Mora! Mora! Mora!

This week the Rockies took a nice step towards solidifying themselves as the team to beat in the west by adding Melvin Mora.  From the sounds of it Mora will compete at both second and third base. If nothing else this gives the Rockies even more depth to their infield and will allow Seth Smith to focus completely on the outfield. I think the real benefit of Mora is that he will add a solid right haded bat to the line-up that struggled last season against left handed pitching. It would seem the most likely place for Mora to win a starting spot would be second but either way we just got better. It never hurts to add a career .278 hitter, that is more than capable in the field and has base stealing ablility he should fit in nicely whatever his role ends up being.

23 Days til Pichers and Catchers

Its never too early to start talking about the Rockies. With offseason signings heating up and spring training right aroung the corner I felt now was as good a time as any to write my first blog of the year. This may be the most exciting and promissing offseason in Rockies history. Rockies should be stronger with their starting pitching with Francis coming back, all reports have him at full strength, Ubaldo turning into a ligitamate ace going 9-3 3.08 era after the all-star break last year. If De La Rosa and Hammel can come close to replicating what they did in the second half last year the Rockies might have the best rotation in the west and maybe even the National League.

The bullpen should be strong as well with Betancourt re-signed, a healthy Street, and our young guns of Daley and Corpus, not to mention the hopefully return to full strength of Buckholtz who was one of the best middle relievers in the Natioal League in 2008.

Offense should be strong but definately the most room for improvement of any area on the team. Hitting against left handed pitching being the biggest weekness on the offense, hitting only .253 last season, and became glairing in the playoffs. The maturation of young hitters such as Fowler, Gonzalas and Stewart being more consistant contributers and cutting down on strikeouts will help greatly. If all can raise their average 10 to 15 points and cut 10- 15 strikeouts each should make a huge difference when it comes to the overall success of the Rockies offense this season. 

The depth of the line up should be a huge asset this year. With guys like Giambi, Spilli, Smith, EY Jr., and either Iannetta or Olivo (.249 23HR 65RBI w/ Royals in 09) are all solid off the bench on offense and defense. 

As of right now the Rockies look like the favorite to win the West and are ligitamate contenders to win the NL of course with the Phillies, Cards, Dodgers and Braves in the conversation as well. Nevertheless the Rockies are posistioned better now than any other time in their history to make a run at a World Series title!

Mid Season look at Pre-Season Predictions

April 6th                                          July 10th

NL West                                  
1. LA Dodgers                                  1. LA Dodgers
2. Colorado Rockies WC                  2. SF Giants
3. SF Giants                                     3. Colorado Rockies
4. Arizona D-Bags                            4. Arizona D-Bags
5. SD Padres                                    5. SD Padres
NL Central 
1. STL Cardinals                              1. STL Cardinals
2. Chicago Cubs                               2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Cincinnati Reds                            3. Chicago Cubs
4. Milwaukee Brewers                      4. Houston Astros
5. Pittsburgh Pirates                         5. Cincinnati Reds
6. Houston Astros                             6. Pittsburgh Pirates
NL East
1. NY Mets                                       1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves                              2. Florida Marlins
3. Philadelphia Phillies                     3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins                             4. NY Mets
5. Washington Nationals                  5. Washington Nationals
AL West
1. Oakland A’s                                  1. Texas Rangers
2. LA Angels WC                              2. LA Angels
3. Texas Rangers                             3. Seattle Mariners
4. Seattle Mariners                           4. Oakland A’s
AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins                           1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians                         2. Chicago White Sox
3. Detroit Tigers                                3. Minnesota Twins
4. KC Royals                                     4. KC Royals
5. Chicago White Sox                       5. Cleveland Indians
AL East
1. NY Yankees                                  1. NY Yankees
2. TB Rays                                        2. Boston Red Sox
3. Boston Red Sox                            3. TB Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays                         4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles                          5. Baltimore Orioles
 
NLDS                                        NLCS                              World Series       Champion 
1. NY Mets (95-67)                      2. LA Dodgers                LA Dodgers        Oakland A’s
4. Rockies (88-74)                       4. Colorado Rockies        Oakland A’s 
2. LA Dodgers (91-71
)
3. STL Cardinals (87-75)
ALCS                                          ALCS
1. NY Yankees (98-64)                 1. NY Yankees
4. LA Angles (91-71)                    2. Oakland A’s
2. Oakland A’s (93-69)
3. Minnesota Twins (89-73)
ALMVP                                                               July 10th
Matt Holliday (34 HR, 142 RBI, .377 BA)          (8 HR, 43 RBI, .275 BA)
NLMVP
Manny Ramirez (32 HR, 140 RBI, .356 BA)      (8 HR, 27 RBI, .345 BA)
AL Cy Young
Fansico Liriono (20-2 3.22 ERA)                       (4-9, 5.47 ERA)
NL Cy Young
Ubaldo Jimenez (19-3 3.14 ERA)                      (6-8, 3.86 ERA)

A New Team, A New Year!

Christmas, first day of March Madness, and Opening Day my three favorite days of the year! I have been putting this off but I am going to go ahead and try to predict the finishing positions of every team in every division this year. So here it goes.

NL West
1. LA Dodgers 
2. Colorado Rockies WC
3. SF Giants
4. Arizona D-Bags
5. SD Padres 
NL Central 
1. STL Cardinals 
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. Houston Astros
NL East
1. NY Mets
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals
AL West
1. Oakland A’s
2. LA Angels WC
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners 
AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Detroit Tigers
4. KC Royals
5. Chicago White Sox
AL East
1. NY Yankees
2. TB Rays
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles 
NLDS                                         NLCS                              World Series       Champion 
1. NY Mets (95-67)                      2. LA Dodgers                LA Dodgers        Oakland A’s
4. Rockies (88-74)                       4. Colorado Rockies        Oakland A’s 
2. LA Dodgers (91-71)
3. STL Cardinals (87-75) 
ALCS                                          ALCS
1. NY Yankees (98-64)                 1. NY Yankees
4. LA Angles (91-71)                    2. Oakland A’s
2. Oakland A’s (93-69)
3. Minnesota Twins (89-73)
ALMVP 
Matt Holliday (34 HR, 142 RBI, .377 BA)
NLMVP
Manny Ramirez (32 HR, 140 RBI, .356 BA)
AL Cy Young
Fansico Liriono (20-2 3.22 ERA)
NL Cy Young
Ubaldo Jimenez (19-3 3.14 ERA)

Week in Review

The first week of spring training is in the bag and the Rockies are still winless. Some might say that it shows that the Rockies are not going to be very good this year. Optimists would say that early spring training doesn’t mean much. I think we need to look deeper and see why the Rockies are not winning. 

A huge thing that jumps out at me is the inability to score runs. At this point in spring the hitters are supposed to be ahead of the pitchers and that just doesn’t seem to be the case with the Rockies. The Rockies really struggled to score runs last year, and a huge part of that was a terrible batting average with runners in scoring position. 
The pitching has also struggled so far but it seems to stem mostly from inconsistency all of the projected starters (Cook, Jimenez, Marquis, Del La Rosa) have had some success as well as Morales and Hirsh. It is a little disheartening to see Fogg struggle the way he has, I was hoping to see him compete and early on it is looking like he just isn’t going to be able to do it.
Starters Battles:
So far is looking like Morales has the inside track to win the final starting spot and more and more it looks like Smith is a shoe in in left. 
Surprises:
Omar Quintanilla is looking good at the plate and looks solid in the field he is currently. If Barmes stumbles Quintanilla could get a lot more time at 2B or even win the job outright.

Lineup Time… The Rock Show emergence!

Two spring training games down and I am finding the itch to talk about the lineup already. This is what I believe should be the opening day roster:

1. Ryan Spilborghs  CF
2. Todd Helton        1B
3. Garrett Atkins      3B
4. Brad Hawpe         RF
5. Troy Tulowitzki    SS
6. Chris Iannetta      C
7. Seth Smith          LF
8. Clint Barmes       2B
9. Aaron Cook        P
It seems inevitable that Spilly is going to be the lead off hitter. Last year the Rockies struggled to score consistently and struggled when they fell behind early. If Spilborghs can have an OBP around last year’s .407 with an increased number of ABs, Helton would be a perfect two hole hitter also a career OBP of .428 even last year it was .391 in a very down year, he always puts the ball in play, not to mention that the fact that he is a lefty will allow Spilborghs to run a little more easily and hit and run behind him as well. As long as Atkins, Hawpe, and Tulo can produce the Rockies would be set up to score runs early and often.
As for the starting rotation there are many options but I think it will shake out like this:
1. Aaron Cook  16-9 3.96 ERA
2. Ubaldo Jimenez  12-12 3.99 ERA
3. Jason Marquis  11-9 4.53 ERA
4. Franklin Morales 1-2 6.39 ERA
5. Jorge Del La Rosa 10-8 4.92 ERA
Cook is a given and with Francis out Ubaldo will have to step up as the second starter. Jason Marquis I think will go well in the middle as a veteran starter. By all accounts Morales has worked out the kinks and looked strong yesterday. I think Del La Rosa will win the final spot out of spring training he was strong last year especially towards the end of the season and I think has earned a spot on opening day. I think Fogg would go well in the bull pen and could step into a starting role when it is needed.

Spring Training Games

Well the first games of spring training are under way, and I must say I am more psyched than ever. The Rocks started off a little slow but the game results don’t really mean much in spring training especially not now. The good things from yesterday were that Cook looked good on the mound, Tulo, Atkins, and Hawpe all had some success at the plate.  The bad thing would be that Ubaldo did not look very strong but its early in spring I think he will get it together and have a breakout year.

This being my first blog I would like to take some time to talk about a few things over this off season. I am the first to say that I would like to see the Monforts spend a little more money. But the truth of the matter is that it is their plan to grow the team through the farm system and try to keep them in Colorado. Which they have stuck to, they have given contracts to Cook, Francis, Tulo, and even Holliday.  The situation with Matty came down to the fact that with Boris as his agent the Rockies felt like they were not going to be able to resign him after this year so they did what was best for the club, long term. They traded him while they could get good value for him they helped build their pitching staff both starting and the bull pin, as well as a highly regarded OF prospect.  Don’t get me wrong I wish we could have kept Matty but I have to say that I believe that management did the right thing for the club looking long term.  
Now the other thing that I would like to comment on that I have seen in this off season. Many people have been speculating that if the Rockies are not successful this year it might cost Clint Hurdle his job. This is completely ridiculous Clint is just 17 months removed from leading the Rockies to the World Series, and make no mistake without Clint at the helm the Rockies never would have gotten there, not even close. He knows the team very well he has been in the organization for so long and he fits into the plans. If you are going to build a team through the organization you need to keep the guy in charge who has been with the organization and knows the players and the players trust him, not to mention that by all accounts he is a great man too. As long as the Rockies are competitive I would like to see Clint stick around for as long as he wants.
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