The Rockies pipeline just keeps churning out more talent.¬† If you look at the list of departing players above you'd think the Rockies essentially gutted their relief corps over the offseason and after glancing at the list of players added, you might think that they'll have a dreadful bullpen this season.¬† That probably is about as far from the truth as you can get.
This team is in fact as solid as the Rockies.¬† They've got an outstanding offense, a reliable bullpen and a pitching staff that matches up well with anyone inside their own division.¬† The Rockies will be contenders.¬† Nothing more need be said about that.
2009 Regular Season Record: 92-70
The Rockies have one of the best shortstops in the National League in Troy Tulowitzki .
Rank: Second in the NL West, Winner of the Wild Card- 3 games back - Eliminated in the NLDS by the Phillies
Home Park: Coors Field
Joining the Mile High Club:
C- Miguel Olivo - Free Agent from Royals
C - Paul LoDuca* - Free Agent, unsigned in 2009
3B - Melvin Mora - Free Agent from Orioles
OF - Jay Payton - Free Agent, unsigned in 2009
RHP - Tim Redding* - Free Agent from Mets
Feeling Rather Low:
C - Yorvit Torrealba - Free Agent signed with Padres
3B - Garrett Atkins - Released, signed with OriolesIF - Mike McCoy - Claimed off¬† waivers by Blue Jays
OF - Matt Murton - Free Agent, signed in Japan
LHP - Joe Beimel - Free Agent, unsigned
LHP Alan Embree - Free Agent, unsigned
RHP - Josh Fogg - Free Agent signed with Mets
RHP - Matt Herges* Free Agent, signed with Royals
RHP - Ryan Speier* - Free Agent, signed with Nationals.
RHP - Joel Peralta*- Free Agent, signed with Nationals
RHP - Jose Contreras- Free Agent, signed with Phillies
RHP - Jason Marquis - Free Agent, signed with Nationals.
* signed minor league deal
The Rockies never fail to score their share of runs and are built for playing in one of baseball's most hitter friendly parks.¬† Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe and Ian Stewart should continue to provide an abundance of power, while the seemingly immortal Todd Helton should continue to hit for very high average behind the two high OBP speedsters (Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler) at the top of the lineup.¬† That should be a recipe for success and should keep them among the highest scoring teams in the National League.¬† The addition of Melvin Mora should prove a plus, and expecting Mora, who'll come off the bench to pinch, to see his average climb back up to the .280s or better in Denver almost seems to be a lock.
Weaknesses: Stability of the pitching staff
This pitching staff, while still retaining the core players from last year, has seen a lot of dependable arms leave since the end of last season.¬† Almost each and every one of the eight departed players contributed to the team's success over the past three years. ¬†¬†However the Rox had a great depth in the bullpen and they hope to take another step forward in terms of starting pitching with the return of former ace Jeff Francis.¬† On paper they sure look good, but with the kind of turnover that the team had can they maintain that rock solid stability which has gotten them to the playoffs two of the past three seasons?
LF - Carlos Gonzalez
CF - Dexter Fowler
1B - Todd Helton
SS - Troy Tulowitzki
RF - Brad Hawpe
3B - Melvin Mora
2B- Ian Stewart
C - Chris Iannetta/ Miguel Olivo
Jorge De La Rosa
One Question that Needs Answering:
Will the Rockies pitching staff be as good as last year?¬† There was a lot of turnover this offseason and they lost a lot of productive arms from last year (Jason Marquis, Matt Herges, Josh Fogg, Joe Beimel and even Jose Contreras).¬† That's depth the team thinks it can afford to lose, especially with Jeff Francis returning from injuries that derailed him mid 2008 and forced him to miss all of 2009.¬† Prior to that he was the staff ace, although he was more of a solid No. 2-type pitcher, but he was trending in the right direction before his injuries.¬† If the Rockies guessed right and the pitching is better than it was last year the Rockies could cruise through this division, but if it takes a step back, then they could find themselves struggling to compete for a division title.
With the Dodgers fielding a skimpier team in terms of depth and flexibility, the Rockies have to be the favorites to win this division and head back to the playoffs once again.¬†¬† It's unlikely that they'll run away with anything, but no one else in the division has anywhere near the same kind of talent, or balance, on paper.