The Colorado Rockies have made a strong start to the new look baseball season and Dan Wettstein is hopeful that they can now go all the way this season.
The Colorado Rockies are off to a torrid start to begin the season and their best player hasn’t even caught fire yet. Going into Tuesday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants, third-baseman Nolan Arenado had a total of 1 homerun and 1 RBI. Yet the Rockies sat in 1st place in the NL West 1.5 game over the hated Dodgers with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI by the end of it.
How is this possible? This is a team that was 20 games below .500 just a year ago. They did absolutely nothing in the offseason to improve the team, so it seemed at the time anyway. Then we got away from the roster on paper and got the 2020 Rockies in all their glory. Daniel Bard is a Disney movie in the making, throwing 99 MPH gas after battling the “yips” for over 3 years. Matt Kemp is showing why he destroyed the Rockies as a Dodger and Padre for all those years to earn the title “Rockies Killer”. And most of all, they have a rotation that has come out the gate with 10 straight games where the Rockies starter has not given up more than 2 runs. Not “earned” runs, but “runs” period.
This has been the best 10 game start in Colorado Rockies history. The starting staff has allowed bettors to go 8-2 on the First-5 Over/Under Runs Scored. That I am sure is also a team best start, maybe even an all-time season high? Ok, I admit I jest, but the mixture of veterans and young guns has me excited for the season to come.
So far all of the questions that the pundits and talking heads had, have been answered. Will German Marquez and Jon Gray continue a solid 2019? A combined 2.39 ERA says yes. Will Kyle Freeland bounce back after a lost season? A 2-0 record, 1.50 ERA, and 0.83 WHIP hint at a positive. How will the bullpen look? A combined 1.94 ERA with 34 strike outs in 31.1 innings pitched says very good.
This team has showed it can win in a variety of ways as the power potential has not yet fully materialized. The team when you filter for Trevor Story only has 9 home runs and 11 doubles in 10 games. They play small ball while leading the entire MLB in sacrifice bunts and hits of any kind. They lead the NL in batting average, but only crack the top-5 in 2 other categories(OPS+ and OBP). This historically offensive heavy franchise, with historically poor pitching in the “best hitters’ park” in MLB is being carried by a flame throwing pitching staff that shows no fear.
You need look no further back than 2018 when the Rockies got the best season of pitching up until that point. When Kyle Freeland placed 4th in the Cy-Young voting that year. And German Marquez showed the promise we see take the mound every 5th day. You can also look at 2007 and 2009 seasons when Ubaldo Jimenez was setting the world ablaze with his 100+ MPH 2-seamer, as to whether or not a starting staff can sustain success through 162 games, let alone 60. And those staffs only had a 2-deep rotation. The 2020 Colorado Rockies sport a rotation with 4 pitchers sporting a 5-pitch mix and all hit 95+ on the radar gun. Power plays no matter the dimensions or altitude of the park. It seems the Rockies finally listened and realized if the batter can’t hit the ball, it can’t leave the confines of Coors Field.
An overlooked part of the 2020 Rockies is their defense. Despite the league average .985 fielding % and 5 errors that have been simply focus related, this defense has been solid gold. Just do yourself a favor and search YouTube for Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story 2020 highlights. One example is Nolan running 118 ft. into foul ground to make a sliding, over-the-shoulder, basket catch against the San Diego Padres. Or Trevor story throwing someone out from the literal seat of his pants behind 2nd-base after a spectacular diving stop. This defense is simply special.
Once the offense truly finds its stride as the powerhouse, they are capable of being. This team has the potential to not only win the NL West for the first time in franchise history. But they have the potential to make good on that +25000 Underdog bet I took on them before the season to win it all! Nolan is going to hit many more then the 2 home runs and drive in many more than the 4 runs he has so far. Trevor is already raking. Daniel Murphy is back to being Danny Doubles now that he has 10 working digits. Matt Kemp has found the fountain of youth that is Coors Field for aging sluggers. David Dahl still hasn’t truly found his true power potential even though he has set the table fairly well so far. The only thing this team has to do to continue and sustain this hot start is their pitching to continue on this trajectory. And for the lineup to simply progress back to the mean. Mark my words, this Rockies team is fully legit and has the potential to Rock the world!