Overview - Everyone scratched their head with the signing of Ian Desmond. There outfield was crowded and they already had two young shortstops at the position. It appears wasted money to put Desmond at first base, not taking advantage of his speed. The Rockies were never in the pennant race and with only 75 wins resulting in their losing streak extending to six years. It was a typical year for the Rockies with the bats high on the team leaderboards and the pitching staff stats near the bottom. They have a surplus of outfielders and trading either Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon or both is almost a certainty before the season ends.
Strengths - The outfield as long as they have Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon. Even if they trade these two offensive players they still have rookies David Dahl or Ramiel Tapia they could insert in their place or move the veteran Ian Desmond back to the outfield. The big question is whether the Rockies play Gerardo Parra or David Dahl in left. At this point Dahl is probably the better player but Parra has the larger contract. Trevor Story had a magical year to begin the 2016 season hitting 27 homeruns in just 97 games until an injury ended his season. The 130 strikeouts are a concern and no one expects him to repeat his fast start in 2017. Expect a little downsizing from his bat. Nolan Arenado may be the best third baseman in the National League after his .294 average, 41 homeruns and 133 RBIs put him fifth in the MVP voting. Those numbers will also be difficult repeating.
Weaknesses - The pitching staff is young and lacks an ace. Jonathan Gray has the potential to become an ace. He started 29 games last year and got a couple votes in the rookie of the year balloting. Jeff Hoffman is another pitcher with ace potential but he needs more experience. He made his major league debut last year with just six starts. Young pitching depth exists in the minor leagues to make the Rockies a team to watch, but it won’t happen in 2017. The Rockies also lack experience behind the plate. Tom Murphy looks like their best opportunity to win a starting role. Last year he hit five homeruns in just 21 games. With Ian Desmond out for the month of April the Astros will scramble to find someone to play first base.
Non-Roster Invitees - The injury to Desmond opens up a spot to Mark Reynolds to make the team.
Breakout Prospects - The Rockies are loaded with pitchers who are ready to make the rotation now. Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez, who both throw hard, hitting the high 90s with their fastball. Myworld is a little surprised the Rockies traded away Eddie Butler. Kyle Freeland is a lefthander who had some success last year at AA and AAA. For a lefthander he throws hard, hitting the mid-90s on his fastball. Raimel Tapia saw some outfield last year. His lack of power may not be suited for right field but his minor league career average is .317. His .263 major league average was the first time in his professional career he failed to hit .300. Tom Murphy should take the catching job after hitting .327 with 19 homeruns in 80 AAA games.
Prospects to Watch - Brendan Rodgers was the third player selected in the 2016 draft. His best positions are currently being occupied at short and third. He has got the bat hitting 19 homeruns last year, which should lead to a promotion to high A this year. Riley Pint was the Rockies first round pick in 2016. He hits triple digits with his fastball and has an excellent curve. In his debut season in rookie ball he experienced a lack of command. Ryan McMahon could be the logical player the Rockies stick at first base in the next couple years. Last year his power numbers sagged (.399) after he slugged over .500 his first two years. Forrest Wall is a hit first find your glove later second baseman. The Rockies made him a supplemental first round pick in 2014 and have watched him develop slowly. Pedro Gonzalez signed for $1.3 million in 2014. There is still too much swing and miss in the outfielders at bats.
Expected Finish - Don’t expect the Rockies to catch the cream of their division, the Giants or Dodgers. Young pitching will guarantee them inconsistency. Trading away Cargo and Blackmon at mid-season will also hurt any playoff run.