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by user Timothy Moreland
There is not a whole lot to like about this team, anywhere. As the Rockies' ace, which I am using the term "ace" very loosely, they have a pitcher with a career ERA of 5.02. Yes, he pitches in Coors, but Coors or not, an ERA over 5.00 is nothing to be proud of. Jason Jennings walked way too many batters (62 BB in 122.0 IP). For pitching in Coors, homeruns are not a problem with Jennings. Over the past four years, Jennings' K rates have declined to below an acceptable rate, while his BB rate has climbed too high. These, not HRs, are responsible for Jennings' high ERA. Aaron Cook's 3.67 ERA in 83.3 IP looks rather impressive for Coors Field; however, under closer inspection, this ERA displays a lot of luck. First, he only struck out 24 batters. Second, he let up more hits (101) than innings pitched. On the bright side, his BB rate was rather low, his Groundball rate (61%) was impressive, and he did not struggle with the HR ball (8 HRs). Odds are in favor of Cook posting an ERA around 5.00 this year; although, an extreme groundball pitcher with good control may find a way to flourish in Colorado. He should be interesting to watch. On the other end of the spectrum, Jeff Francis is an extreme flyball pitcher (39% GB) who has some control issues and posted a 5.68 ERA. Still Francis showed tremendous ability in 2004 in AA(1.98) and AAA (2.85). Unfortunately, the promotion to Coors led to an increase in BBs and a decrease in Ks. This 25-year-old could be an ace anywhere else but here. The odds of Byung-Hyun Kim making it through an entire season as a starter are slim to none. If he does, he will probably post an ERA around 4.86 like last year. Kim will never be as valuable in a starting rotation as when he was one of the top closers in baseball. Zach Day is trying to make the improbable return from a torn labrum, which will not end well. In the bullpen, Brian Fuentes possesses a great K rate and keeps the ball in the park. He will continue to be an effective closer. Ray King and Mike DeJean could provide some valuable innings from the pen. Jose Mesa won't.
<stats> Player=Jason Jennings Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SP Aaron Cook
<stats> Player=Aaron Cook Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SP Jeff Francis
<stats> Player=Jeff Francis Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Byung-Hyun Kim Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
SP Zach Day
<stats> Player=Zach Day Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>
This lineup, as always, depends on one man. That man is not Clint Barmes. Everyone in the media made a big deal of how losing Barmes, who was already being deemed Rookie of the Year, was a huge hit to the team. Well, a .289/.330/.434 line isn't all that valuable considering where he plays. On any other team, Barmes is nothing more than a pinch hitter with a bad glove. Cory Sullivan managed to hit 4 HRs in 378 At Bats last year for the Rockies. On the plus side, Sullivan is very fast and could be a 15-20 base stealer. Still, he's not good enough to be in a starting lineup. Here's the star of the show, Todd Helton. Unfortunately for the Rockies, Helton had back issues last year, which drained his power (.620 SLG in 2004/.534 SLG in 2005). If this gets worse, Helton's value will quickly decline and the Rockies will have to struggle to avoid 100 losses. Even with the drop in power, Helton contributed in the On-Base department at an elite level (.445). Matt Holliday improved from 2004 to post a .307/.361/.505 line last year. At 26, the chances of Holliday breaking out are relatively high. Brad Hawpe, who slugged a weak .403 without the speed of Sullivan, should split some time with the superior hitters, Ryan Shealy and Jorge Piedra. Garrett Atkins hurts the team on defense and doesn't make up for it with the bat. At 2B, the Rockies employ yet another player without any real value to the team other than reaching the "nine men on the field at one time" rule, Luis A. Gonzalez. He has no power (9 HRs), nor does he get on base often enough (.333 OBP). At catcher, the Rockies will have Danny Ardoin (bad) split time with Yorvit Torrealba (worse). Last year in AAA, Ardoin slugged .577 with a .438 OBP. Had the year ended there, then I would probably be excited to see this guy hit in Coors. Well, 2005 allowed us to see this guy perform in Colorado and he slugged .362 with a .320 OBP. At 31-years-old, his prospects of improving are fading. Offensively, Torrealba leaves just as much to be desired. Torrealba is above average defensively, but Ardoin is an impressive defensive catcher. This lineup is saturated with a handful of borderline starters, a couple solid players, and one superstar whose back could give out at any moment.
Projected Batting Order
SS Clint Barmes
<stats> Player=Clint Barmes Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Cory Sullivan Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
1B Todd Helton
<stats> Player=Todd Helton Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Matt Holliday Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
RF Brad Hawpe
<stats> Player=Brad Hawpe Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Garrett Atkins Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Luis A. Gonzalez Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
<stats> Player=Danny Ardoin Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>
Projection: 69-93 5th in the NL West...It is hard to decide if the offense or the pitching is worse.
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Thu 03/23/06, 12:06 pm EST