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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MLB 2013 Team Preview: Colorado Rockies

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MLB 2013 Team Preview: Colorado Rockies
By Wild on Sports Baseball Analyst Aaron Dorman

Colorado Rockies
2012 Record: 64-98
The Rockies of old are back: an inflated offense combined with a joke pitching staff that resorts to gimmicks like 50-year-old Jamie Moyer…with predictable (and loud) results.

NOTABLE ADDITIONS:
none
NOTABLE LOSSES: none

Keys to Success: Who gets a crack at the rotation this year? Only Drew Pomeranz looks like someone you’d actually want in a rotation. Jeff Francis remains a Rockie to remind fans what they once had. If Joulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio are healthy things might look a little better. Otherwise, their starting staff will be a joke. What are they going to do about Todd Helton? Will any of their aggressive young hitters develop the patience necessary to be more than just Coors Field beneficiaries? Last year only third basemen Chris Nelson showed a solid approach at the plate, alone among newcomers. What position does Michael Cuddyer play and why is he even on this team, blocking younger and better players? Potential buyers beware: he had a .287 OBP away from Colorado last year. If Dexter Fowler can maintain his progress from his 2012 breakout season, the Rockies could still be fun to watch at least.

Prospect Watch:
Prospect Key
TBD= Work in Progress
X= Posses the Tool
XX= Excels at Tool

TREVOR STORY, SS:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
x
TBD
x
x
x
Story is still in A-ball but I really like him as a prospect so I think he’s worth writing up. The 19-year-old hit a solid .277/.367/.505 with 18 HR in 122 games for low-A Asheville, and his baseball instincts are great. He stole 15 bases last year and so far in his brief career he’s 28-for-32, an excellent ratio. At this point in his career, his 60 walks are more notable than his 120 strikeouts, as that kind of batting eye is rare for a teenager. Story has a very high ceiling, and could see some of his 43 doubles turn into home runs, and while it is unlikely, his upside is reminiscent of current Rockie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He’ll probably play in high-A this year.
NOLAN ARENADO, 3B:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
TBD

x
x
TBD
x
Arenado has been criticized for his attitude and even though he’s only 22 his numbers have gotten worse every year as he’s moved up the ladder. Last year at AA-Tulsa he hit .285/.337/.428 with 12 HR and 56 RBI in 516 at-bats. He hit 36 doubles but that kind of middling power and OBP is pretty uninspiring, even for his young age. He still has talent, and despite the mediocre season he maintained impressive contact skills, striking out just 58 times. Third base is unsettled right now, with Chris Nelson a somewhat unproven incumbent going into 2013. So if Arenado can get his head on straight, there is a path to the majors as early as this year. 
DAVID DAHL, OF:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
x
x
x
x
x
Dahl turned heads after destroying rookie-level Grand Junction after being drafted in the first-round by the Rockies in June. Just 18, Dahl hit .379/.423/.625 with 9 HR, 57 RBI, and 12 SB in 67 games. Dahl lead the Pioneer League in batting and was second in slugging percentage (he was also in the top ten in RBI and RS). He could be a five-tool player, and right now he’s the most exciting prospect in the Rockies system, although there’s no rush.
KYLE PARKER, OF:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x

x
x


Parker was a first-round pick in 2010 but he doesn’t get a lot of love because evaluators were once suspicious of his defense and gaudy strikeout rate in 2011. He improved in the latter area in 2012, hitting .308/.415/.562 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, and a good 66/88 BB/K ratio in 102 games for High-A Modesto. Parker will still have to prove himself at higher levels and his batting average could drop, but he still has the potential to be a hitting machine and could get a fun boost from Coors Field when he gets there. In a few years he could be the new Brad Hawpe, albeit from the right side of the plate.

2012 Top Draft Pick: Dahl

Sleeper MLB Contributor: WHEELERS Ryan and Tim are offense-first corner guys who hit well in AAA last year and will start out on the bench for the Rockies, carving out playing time as their numbers dictate.

2013 Outlook and Projection: What happened? It looked for several years like the Rockies had found a winning formula: a strong pipeline which produced a homegrown core of players, and most importantly, a group of pitchers who bested the conditions of Denver’s thin air. In 2009, every starting pitcher was above average and as recently as 2010 their staff ERA was a reasonable 4.14, lead by Cy Young contender Ubaldo Jimenez. Since then, they’ve lost many pitchers to trades (Jimenez, Jason Hammel) or injuries (the once promising Joulys Chacin) and the replacements have not picked up the slack, to say the least. A great deal of blame lies on the Rockies’ decision makers, who had a ridiculous strategy last winter of stockpiling as many arms as they could without really considering quality or durability. Why anyone thought someone like Jamie Moyer would succeed in the majors, let alone Coors Field, is an important question. Other guys who were younger, like Josh Outman or Tyler Chatwood, had no proven track record of success and going forward look no better than AAAA journeymen. It is understandable why Colorado wouldn’t sign pitchers to large contracts considering how that failed in the past, but they haven’t made a real effort recently to acquire or develop young pitching, with the lone exception being Drew Pomeranz, who came from the Jimenez trade. Pomeranz, alone among Rockies, offers upside and durability going forward. As for the offense, Colorado has more than a handful of stars or useful everyday players, but they curiously lack a big slugger or run producer now that Todd Helton is finally old for good.

REBUILDING (could contend by: 2016)

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