Colorado Rockies 2014 Team Outlook
As the snow falls over the Rocky Mountains, expectations are heating up for the Rockies as spring training gets closer. In his second year, Walt Weiss leads a team hungry for postseason action. We all know how the injuries to star players like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez plagued the Rockies’ season in 2013 as well as fantasy teams everywhere. The NL West might still be up for grabs as the Dodgers try to establish themselves as the west coast Yankees, the Giants try to regain championship form, the Diamondbacks young talent comes into their own, and the Padres stuck as lonely kid at the lunch table. In the friendly confines of Coors Field, the Rockies come into the season with a potential offense to compete with anyone. The real question is how the pitching will be and how to keep everyone healthy.
2014 Preview - Offensive Changes
The Rockies front office has been busy this offseason making some bold moves. They traded up and coming fantasy star Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros for OF Brandon Barnes and RHP Jordan Lyles. A knee injury hurt Fowler in September and coupled with an expected rise in arbitration the Rockies took a chance to cash in. The return for the trade was pretty high according to general managers around the league, but it is not expected to show dividends at the big league level this season. To counter, the Rockies sent LHP Josh Outman to the Indians for OF Drew Stubbs. It will be interesting to watch how this one turns out. There are talks that Cargo is moving to center which would put Stubbs in left. How this plays out will no doubt be a top storyline in Spring Training. As a player, Stubbs is still trying to live up to expectations, but being paired with his old teammate Tulo as well as hitting at Coors Field could be the perfect place for him. He has wheels (3 seasons over 30SB) and sneaky power (career high is 20 HR) which fits in the Rockies lineup well if he can put it together. Since 1B Todd Helton retired, the Rockies turned to 1B Justin Morneau (2 years) to be the everyday 1B and hope he can become a mentor and launch moonshots towards the Rocky Mountains. The new role and Coors Field effect could have a bounce back year in the works.
2014 Preview - Pitching Changes
As far as pitching goes, the Rockies sent LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHP Chris Jensen to the A’s for LHP Brett Anderson to lock up the 4th body in the rotation behind Jorge De La RosaJhoulys Chacin, and Tyler Chatwood. Anderson was poised to be the number one in Oakland, but injuries have halted his development. He has great ace-like stuff, but has to stay healthy to be effective. The Rockies also brought back LHP Franklin Morales in exchange for SS prospect Jonathan Herrera. This will be the second stint Morales has with the Rockies who is expected to compete for a rotation/long relief spot with the club. There will be a fierce competition for the 5th starter spot between prospects Eddie Butler, Juan Nicasio, and possibly Jordan Lyles from the Fowler return, but Butler who pitched 27 2/3 innings at Double A could have the spot locked down by May. The bullpen got some upgrades in LHP Boone Logan (surprising 3 year deal) and RHP LaTroy Hawkins. Logan is a specialist and with the departure of RHP Rafael Bentancourt, Hawkins is projected to be the closer going into spring training. Overall, it has been a busy offseason for the Rockies and they should be one of the more interesting teams to follow in Spring Training.
The Rockies have a great foundation of talent in Tulo, Cargo, Cuddyer and Rosario. The Rockies could have a top offense and dark horse in the NL and even MLB. Every year the Rockies have players that are high risk/high reward players that can drive a team to the championship or destroy the hopes and dreams of reclaiming fantasy immortality. As everyone awaits their chance to begin their fantasy year, spring training will bring competition on the diamond and an on slot of trash talking about the previous year on every league message board. I will be your one stop shop for news, projections, and advice on what to do with Rockies players as you get ready to draft the team that will finally get you bragging rights or keep you dominating your fantasy baseball leagues!
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