Colorado Rockies Last Year: 74-88 3rd in NL West This Year: 4th in NL West
Last year the Rockies were looking to build off a surprise run to the World Series in 2007. They had to go for large stretches without stars Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday. The team fell apart and finished below .500. This year it figures to be similar to last year as they traded Holliday and Fuentes. This team still has talent and big-time prospects but without Holliday manning the middle of the lineup this team will struggle to be .500.
Opening Day Lineup w/Projections CF Ryan Spilborghs .304 14 HR 56 RBI SS Troy Tulowitzki .289 24 HR 97 RBI 1B Todd Helton .283 15 HR 89 RBI 3B Garrett Atkins .294 24 HR 107 RBI RF Brad Hawpe .293 27 HR 109 RBI C Chris Iannetta .269 23 HR 81 RBI 2B Ian Stewart .265 22 HR 82 RBI LF Carlos Gonzalez .245 7 HR 44 RBI P Aaron Cook
Rotation RHP Aaron Cook 14-10 4.12 ERA 95 K RHP Ubaldo Jimenez 10-8 3.77 ERA 187 K LHP Jorge De La Rosa 9-12 5.27 ERA 127 K RHP Jason Marquis 7-13 4.98 ERA 103 K LHP Greg Smith 7-16 4.47 ERA 114 K
CP RHP Huston Street 3.89 ERA 23 SV 74 K
Best Case Scenario: Tulowitzki stays healthy, Helton gets healthy and produces, they find a spot for Ian Stewart in the lineup and he produces, and Jimenez develops into the staff ace that he can be. This team ends up .500 and finishes third in the division.
Worst Case Scenario: Tulo and Helton struggle to stay in the lineup, the starts off weak and starts a fire sale finally trading Atkins and Street. They can't find a bat to provide the pop in the middle of the lineup to replace Holliday and can not get any quality starts. Win 70 games and finish fourth in division.
Player Most Important to Success: Ian Stewart. Ian Stewart is a big time prospect hitting 29 home runs between AAA and Colorado. The issue is the team has not found a spot for him yet. His natural position is 3rd base but he is stuck there behind Atkins. He might be the 2nd baseman, the left fielder or if Helton gets hurt move to 3rd with Atkins going to 1st. It is very similar to the Twins and Michael Cuddyer. If he finds his spot and role on the team he can produce enough where this team can be a very formidable offense.
Outlook: This team still has a decent offense given the loss of Holliday. It will especially help if Tulo stays healthy and becomes the best all-around shortstop he was 2 years ago. The problem is the same problem it has always been in Colorado: Pitching. They have ace potential in Jimenez and Franklin Morales but they aren't there yet. Aaron Cook was good last year but he is not overwhelming and has a career ERA of 4.36. After that it is nothing but scrubs with De La Rosa and Marquis. This team will be able to score runs but I don't think they are going to be able to score enough runs to be a factor in the NL West.