Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have both been hampered by nagging injuries. If both players appear in 145+ games, could the Rockies shock the world and contend? If not, should the Rockies try to move them for prospects?
Can the starting rotation hold up until top pitching prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler are ready?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Colorado Rockies.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 66-96
Key Additions: C Nick Hundley, SP Kyle Kendrick, SS Daniel Descalso, RP David Hale, SP Chris Rusin, RP John Axford, RP Rafael Betancourt, SP Jair Jurrjens, SP Aaron Laffey & SP John Lannan
Key Losses: SS Josh Rutledge, OF Michael Cuddyer, RP Matt Belisle, RP Nick Masset, RP Franklin Morales, SP Juan Nicasio, SP Brett Anderson, RP Chris Martin & RP Rob Scahill
Interleague Schedule: AL West
Projected Starters: Wilin Rosario, Justin Morneau, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki, Corey Dickerson, Carlos Gonzalez & Charlie Blackmon
Projected Starting Rotation: Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Jordan Lyles, Tyler Matzek & Eddie Butler
Closer: LaTroy Hawkins
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Drew Stubbs – Stubbs won’t be an everyday player for the Rockies, but his numbers still make him fantasy relevant. He’s been stuck in a platoon in recent years. He had pretty nice numbers against lefties and righties last season. If an injury were to happen in Colorado’s outfield, I would feel confident in Stubbs putting up numbers as an everyday player. Even in the situation he’s in, Stubbs will still give you double-digit homers and around 20 steals.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Jon Gray – The Rockies are hoping some of their young talent pushes them through the rebuilding process. Rockies believe Gray will be the ace of their staff. He was the 3rd overall pick in the 2013 draft. He went 10-5 with a 3.91 ERA at Double-A last season. He’s on a fast track to the Majors. I expect he will get a dozen starts in Triple-A and then be called up. Colorado is a difficult place to pitch, but Gray is a major talent and should be able to manage the altitude.
Team Analysis: The Rockies are stuck in one of the best divisions in Major League Baseball. They are just trying to keep their heads above water while rebuilding the team with youth. Players like Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson and Nolan Arenado are earning their stripes while facing San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego on a near weekly basis. They will be battle-tested when Colorado is ready to compete.
Colorado should be fielding offers from teams for Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Tulo and CarGo both have trouble staying healthy. I’m sure Colorado doesn’t want to sell-low on the pair. If either player gets off to a hot start, new Colorado GM Jeff Bridich should pull the trigger on a trade. He replaced long-time GM Dan O’Dowd after last season. It just seems like a move a new GM would do to put their stamp on a team.
This season is a talent evaluation year for the Rockies. They have some nice hitters and if they can develop Eddie Butler and Jon Gray into legit top-of-the-rotation pitchers, their future is bright.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 71.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 67-95 (5th in NL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.