What is the future of the Colorado Rockies? I know it is far more popular to be negative…but maybe its time to be a little positive. And here is why….
- The Rox are going to get back Corey Dickerson in 2016, hopefully healthy, and ready to finally be able to make those amazing hitting talents come to fruition (his outfield play? Well, lets just say I thought teaching him first might not be a bad idea).
- Nolan Arenado is just going to get better and better…he is going to be a .305-.310 hitter in the future. He has too good an approach and he still isn’t 25 yet (next April).
- The Rox might just have one of the better power and defence combinations behind the plate with Todd Hundley and Tom Murphy (assuming nothing goes bad in the Arizona Fall League and the Spring).
- They still have a great defensive 2B who might finally have become a good all-around player at age 27 with the potential of a little more development in DJ (assuming he isn’t traded…which i think he is a little too valuable and inexpensive but for the right price) at a nearly 800 OPS (for a 2nd) and good splits, though his OPS is only .724 on the road thanks to a loss of slugging.
- The collection of power bullpen arms the team has started to add to its roster is impressive. Yes, we know they need 13 or so arms in the bullpen. But the collection of Castro and Castro (will they role Miguel back to a starter? Could be valuable at either place), Diaz, Brown, Kahnle and Axford (I think the Rox will bring him back next year based on a number of factors), along with guys who they will continue to look at like German, Justin Miller and Scot Oberg. If Zero comes back healthy? Their left side has to be better, with Friedrich (who is going to look at some adjustments to help his work against righties, which has been hurt by a BABIP against righties), Rex (is looks like at the end of the year he may finally be getting back to at least workable Rex) and the guy who has to be a lefty-only guy in Logan. There are some guys in High A and Low A who could be a big help in the bullpen as the year wears on in Matt Carasti (6th rounder in 2012 who has 55Ks in 55 innings at High A with 21 saves) and Austin House at AA who has 20 saves but is still working on things).
- They could have a 2007 level group of starter with Gray (he has to take that next step…and I happen to be in the camp he should make at most one more start this year due to fatigue), De La Rosa and then a mix of Chris Russin (don’t laugh…he is what he probably going to be at 29 but…he has thrown 2 complete games…at Coors!!!! Think a harder thrower than Jeff Francis), Chad Bettis (If Bettis can stay healthy at get just a bit better…he has the chance to be a great 1-2 punch going forward with Gray), and then you see what you have in the likes of Jordan Lyles (can he go a year without some strange injury), Tyler Matzek (2014 isn’t a fluke based on his stuff…can he get his motion worked out??? I can’t see this guy going to the pen with his stuff or with the challenges of coming in “cold” for just an inning), Eddie Butler (can he find what he has in 2003?), Tyler Anderson (will a year off allow his elbow to be fully healed), David Hale (who might be better served as a reliever but has talent), and Yohan Flande (who in many ways is a great 5th starter or swingman, though Christian Bergman has really done a good job at that role) and then you have a slew of younger arms in Kyle Freeland (his season got off to a weird start due to shoulder weakness, and he isn’t striking out a lot of guys right now, but that has to do both with a call to focus on secondary stuff and not wanting him to push a shoulder when they are shutting him down soon), Jeff Hoffman (his potential is about the same as Gray (though in just his 2nd year post-TJ, he will be limited to 150 innings), and a young man who you may not have heard about but his called Harrison Musgrave, just an 8th round pick in 2014, whose lack of control kept him from the top 5 rounds but has found that control and at AA this year against slightly older competition (age 23) has suddenly starting striking guys (low K rates in college is why he wasn’t a 3rd or 4th round pick) out at a nearly 9/9 rate (he is now 3 full years post-TJ so it may be his stuff is simply healthy and growing in strength), and as a lefty has become very good (his motion makes his low90s, high80s fastball look faster and his curve is pretty darn good) while only walking 10 in 50 innings. Its possible that the added control can make Musgrave the kind of big surprise (not suggesting the same overall results) as a 9th rounder for the Mets named DeGrom. Its time for the Rox to get lucky on a later top 10 round pick at pitcher…please! Additionally Tyler Chatwood will nearly 2 years post-TJ, and he has the kind of mentality that makes his a strong starter though i want to see how he looks at Spring Training. My point is merely that the cupboard is not nearly as bare as we think…its just really young and the potential for regression (see Butler, Eddie), injury (Anderson, Tyler) or weird stuff (Matzek, Tyler) is clearly there. And yes, with that much youth 2017 is more likely than 2016. Also, there are two other names of younger players who could be help in the 2nd half of the year if this team is in contention that we should watch in
- There are going to be a lot of younger people who give this team depth they have to have to compete going forward, including guys like Adames, Story (assuming that Reyes is here next year…we will see), Parker (still a rookie in 2016), Paulsen (yes, he is no longer a rookie but can he play 1B for 500 at-bats in 2016?), Dahl (who has looked like a really sharp player since coming back from his spleen removal hitting .292/.318/.481 for a .799 OPS post-AS break in 29 games while playing at 21 about 3 or 4 years younger than average for AA, Patterson (who will play some 1B this AFL can has torn up AA and could become the right-handed 1B alternative in 2016 coming June) as an age 23 (a bit younger for AA) in 44 games with a .290/.346/.521 for a .867 OPS thanks to 7 HR and 18 2B, and maybe even a Tapia come 2nd half of 2016. We know the Rox won’t have a big payroll and have to rely on depth from young players, well, this is a good group of non-veterans to have coming up. Watch for High A pitcher Antonio Senzatela who at age 20 (20!) is having another great year, this time at Modesto, going 9-8 with a 2.42 ERA and in 149 innings has 139Ks against competition about a year or two older after a great year at Low A in 20134 going 15-2 with a 3.11 ERA but only 89Ks in 144.2 innings. That big step up in Ks has taken a guy who looked more like at best a 5th starter to a guy with fantastic stuff (upper 90s) but finally starting getting the Ks you want with that type of stuff. Originally a lot of folks saw his ceiling as at best Chacin. Now? Some comps are being made to Jiminez…though with a more repeatable delivery as seen in just 31 BB. Senzatela will start at AA but if dominate there as he has at Low A and High A? Watch for a quick move and he is going to be at over 150 innings this year so 180 innings will be in line for him in 2016. Also watch former 2nd round pick (2014) Ryan Castellani who at 19 at Low A after pitching at Short Season A as an 18 year old (10 starts 37 innings, 25Ks and a 3.65 ERA) has been really strong (don’t look at things like ERA at Low A) with 26 starts for 108.1 innings and 91Ks and 27BB as a very young pitcher for that level. He will start at High A probably next year but could move quickly as well. So the future is bright…and i haven’t even mention the 3rd member of the trade group for Tulo, Jesus Tinoco, who in 7 starts covering 40.0 innings has a 1.80 ERA a 1.10 WHIP and 37Ks again at just age 20! Lots to look forward to in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Of course i know a lot of us are so burned, so negative, so upset at things we just assume 2016 will stink. And 2017 will be miserable, and by 2018 the Rox will be contracted and so we no longer have a team.
Each year we see teams take a jump a year earlier than people expect. This year we have seen the Twins, the Rays, the Mets, the Cubs and the Stros all be playoff competitors when no one foresaw it coming this year. So, there is no reason they can’t be a surprise team next year. For the first time since the 2005-2007 period, this team has real talent coming and coming quick. This isn’t just my purple-tinted viewpoint. Their farm system is 3rd rated overall in baseball and with a little luck health-wise and a surprise among some of the guys like we have seen with Dickerson and perhaps even Paulsen, this team can be in the Wild Card hunt in 2016 and playoff for years to come. And might a new manager like Bud Black help to take this team into the upper 80s in wins? Just wondering…
But saying all that I am going to make a point that we all are realizing. Without the bat of Carlos Gonzalez, this team is probably a 55 win team this year. The offense at home, not to mention the road, is just not very good. And for all the potential arms and such…they have to score runs, and right now, for all of Arenado’s growing bat, Carlos Gonzalez is the guy who can carry this team for long stretches. He has been killing the ball since June 1 thanks to his healthy knee and revised approach. Now, yes, he is going to be 30+ next year. And yes, he is only under contract for 2 more years, but if you are Jeff Bridich and you think this team can compete in 2016….can you afford to trade CarGo? What kind of deal can you ask for to make it worthwhile? And is that deal so much better than a trade-deadline deal you can make if the team doesn’t compete?
Exit question: Aside from Bryce Harper, is there a better position player in the NL right now than CarGo? Goldschmidt is a great player but…not this good. And how many teams are kicking themselves for not trying to get CarGo from this team either last winter or this July?
Or…did teams call and ask for CarGo and did Bridich make it clear – “Bring your high prospect list because the only way we do this is to give us 3 of your top 4?” Don’t know but I wonder…..
Tonight we get another chance to send the Giants to the golf course after game 162…and as much as i don’t like the Dodgers…I really hate the Giants. Maybe its the city of San Francisco. Maybe its all the World Series wins that didnt seem like the better team won. Maybe its just the whole whining after the Braves beat them out in 1993 after they won 102 games. I love Baumi and Posey….but i hate the Giants!!!!
Jorge De La Rosa will seek to keep it going as a team as they keep getting good pitching performances at Coors and as the Giants lose their 7th straight!!!!
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