30 Clubs in 30 Days: Colorado Rockies

Posted: March 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It has been a swift and steady decline for the Colorado Rockies since their last postseason appearance, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 National League Division Series. 

The following year, the Rockies fell from 92 victories to 83. In 2011, they experienced their first losing season in three years. Last year, the boys from Denver collapsed all the way to a 64-98 record, costing 2009 Manager of the Year Jim Tracy his job. 

Enter Walt Weiss, the former Rockies, Braves, and Marlins shortstop, who takes over as manager in 2013. Weiss, 49, has never managed at the big league level. He takes over a Colorado team devoid of established pitching talent, but, fueled by an offense that has superstar level ability at key positions. 

Leftfielder Carlos Gonzalez (.303-22-85) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (.287-8-27) will look to lead the Rockies’ lineup. The latter is coming off yet another serious injury, as “Tulo” played in just 47 games for the Rockies last year. Signed through 2020 to a 6 year, $118 million deal, Tulowitzki will need to remain on the field if the Rockies have any hope of a winning season in 2013. The infielder had three consecutive seasons of .900+ OPS production prior to his injury.

Colorado returns Todd Helton, a potential Hall-of-Fame candidate who endured the worst season of his career in 2012. Also returning is promising young catcher Willin Rosario (.270-28-71) and breakout centerfielder Dexter Fowler (.300-13-53). Should these players prove that 2012 was not a career year, the Colorado offense could be as potent as any in the National League West. 

The rotation, however, is severely lacking. Jhoulys Chacin (3-5, 4.43), Jorge de la Rosa (0-2, 9.28), Juan Nicasio (2-3, 5.28), Jeff Francis (6-7, 5.58), and Drew Pomeranz (2-9, 4.93) comprise a mediocre top five. Chacin was resigned this offseason, as the organization continues to show faith in the right-hander’s potential. Francis and de la Rosa are veteran southpaws who return for yet another year in the Rocky Mountains. Pomeranz, Nicasio, and veterans Chris Volstad (3-12, 6.31) and Tyler Chatwood (5-6, 5.43) will compete for spots in the back-end of the rotation.

The bullpen will once again rely on veteran RHP Rafael Betancourt (1-4, 2.81, 31 SV) in the ninth. Setting him up will be long-time Rockies RHP Matt Belisle (3-8, 3.71) and trade acquisition from Houston, Wilton Lopez (6-3, 2.17).

Five Year Review

2012: 64-98
2011: 73-89
2010: 83-79
2009: 92-70
Lost in NLDS to Phillies, 3-1
2008: 74-88

Key Acquisitions

C Yorvit Torrealba (Texas Rangers)
SS Reid Brignac (Tampa Bay Rays)
3B Ryan Wheeler (Arizona Diamondbacks)
RHP Wilton Lopez (Houston Astros)
RHP Chris Volstad (Chicago Cubs)

Key Departures

1B Jason Giambi (Cleveland Indians)
RHP Alex White (Houston Astros)
LHP Jonathan Sanchez (Pittsburgh Pirates)
LHP Matt Reynolds (Arizona Diamondbacks)

2013 Projected Lineup w/Composite Projections

CF Dexter Fowler – .271-11-52, 13 SB
2B Josh Rutledge – .291-15-62, 14 SB
RF Carlos Gonzalez – .299-26-89, 19 SB
SS Troy Tulowitzki – .300-25-84
LF Michael Cuddyer – .282-20-74
1B Todd Helton – .273-8-38
C Willin Rosario – .270-23-61
3B Chris Nelson – .284-9-41

RHP Jhoulys Chacin – 9-8, 4.53 
LHP Jorge de la Rosa – 9-8, 4.81
RHP Juan Nicasio – 8-8, 4.56
LHP Jeff Francis – 6-7, 4.83
LHP Drew Pomeranz – 8-9, 4.68

RHP Rafael Betancourt – 3-2, 3.34, 32 SV
RHP Matt Belisle – 4-3, 3.63, 3 SV

2013 Outlook

The Colorado Rockies have, like mentioned, declined dramatically over the past four years. Jim Tracy, who I undoubtedly believe is a good manager, could not build on the momentum he established during his first season in 2009. Now, with rookie manager Walt Weiss in the dugout, where will the Rockies go in 2013?

The lineup is talented. If everyone stays healthy, Colorado could possess a better one through eight than any other team in the division. Of course, that has not happened in recent years. With fragile players like Tulowitzki combined with aging veterans like Helton, the Rockies should expect to see their lineup change quite a bit as the tumultuous summer months continue. 

The rotation is poor, and will be the likely downfall of Colorado in 2013. They have some decent pieces for the future. But, it remains unlikely that those prospects will reach their ceiling in the next nine months. In the end, I foresee Colorado improving slightly. But, nowhere near close enough to approach a playoff berth. The Rockies will win between 70-76 games, resting in the bottom half of the N.L. West.

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