping matters is manager Walt Weiss’ inability to get his club to swipe bags. The Rockies have the second worst stolen base percentage of 2014 following them into spring. Speaking of Weiss, he might be out the door if he turns in a third consecutive dud of a season.
Fantasy Bargain: Nolan Arenado, 3B
Tipped for increasingly big things for a while now, Nolan Arenado occupies a sweet spot in a formidable chunk of Colorado’s order. Plunked in the #5 spot behind Canadian slugger Justin Morneau, Arenado enters his third season with tons of potential to improve on 2014′s injury tainted campaign where he socked 18 dingers and posted a .287 average in 111 games. The Golden Glove winner showed that he has the potential for more and his 28 game hitting streak last season had rotowatchers drooling at the possibilities. (It was the longest hitting streak from someone under 23 or younger since Albert Pujos went 30 games straight in 2003.) Arenado is a rising star with 81 home games at Coors Field. How tempting is that? It’s not unreasonable to imagine the 20 homer barrier will be cracked in 2015 with a batting average teetering towards .300. Just don’t count on many stolen bases, okay?
Quick! Name one thing about the 2015 Colorado Rockies that suggests they improved on the things that saddled them with a pathetic 66-96 finish last season. You’d have to be Rocky Mountain High if you think the Rockies are going to close out this year conquering a loaded NL West. The club will need to rely on their formidable offense to make up for the sins of a pitching staff that’s one of the worst in the Majors. A reasonable cupboard of prospects might help the Rockies in the future, but freshly minted general manager Jeff Bridich appears content to leave this squad mainly the same for the moment. Barring any miracles generated by Troy Tulowitzki carrying the club on his perpetually injured frame, the Rockies will be fighting to stay out of the cellar instead of battling for the top of the standings.
Prediction: 5th In NL West
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