Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies finished in fourth place in the National League West last season, thanks in part to injuries that limited SS Troy Tulowitzki to 91 games and OF Carlos Gonzalez to just 70 games. They’re back this year, with some help around them. Veteran 1B Justin Morneau can hit for a decent average with some pop, and the rest of the offense is mostly made up of young hitters, a couple of whom — OF Charlie Blackmon.and 3B Nolan Arenado — have already proven they can hit in the majors.
Even with Tulowitzki and Gonzalez’s lengthy absences, the offense was among the best in the National League last season, ranking first in the league in batting average (.276), OPS (.772), home runs (186) and runs per game (4.66), While the Rockies’ offense was at the top of the NL in important categories, the pitching was at the bottom of the league in key categories, namely ERA (4.84) and runs allowed per game (5.05).
The offense was good last year, but if Tulo and CarGo can play full seasons, or close to it, it should help the offense be even better. But obviously the bigger concern should be and is the pitching. The biggest addition the team made to the rotation this winter was signing SP Kyle Kendrick, who has a 4.42 ERA in 185 career starts entering this season. Even the guy at the top of the rotation, SP Jorge De La Rosa, has a 4.60 ERA in his career, though it was 3.49 and 4.10 in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
You can’t succeed in the majors without good pitching and that is again going to be the Rockies’ Achilles heel this season. Especially in a division where you’re facing pitchers like three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, guys like Jorge De La Rosa won’t cut it. The Rockies finished in fourth place last year and that’s likely where they’re going to finish again this year. They’re better than the Diamondbacks but not the other teams in the division. They’re still at least a couple years away from competing for the division title.