2010 Colorado Rockies Baseball Preview
The Colorado Rockies (92-70) have posted 90-plus win seasons two of the last three seasons. Last year, they took the N.L. wild card, finishing just three games behind the Dodgers in the West. Once again, they will battle Los Angeles for the division crown.
The five-man starting rotation has three righties and two lefties. The ace is Ubaldo Jimenez (15-12, 3.47 ERA, 198 SO). Jimenez ably challenges hitters with a 95 to 98-mph fastball and goes deep into games. Righty Aaron Cook (11-6, 4.16 ERA, 78 SO) and lefty Jorge De La Rosa (16-9, 4.38 ERA, 193 SO) are two and three in the rotation. Cook, who commands both sides of the plate with his fastball, has health concerns. De La Rosa, who hurls a 90 to 95-mph fastball, is able to vary the break on his slider.
The rotation is rounded out by the often-injured lefty Jeff Francis, who did not play last season, and converted middle reliever Jason Hammel (10-8, 4.33 ERA, 133 SO). Closer Huston Street (4-1, 3.06 ERA, 35 SV, 70 SO) has the stuff and mentality to close out. The biggest concern with him is his durability. There’s talent in the pen, but there are plenty of health concerns.
Leadoff batter Dexter Fowler (.266 BA, 4 HR, 34 RBI) is a line drive hitter with blinding speed. As he starts his second full season, Fowler continues to work at being patient at the plate. In center field, he runs solid routes and keeps runners at bay with his strong, accurate arm.
The two through four spots include outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (.284 BA, 13 HR, 29 RBI), first baseman Todd Helton (.325 BA,15 HR, 86 RBI), short stop Troy Tulowitzki (.297 BA, 32 HR, 92 RBI) and right fielder Brad Hawpe (.285 BA, 23 HR, 86 RBI). There’s a huge amount of firepower here. Helton and Tulowitzki are both solid in the field.
Second baseman Clint Barnes (.245 BA, 23 HR, 76 RBI) and third baseman Ian Stewart (.228 BA, 25 HR, 70 RBI) are good fastball hitters and both offer excellent defensive skills. Chris Iannetta (.228, 16 HR, 52 RBI) plays the receiver position well, blocking balls and throwing out base stealers.
Manager Jim Tracy earned National League Manager of the Year honors for guiding his club into the playoffs. After that type of performance, fans are expecting the same or better. For Tracy a lot of his success was due to his patience, focus and relaxed manner, allowing his players to perform. GM Daniel Dowd has done two things very well. First, he’s developed talent on the farm, and second, he’s balanced the need to trade some of those guys with the need to utilize some of those athletes on the hometown club.
This is a team that features a lot of young talent. The great thing about that young talent is that they’ve already gained valuable playoff experience. The Rockies have a solid front office, fine group of players and a growing fan base. These guys should be in the hunt until the end of the season.
For more info on the Rockies check out the MLB official page for Colorado.