The Colorado Rockies haven’t made the playoffs since 2009, but they could be a dark horse candidate to take one of the Wild Card spots.
If the Colorado Rockies have one thing going for them, it’s their offense. The team finished second in the majors in both runs scored and slugging percentage last season. Colorado decided to forgo any rebuilding efforts and keep its core intact, leaving it on the fringe of the playoff discussion.
Nolan Arenado leads the way as one of the best young players in the sport. He’s hit 83 home runs over the past two seasons, eclipsed only by Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis. DJ LeMahieu won the NL batting title last season with a .348 mark and Trevor Story made waves by hitting 27 home runs in his first 97 games before a thumb injury ended his season early.
Leadoff man Charlie Blackmon returns to the fold after leading the team with a .933 OPS and 17 stolen bases. Carlos Gonzalez was an All-Star for the third time in his career last season and will be playing in the final year of his contract.
Finally, in December the Rockies signed free agent outfielder Ian Desmond to play first base. Desmond doesn’t have any experience at first, but he’s hit at least 19 home runs in five straight seasons and should do well at Coors Field.
This is an offense that is among the deepest in the league. RotoChamp projects Story to hit sixth in the lineup this season. There might not be another team in baseball that could afford to hit a player of his caliber so low.
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The Rockies bring back a young rotation that has the potential to keep this team afloat. Jon Gray showed promise last season, posting a 2.80 ERA in the months of June and July. Tyler Chatwood and Tyler Anderson each finished with an ERA+ of at least 126, while Chad Bettis led the team in innings and is a serviceable arm at the back-end of the rotation.
Entering Spring Training, the Rockies will be hosting a competition for the final starter spot. Former No. 9 overall pick Jeff Hoffman appears to be the favorite right now. Hoffman moved back-and-forth between the rotation and bullpen last season in his first year returning from Tommy John surgery.
Jake McGee and Adam Ottavino don’t sound like one of the more formidable bullpen duos, and they aren’t. However, with the amount of runs that the offense is going to be scoring, they don’t need to be. Both McGee and Ottavino have a history of producing strikeouts, which just might be all they really have to do.
The Dodgers’ biggest upgrade this offseason was Logan Forsythe. San Francisco added Mark Melancon but their rotation has a few question marks. The Rockies are right in the thick of things in the NL West, and they just might turn some heads this season.