For the first time in a many years, I like the current trajectory of the Colorado Rockies. It all started when they waited until the perfect time to trade Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto and got some really nice pieces in return. I’ve been waiting for them to do the same thing with Carlos Gonzalez, but they just keep holding onto him. I never thought he would last the entire contract when he signed the seven-year/ $80 million contract before the 2011 season.
I’m curious to see how well the Rockies starting rotation will do this season. Jon Gray was outstanding at times last year. It was nice to see him get comfortable at the Major League level.
Can Colorado surprise us all and contend for a Wild Card spot this season?
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Colorado Rockies.
2016 Win/Loss Record: 75-87
Key Additions: 1B Ian Desmond, RP Greg Holland, RP Mike Dunn, 2B Alexi Amarista, SS Daniel Castro & OF Chris Denorfia
Key Losses: RP Boone Logan, C Nick Hundley, RP Justin Miller, SP Jorge de la Rosa, 3B Daniel Descalso, OF Ryan Raburn, SP Eddie Butler, 1B Ben Paulsen & SP Christian Bergman
Interleague Schedule: AL Central
Projected Starters: Tony Wolters, Ian Desmond, DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, David Dahl, Charlie Blackmon & Carlos Gonzalez
Projected Starting Rotation: Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, Tyler Chatwood, Jeff Hoffman & SP German Marquez
Closer: Adam Ottavino
Fantasy Sleeper: RP Greg Holland – Holland was arguably the best closer in the Majors with the Royals, but then blew out his arm late in the 2015 season. He had to sit out all last year and now finds himself in Colorado. Adam Ottavino is currently slated as the closer, but if Holland can get his velocity back, he could will steal the closer job. Also, I’m very high on both Ian Desmond and David Dahl this season. They aren’t really sleepers, but I think they will both outperform where they will be drafted.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: OF Raimel Tapia – I was already on the Trevor Story bandwagon before last season and he had an incredible year. I’m hitching my wagon to Tapia this year. I don’t think he will have a Story-esque year, but I think he has long-term potential for the Rockies. He hits for average, he has speed and has one of the most memorable ‘2 strikes’ adjusted batting stances ever. I expect the thin air to help aid his numbers and could be a nice fantasy baseball option when called up.
Team Analysis: When current Rockies GM Jeff Bridich took over for long-time GM Dan O’Dowd after the 2014 season, he brought a new focus. He realized that he must draft and keep their starting pitchers in the farm system and sign free agent bats. Colorado isn’t an ideal landing spot for a top-of-the-line starter, so they must be develop through the draft. On the other side of the coin, Colorado IS an ideal landing spot for a position player. The thin air can inflate numbers and someone could sign a one-year deal and become a nice mid-season trade chip.
The Rockies starting rotation is mostly guys who either came up through their farm system or young arms they traded for when they shipped Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. Their bullpen is loaded with veterans who have had success on other teams.
Colorado’s most polarizing signing this offseason was Ian Desmond. They will be starting him at first base, a position he hasn’t played in the Majors. Also, it was just a year ago that Desmond was seen as a disappointment. He had a very good year in Texas and played very solid outfield for them. He parlayed last year’s success into a five-year/ $70 million contract. I don’t think the contract is that bad since it is center-loaded. His first and last years are only for $8 million each. He could be packaged and traded if his bats turns cold again.
The Rockies are a young team with talent like Trevor Story and David Dahl due to become possible All Star-level talent. The NL West will be won by either the Dodgers or Giants this year, but the Rockies will improve on last year’s 75 win total. I think they will end the year around .500.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 80 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 81-81 (3rd 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.