We’ll continue our season preview today with the Colorado Rockies. The situation in the Mile High City can only be described as the team’s namesake: rocky. It’s going to be a trying season for fans in Colorado as the team already traded away a star with one left to go.
Key Additions: Austin Gomber, C.J. Cron
Key Subtractions: David Dahl, Nolan Arenado
The Rockies decided to trade away Arenado a few weeks ago. That move signaled what looks like a long rebuild for Colorado. They still have some solid pieces on their roster, but fans shouldn’t expect them to be there much longer. Trevor Story is the only Colorado player that will make big headlines. Given he’s a year away from free agency, it’s easy to imagine the Gold Glove caliber shortstop with 30-30 potential being moved. Since it hasn’t happened yet I suspect he’ll remain a Rockie till the trade deadline.
Colorado was at best a .500 ball club with Nolan. Now that he’s gone they’re likely to be somewhere between 68-74 wins on the year with a chance to bottom out if things go south. Like I said, the team does have some nice pieces. Jon Gray has great stuff while German Marquez has quietly been on of the better pitchers in the NL. Story is still on the team as is Charlie Blackmon; those two should anchor the top of the lineup pretty well. C.J. Cron’s minor league deal shouldn’t be completely dismissed. He was off to a torrid start in 2020 before an injury limited him to 13 game; just something to keep an eye on. Players who have good numbers in 2021 can only be viewed as a bump to their trade value seeing how the Rockies are looking to sell. There will be some high points for Colorado, but the cloud of the inevitable rebuild will hang over them all season.
There are some reasons for optimism with the young talent we could see on the Major League roster this season. Austin Gomber was one of the bigger trade chips the Rockies got back for Arenado. He keeps the ball in the yard and had a terrific season in 2020. It was a small sample size, but the numbers across the board were too good to dismiss. Elehuris Montero is the other piece brought back from St. Louis that could contribute in 2021. Montero is a big, physical corner infielder who has produced well wherever he has been. The offensive environment Coors Field offers should elevate his production. There are questions as to whether or not he can stick at third, but the bat certainly plays and I’m sure the Rockies will find somewhere for him.
For the guys not previously employed by St. Louis I’m interested in, Colton Welker and Ryan Rolison are the two guys I have my eye on. Welker is a third baseman and a position with the big boys just opened up. Whoever replaces Arenado at the hot corner will have some MVP-sized shoes to fill, but I think Welker could do a decent job. He won’t be nearly as good defensively and it’s a stretch to say his offensive will be like Nolan’s. With that being said, Colton has a chance to be a solid everyday player. Rolison was the Rockies first-round selection in the 2018 and I loved the picked. Ryan is a polished lefty with a wide array of pitches. He was drafted out of Ole Miss so you know you’re getting some pedigree with him coming from an SEC school. Rolison doesn’t have the best pure stuff, but he commands his pitches well and can spin it with the best. Coors is a pitchers nightmare, but he might be able offset the poor numbers at home by dominating on the road. He’s probably a middle-of-the-rotation guy.
One guy I will be keeping a close eye on is Brendan Rodgers. He was the third overall pick in the 2015 draft and hasn’t done much at the Major League level. Rodgers has tore it up in the Minors and looks like a perennial Silver Slugger, but he hasn’t been able to find success in the bigs yet. He has less than 100 career at bats, but with how much everyone has pumped him up it is hard to see him look so uncharacteristically bad. If he were to breakout and be the player everyone believes he can be, this would be the time. Colorado needs some hope and a strong 2021 campaign from Brendan would offer just that.
Sadly, the most exciting thing about Colorado’s 2021 campaign will be where their best players get traded. I feel bad for Rockies fans. They watch players toil away, hoping the team can put it all together one year and win it all. That won’t be happening this year as they look towards 2022 with 2021 barely under way. I guess the silver lining would be that they’re guaranteed a top-five pick next season.