The Rockies proved one thing in 2012 – no matter how good your offense, pitching is what wins you games. The Rockies were in the top six in every major hitting category last year but finished dead last in every single pitching category. They have a ton of young and inexperienced arms filling out their rotation and haven’t been interested in pursuing any acquisitions. While their offense is the same as last season, let’s take a look at what we can expect from the team as a whole in 2013.
2012 Team Rankings/Stats:
Runs: 6th Overall
Batting Average: 2nd Overall
ERA: 30th Overall
WHIP: 30th Overall
In just 396 at-bats, Rosario, a rookie catcher, batted .270 with 28 HR, 71 RBI, and 67 runs. In other words, it looks like the Rockies have found their guy moving forward, even if he may not be another Buster Posey. Hernandez is a solid veteran backup.
This one is tricky. Todd Helton has been consistently declining and really fell apart in his injury-plagued 2012 campaign batting .238 with 7 homers and 37 RBI in 240 at-bats. At best, he is a near-.300 hitter with 70 RBI but he is 39 and possibly on his last leg.
Colvin mostly plays outfield but if he or Michael Cuddyer makes the move to first then the Rockies can once again have an All-Star caliber first baseman. Last season, Colvin batted .290 with 18 homers and 72 RBI in 420 at-bats. He’s only getting better.
It’s safe to say that the second base job is once again up for grabs. Most people think 24-year-old DJ LeMahieu will get the starting spot after batting .297 in 229 at-bats. At 6’4” and 205 lbs. he would be as big a second baseman as you can get. In 345 minor league games, he owns a career .317 BA but doesn’t bring any pop or real speed.
Herrera is an unspectacular middle-infielder who batted .262 last season without any real production. He is not a starter.
Rutledge, on the other hand, could be. He flew through the Rockies farm system, batting .320 in 211 games. He also showed that he has the potential to be a 20-20 guy in the majors with solid pop and speed. In his first Major League action, Rutledge batted .274 with 8 HR, 37 RBI, 37 R, and 7 SB in just 73 games. I think this one is a keeper and will split time between second and short this season.
Tulo is as good as shortstop as you can have, when he’s healthy. A career .292 hitter with ~30 HR and 95+ RBI per year, he played just 47 games in 2012 and batted .287 with 8 homers. If he plays all season he will once again be an MVP candidate. Perhaps the most impressive thing (or only impressive thing) about last year’s Rockies is how good their offense was despite missing him most of the season.
A top 25 prospect back in 2005, Nelson has had a long road to the majors but there is much to like. In 377 at-bats last season he batted .301 with 9 homers, 53 RBI, and 45 R. He can play anywhere in the infield.
I like Pancheco a lot too. A career .308 hitter in the minors (with an ability to drive in a lot of runs despite not having much pop), he batted .309 with 54 RBI, 51 R, and 7 SB in his first major league season in 2012. He can play catcher and first base as well.
CarGo is one of the best outfielders in the game. In 2012 he batted .303 with 22 HR, 85 RBI, 89 R, and 20 SB. If he can keep the injuries to a minimum, he will continue to be a perennial .300+ hitter with around 25 HR, 90+ RBI, and 20+ SB per season. He has a great OBP too.
Fowler finally found his groove in 2012, batting .300 with 13 homers, 53 RBI, and 72 R. That’s probably close to his ceiling and it’s too bad he didn’t turn out to be the great base stealer they were hoping he’d be.
Cuddyer missed two months of his first season away from the Twins and batted just .260 with 16 HR, 58 RBI, and 53 R. At 33, it’s safe to say his best days are behind him and he will likely get squeezed out of the starting lineup by Colvin unless one of them moves to first.
The Rockies rotation will consist of any combination of these guys, though no combination would make anyone jump for joy.
Jorge De La Rosa has barely played the last two seasons and allowed 11 ER through 10.2 innings in 2012.
Chacin, who was supposed to be the savior of the rotation, started just 14 games and put up a 4.43 ERA and a bloated 1.62 WHIP.
Nicasio started 11 games in 2012 and put up a 5.28 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Pomeranz, the 30th top prospect in the country coming into last season, started 22 games and went 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.
Chatwood, formerly the 76th top prospect in the country (despite never looking good in the minors), started 12 games and put up a 5.43 ERA and 1.65 WHIP.
Friedrich, the 33rd top prospect back in 2010, started 16 games last season and put up a 6.17 ERA and 1.56 WHIP.
Dead last in every pitching category in 2012, it is hard to envision what this inexperienced rotation can do in 2013 except continue to make the Indians rotation look good by comparison.
The 37-year-old Betancourt is a very reliable middle reliever. The Rockies made him their closer and despite a very solid 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 31 saves he did blow seven saves last season.
Belisle (3.71 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) and second-year pitcher Brothers (3.86 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) are solid. The rest of the bullpen; Ottavino (4.56 ERA, 1.39 WHIP), Escalona (6.04 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), and Outman (8.19 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) are no better than the rotation.
Team Grade: D+
Fearless Prediction: 70-92, 5th in NL West