The Colorado Rockies are two weeks away from making final roster decisions. On Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil forecast Planet Alignment Theory as to when spring will arrive. Woody Paige of the Denver Post came up with his own PAT which contains parts of my own PAT. The breaking news today was that Jhoulys Chacin was unconditionally released by the Rockies. It was a nice departure from the Rockies’ history of hanging on to players (or even using the players) that are past their effectiveness. News leaking out of the Rockies say that JDLR might start the season on the disabled list. That creates two openings in the rotation for now.
When spring training started, JDLR, Chacin, Matzek, Lyles, and Kendrick were the presumed members of Opening Day rotation. As expected, this will not be the rotation when the camp ends. The Rockies totally cut ties with Chacin, saving $4M in the process. JDLR is wobbling a bit like a bobble head at the top of the rotation due to his stubborn groin tightness and/or strain. My prediction: We won’t need #5 starter until mid-April so that will give Chad Bettis time to build up his endurance in the minor leagues. Then he will be called up when needed assuming that JDLR is not ready. That allows Rockies to delay the start of arbitration clock for Jon Gray. Colorado is not in the same position as the Cubs when it comes to competing for the post season. (Cubs likely will have Kris Bryant on OD.) Since Eddie Butler is already on the 40-man roster, he is the logical choice to take Chacin’s place in the rotation.
Summary of my PAT:
Bullpen is top 3 in the league. Hawkins, Axford, Ottavino, Logan, Brothers, Kahnle, Betancourt (I judge him to be back to pre-injury ways after watching him today), and Fridrich. Brooks Brown waiting in Albuquerque due to numbers game (or swap Brown for Kahnle).
Gray and Butler wins at least 12 games each and bring the Great Hope back to the Rockies. Tyler Anderson will appear in September. In other words, rotation rotation does not get the injury bug and go into sixth inning more often than not.
Baby Bull ends up playing first base nearly full time while Justin Morneau needs to spend a lot of time in the ice bath.
Nick Hundley starts 140 games and hits at least .260 with 10 HRs and 60 RBIs.
Tulo, CarGo, Arenado, Rosario and Dickerson put up numbers similar to 2007’s Tulo, Atkins, Hawpe, Holliday, Helton group. (All had at least 100 RBIs – Tulo just 1 short but it counts)
The Rockies players win four Gloves. (Arenado, Tulo, DJLM, CarGo).
TOOTBLANs will be nearly absent this year.
No Little League plays by the big club.
Chuck Nazty does not have a significant regression.
Staff ERA will be a club record this year. Darren Holmes gets credit for this. The other clubs have started using sabermetrics a few years ago while the Geivett/O’Dowd regime did not. With Bridich in charge, sabermetrics analysis alone will make the Rox pitchers 0.50 ERA better (and Hundley’s game calling another 0.25 improvement).
Rox win 38 games on the road and win 55 at home (not likely but that’s part of PAT to get into the post season).
Rox hitters drive in man from third and less than two outs 70% of the time.
Bunting will be absent at home except pitchers and extra innings with no outs. Less team strikeouts will help especially on the road.
We had nine RWOs last year. This year we get 12 RWOs due to our stout bullpen.
No broken fingers and freak injuries (Brett Anderson swinging a bat and Lyles tagging a runner at home.)
No throwaway games this year where a SP from Mars guarantees a loss.
Rocktober time when PAT is perfect!!!