Denver, CO. The Colorado Rockies look very different today than they did back at the beginning of the season in April. Trades, injuries and ineffectiveness has lead to a very different lineup now in August vs. what we saw on opening day. Carlos Gonzalez is the only opening day starter that has not been benched due to injury or poor play. Let’s take a look at the changes we have seen so far.
The opening day starter for the Rockies was Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie fell victim to the perils of Coors Field and was traded for Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez was just as ineffective for the Rockies as he was for Kansas City and has been placed on the 15 day DL. Ramon Hernandez was the opening day catcher for the Rockies and landed swiftly on the DL with nerve damage in his catching hand, a problem that won’t go away until the off season. Hernandez had a pretty good start but has lost the every day catching duties to rookie Wilin Rosario who has become one of the few bright spots for the club. Third base looked like a revolving door between Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson. Nelson had a scary bout with an irregular heart beat and will be reactivated today before a series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pacheco has shined at the plate and should be traded while his value is still high. Nelson will continue to get better and take over at third until number one prospect Nolan Arenado makes his way to the big leagues. Shortstop of course was occupied by Troy Tulowitzki until he had problems flare up with his groin leading to surgery to remove scar tissue around a nerve and is still on the DL expecting to return some time in August. Tulowitzki’s injury lead to a chance for rookie Josh Rutledge who has taken advantage and is raking at the plate and playing excellent defense while Tulowitzki heals. Second base was held down by veteran Marco Scutaro. With the emergence of Josh Rutledge Scutaro was traded to the division leading San Francisco Giants and currently DJ LeMahieu and Jonathan Herrera are splitting time at second. First base of course had Todd Helton securing bad hops. Todd showed his age and ended up in the DL with a hip injury and was spelled by Michael Cuddyer and Tyler Colvin. Helton returned last week but has been ineffective at the plate.
The outfield has been less of a problem for the Rockies until Michael Cuddyer, opening day starter at right, ended up on the DL last week. Dexter Fowler started in center field and has continued there most of the season and has only missed games due to sickness and was replaced with Eric Young Jr. for a few games. Fowler has moved around in the lineup starting the season in the number two slot behind Marco Scutaro but has improved and is back in the lead off spot where he belongs. Carlos Gonzalez has performed well in left field making the All Star Game in July and continues to show he is the best player on the current Rockies squad. .
Pitching has been the biggest issue obviously for the Colorado Rockies this season. With the trade of Jeremy Guthrie, the outright release of Jamie Moyer and injuries to Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin the opening day starters look nothing like the beginning of the season. The Rockies acquired ex Rockie Jeff Francis who has given the Rockies a few good starts but was shelled for six runs Friday against the Giants. He is a good pickup but not the future of the this team. Drew Pomeranz has shown glimpses of brilliance but has been ineffective in his last two starts and has had stiffness in his left arm. His velocity in his last start dropped from his normal 93-95 fastball to 88-90 making his off speed pitches less effective. Christian Friedrich has shown some good signs but can’t pitch at Coors Field and was placed on the 15 day DL last week as well leaving the rotation with major gaps. Alex White was recalled from AAA Colorado Springs and gave the Rockies a rare win last week against the St. Louis Cardinals, snapping a five game losing streak. Jorge De La Rosa last year was the Rockies ace but fell victim to an arm injury and had to get Tommy John surgery. He was expected to come back in July but has struggled in his rehab and likely will not return to the team this year.
Needless to say expectations have not been met this season and the turnover on the field has been damaging beyond belief. Next year the starters in the field will likely be similar in the outfield but the infield will have some major changes. Look for Nolan Arenado to be the starter at third and Josh Rutledge at second base. Wilin Rosario will be the starting catcher. Unless he is traded Dexter Fowler will likely be in center field but Tyler Colvin will push to start in center next year. Colvin is having a great year at the plate and plays excellent defense so Dexter needs to watch his back in the off season or he may fall victim to a trade. Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer will secure the other outfield spots
As far as starting pitchers for next year – who knows. Jorge De La Rosa should be the opening day starter unless he struggles more in his rehabilitation. Christian Friedrich and Drew Pomeranz should nail down two spots and Juan Nicasio should nail another spot down but there are no certainties with this club from the field to the front office.
Denver Sports Chat – Kris Loco