A Coors Eight-Pack?
Brace yourself...The Rockies could be indulging in a few too many at our beloved Coors Field this year.
No, not those! Outfielders! We have too many outfielders!
Someone, anyone, ask us for an outfielder. All of these options and yet not one stands out more than another so far. If the Rox are ever going to return to the glorious form of late 2007, manager Clint Hurdle is going to have to figure out another magic combination that can produce the right mix of small ball, with just the right mix of Blake St. Bomber.
We start with the potential: Dexter Fowler, and Carlos Gonzalez. Both are highly touted minor leaguers, but totally unproven in the big leagues. One has the ability to remind us of what could have been with now departed Willy Taveras with an added pop (Fowler).
The other will forever be immortalized until proven differently as the "great maybe" (Gonzalez), that our franchise player Matt Holliday was shipped away for. Both hold a tremendous amount of possibility and hope, and both have a tremendous shot of flashing that potential only at Security Service Field for the Sky Sox of Colorado Springs as well.
Time will tell, but this fan says flip a coin, its a toss up.
Next, we move to the somewhat proven commodities of Ryan Spilborghs and Seth Smith. Both have flashed signs of sure brilliance, and both have become big fan favorites in the cozy confines of Coors Field.
Spilborghs has proven to be a nice front for a lineup hitter, but has also proven to be very hot and cold with any extended periods of playing time. His consistency and health will give him the inside edge headed to Tucson, but only a high OBP as a leadoff hitter will solidify that gift.
Then there is Smith, who flashed moments of clutch hitting in "the Run of '07", and had many quality at-bats late last season. However, the youngsters psyche will be the larger test vs. the talented youngsters skills.
The mountain of pressure to replace the man-child Holliday's stats—and importance to the team—will be comparable only to the great Rocky Mountains directly to the West.
Blake St. Smith will have to get off to a blazingly quick start if he has any prayer of erasing some of the pain and pressure that will wait at home plate for him every at bat.
Then there are the only two players with any measurable major league experience in Brad Hawpe, and Scott Podsednik.
Hawpe is consistently in the league's upper echelon of outfield assists, accompanied with a league lead in misplayed balls, and less than stellar hustle. Hawpe must decide to learn the intricacies of the spacious right field of Coors rather than try to rely on his cannon arm to make up for his mistakes.
To Hawpe's advantage he is the leading Triple Threat for the Rockies at the plate, and when he is hot, there may not be a better hitting right fielder in the league.
Podsednik is trying to just string together enough starts in either a week or a month to showcase his healed hamstrings, and the speed that made him a World Series MVP. Podsednik has the luxury of being THE speed man for the Rockies with Taveras' departure, and he must produce the small ball that Clint Hurdle has demanded in recent years if he has any chance of every day play.
His experience, and his defensive skills should earn him plenty of opportunity in spring training, but where he can really separate himself will be becoming the voice of veteran leadership outside of the Rockies infield.
One can only wonder where the opportunity will come for the can't miss Ian Stewart, or the talented Jeff Baker. Both dabbled in left field and second base, but never got extended time in either's natural position.
Both have also been mentioned as candidates for left field if Todd Helton comes back to Tucson healthy, and Garret Atkins moves back to his comfort zone of third base.
Dan O'Dowd could do himself a favor of shopping one or two of the odd men out to solidify a fifth starter, and keep the hope alive headed into April.
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