2016 Colorado Rockies Preview

2016 Colorado Rockies Preview

Noah Curd, Spear Contributer

Another baseball season is upon us for the Colorado Rockies, and they will be ready to try desperately to have a playoff year, or at least win more than half their games for the first time since 2009. Rockies fans have not had much to cheer about the past six years, but there might be something to make the fans have a glimmer of hope. Young talent. Here is an overview of the season and the prediction of where the Rockies will be at the end of the year.

Preview of opening series:

The Rockies are starting their season against the new and very much improved Arizona D-backs. This will be an interesting opening series for the Rockies as they will face a pitching staff that had a major upgrade over the offseason and an above-average offense. Also, they will be facing Zach Greinke, one of the best pitchers in baseball. This series to start off the season for the Rockies will tell their fans if they have their usual high-powered offense after losing two middle-of-the-order bats in Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson.  The Opening Day starter for the Rockies will be Jorge De La Rosa who has been the most consistent pitcher the Rockies have had in the last two years. This first series will be a good indicator if the Rockies have what it takes to compete in their division this year.

Things to watch this season:

The Bullpen: In the offseason The Rockies upgraded their bullpen arms in to help them not be the worst bullpen in baseball like they were last year. Jake McGee, Chad Qualls and Jason Motte were the big pick-ups in the offseason to bolster the backend of the bullpen. McGee, Qualls, and Miguel Castro will be the candidates to close games to start the season. Halfway through the season Adam Ottavino will return from injury, so that should also help to improve the quality of the bullpen.

The starting pitching staff: Let us be honest, this is always something to watch for with the Rockies. The pitching for the Rockies has been terrible for the last six years. The Rockies seem to be very injury prone so some seasons we have 10 different pitchers who started at least one game which is not a recipe for success. The Rockies could have a good pitching year if they are able to stay healthy and see large improvement from their young pitchers like Jon Gray, whom they have high hopes for, and Jeff Hoffman, the centerpiece of the trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Tulowitzki.

Young Talent: The big “story” coming out of Spring Training is that rookie Trevor Story had a very solid showing and will get to start the season at shortstop. Story will be the first Rockies player since Jeff Baker in 2005 to make their Major League debut on Opening Day. Story has shown this spring that he can hit with a .378 batting average with six homers which is tied for third in the MLB for the most this spring training. Tony Wolters was a huge shock. The Rockies picked him up off waivers from the Cleveland Indians just before spring training started, and he played so well that he was selected as the back-up catcher to Nick Hundley. Not only can Wolters play catcher, if needed he can play second base or shortstop which adds depth to the Rockies roster. Young pitching will be interesting to watch for the Rockies. The Rockies have young pitchers like Eddie Butler and Jon Gray who were really good in the Minor Leagues but cannot figure out how to pitch in the MLB. These two could be big impact pitchers if they can pitch up to their true potential. Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland are also some young pitchers who will spend most of their season in the Minors, but they are some young talented pitchers that you could see play for the Rockies in September when rosters expand.

The glimmer of hope:

The Rockies are coming out of Spring Training relatively healthy. The question is if they can keep all their players off the disabled list and especially their pitchers and star players in Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado. If the Rockies can have another big year from both Gonzalez and Arenado with some help of a breakout year from Trevor Story, the Rockies could have a lineup to fear for opposing pitchers. The Rockies also need to get a lot of innings out of their starting pitchers so the bullpen is not overworked. If the Rockies keep themselves healthy and their starting pitchers all have strong showings, they could surprise a lot of people.

Prediction for this season: Although there are some bright spots that add hope coming into this season, the Rockies just do not seem to totally be ready to win a lot this year. The prediction is that they end the season not in the postseason, and with 75 wins and 87 losses. Do not be totally discouraged though; the Rockies could shock everyone, prove all their critics wrong, and be playing in the postseason.