Every day, I will be presenting a season preview for individual MLB teams. Today we look at the Colorado Rockies.
2009 was a lot like 2007 for the Colorado Rockies. They made a surprising late run, only to come up short due to lack of elitestarting pitching. Major League Baseball teams come in lots of shapes and sizes. Some hit well but lack the necessary pitching. Some have pitching but lack pop in the lineup. Some teams can hit and they have starters, but have no back end bullpen and no fielding prowess. The teams that can encompass all of these skills are often seen playing late into October.
The Rockies fall into the category of strong hitting, mediocre pitching, decent bullpen, strong fieldin. This is why we often see inconsistent performance out of this team. They made a late run but when they faced off against a team with an actual ace, the Rockies were left out in the cold. Cliff Lee dominated them and on top of that, closer Huston Street let them down. In order to lengthen their post season play this year, the Rockies need another arm. Whether it comes in the form of a maturation from Ubaldo Jimenez or through a wily deadline deal, this team needs a lights-out ace.
The Rockies have a good lineup. It is chocked full of hitters who have their best years in front of them. I love Carlos Gonzalez. Acquired in the Matt Holliday trade last off season, Gonzalez broke out during the post season, constantly putting pressure on the Phillies and hitting .588 in the series. Look for Carlos to become one of MLB's fresh young stars. Lots of tools.
Brad Hawpe fell into a funk during the second half of the season. He played sparingly throughout the playoff series against the Phils after being selected to the All-Star game in July. He needs to bounce back and his career numbers indicate that he can. Rounding out the outfield is another toolsy guy in Dexter Fowler. He's tall, fast and has shown that he belongs in the majors. If he can add power he could turn this outfield into one of the great ones for years to come. They also have good depth with bench guys like Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs. I see either Spilborghs or Hawpe moving on some point in the near future. There are just too many good bats in the outfield and too few good arms in the rotation.
The infield is very solid. Tulo is one of the many talented young players we have in the game today. Ian Stewart looks to fill the gap left by Garrett Atkins, a longtime fixture at 3rd. Stewart's bats has been a real weapon over the last few seasons and it will be exciting to see what he does with a truly full year of ABs. Clint Barmes showed a suprising jump in power numbers and Helton continues to hit .320+ just about every season.
Again, it comes down to pitching with this team. Jimenez won 15 games last year and if he can lower his loss total and become more consistent, we could be looking at a superstar. Aaaron Cook is solid but is overmatched against some of the top tier number twos. Huston Street must bounce back after his tough postseason. 3rd in the NL West.
By Erik Lambertsen