Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012 Preview: Colorado Rockies

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-Digger's Daily-

Colorado (73-89) endured a difficult season in 2011. Pitching was a sore spot last season. Don't expect anything different this season. Colorado is in store for another long year.

Their starting rotation boils down to spring training battles. As of now, most prognosticators expect the following opening day starting five: Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, Drew Pomeranz, Juan Nicasio and Guillermo Moscoso. In my book, there's two locks - Guthrie & Chacin - with the final three slots up for grabs. Veteran Jamie Moyer is having a great spring and the Rockies would be crazy not adding this guy to the rotation. Alex White, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Esmil Rogers were considered competitors but none of those final four names are turning heads.

Michael Cuddyer (OF/1B) and Ramon Hernandez (C) are welcomed additions. Plenty of key losses from the lineup including once heralded catcher Chris Iannetta and closer Hudson Street. Also lost - Mark Ellis, Ty Wigginton, Seth Smith, Jason Hammel, Aaron Cook and a handful of other role players.

Depth has been lost but starters are strong. Around the horn: 1B Todd Helton, 2B Marco Scutaro, SS Troy Tulowitzki, 3B Casey Blake. Catching flies from LF to RF: Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Mike Cuddyer. Rockies have a well balanced lineup attack from top to bottom.
Rafael Betancourt is their new closer. There's a handful of players battling to fill bullpen roles yet to be settled. Colorado's bullpen will be the difference between winning and losing in a wide open NL West.

Prediction: A healthy offense will go a long way to winning games. 2012 lineup has no holes. A good mix of speed, power and contact. Defense is solid. Colorado's fate rest squarely on their pitchers ability to hold leads in tight situations. Lack of depth will only become a concern if regulars are sidelined for significant time. This team has much to prove. Success is within their grasp... or not. Handicapping this team heading into regular season play at +/-80 wins. Don't be surprised to see Colorado win the NL West. It'll probably turn out as win some, lose some.

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