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Colorado Rockies: Dismal Start...Grade the Team

Mike SavinoContributor IMay 15, 2012

Colorado Rockies: Dismal Start...Grade the Team

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    The season is off to an extremely rough start for the Colorado Rockies, and there are questions everywhere in regard to the team.

    Let’s review the 2012 team...

1B: Todd Helton / Jason Giambi

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    Love them both but other than a few big time HR’s from each, they are not hitting consistently. Todd has 21 RBI’s but is also hitting just .242. He is nowhere near the usual .300 that we have been accustomed to. Defensively, he still is one of the tops in baseball. Jason is also hitting around .240 but does have a tremendous OBP due to the large number of walks he incurs. I hate to use two roster spots for one position, but it is what it is. Grade: B-

2B – Marco Scutaro

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    The former Red Sox infielder has been a very good defensive player, but he has not had a good year with the bat. Batting leadoff, he is hitting .252 with an on-base percentage of only .310. As a leadoff batter, you have to be on base a lot more and have speed. So far he has only three RBI. I realize he should not be hitting leadoff, but besides Eric Young Jr, who else can fill this role? Grade: C

SS: Troy Tulowitzki

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    Tulowitzki has had a real tough 2012 campaign so far. His defensive miscues have already outnumbered all of 2011. At the plate, he is really struggling, especially with runners in scoring position. He is hitting only .172. as a clean-up hitter, and this just does not cut it. We have seen him rebound over the years, so the expectation is that he will again. If not, he needs to drop down in the lineup until he re-earns the cleanup spot. Grade: D

3B: Chris Nelson

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    Defensively, he has been somewhat of a surprise, but offensively it is not good. Nelson is currently batting .219 with a .303 OBP. These numbers are horrid for the 3B position, and he really needs to step up or he will not have any chance of holding onto the position. Grade: D

C: Ramon Hernandez / Wilin Rosario

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    From a defensive position, Hernandez seems to handle the pitchers well and is being a good mentor to the younger Rosario. Offensively, Hernandez has struggled, hitting just .241 with a horrid .265 OBP. Rosario is hitting .236 and .271 OBP…not great but he does has 11 RBI in only 55 at-bats. Rosario is still a work in progress defensively. Grade: C

RF: Michael Cuddyer

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    Cuddyer has played well, especially considering he shifted over from the American League to the National League and is seeing these pitchers for the first time. He is batting .280 with a .333 OBP but has 22 RBI while batting sixth. He has speed and is good defensively. Overall, he has been a nice pick-up. Grade: B

CF: Dexter Fowler

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    Fowler is off to a rough start with the expectations high after his strong second half of 2011. He is currently batting .221 with a .313 OBP. This is certainly not good to bat leadoff, just as Scutaro is not. He looks like he has picked up more power, but strikes out 26 percent of the time. Fowler is being pushed by Tyler Colvin for playing time, so Dex has to step up soon considering the expectations. I have to believe if he does not step up soon, he might be re-visiting AAA to work on his issues. Grade: D

LF: – Carlos Gonzalez

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    Gonzalez is feast or famine, and that continues in 2012. He still has no plate discipline, but he leads the team in every offensive category. When he is hot, he is unstoppable, but his undisciplined ways at the plate are frustrating at times to watch. If it was not for Gonzalez's offense, this team probably would have lost another 3-4 games. He is batting .301 with a .386 OBP. His craziest stat is that he is hitting .414 with runners in scoring position vs. Tulowitzki’s .177. Grade: A

Starting Pitching

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    Where do we begin with this mess? The expected players have not really shown up this year. This includes Jhoulys Chachin, who was unbearable to watch and has been demoted to AAA. Jamie Moyer started well but has faltered badly the last few starts. Jeremy Guthrie has not been impressive, and Drew Pomeranz has also been sent back to AAA. The bright spot has been Juan Nicasio, considering we would not see him until mid-season at best. The new call-ups have looked good, especially Christian Friedrich as he has had two very impressive starts. This group of players will be a work in progress all year. Without many quality starts, the bullpen will be burnt out by July, and a long unsuccessful season looms ahead. Grade: F

Relief Pitching

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    The group as a whole has been inconsistent, but that is expected with their workload. As a closer, Rafael Betancourt has continued to impress. Rex Brothers as the setup man has faltered badly recently, as has Matt Belisle. Esmil Rogers has been terrible in almost every situation he has been put into. If the starting pitching continues on its faltering pace, an extra roster spot will be needed just to try to keep the relief staff somewhat fresh. This will cost a roster spot for a utility player.

Manager

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    Jim Tracy has had his work cut out for him in regard to the starting rotation. He is trying everything to keep the relief staff fresh as his options have been very limited. He seems to be a good tactician, but something seems off in regard to the non-urgent nature of the team. A lot of times, I see a team that has no fire with little emotion. Whether that is Tracy’s fault or not is debatable, but I would like to see more emotion. Grade: C+

GM: Dan O'Dowd

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    This has been the hottest topic amongst fans of the Rockies. Dan O'Dowd has been with the club for a decade, and aside from two good seasons, the team has underperformed. O'Dowd preaches that as a mid-market club, the team needs to be built through the draft. Looking at O'Dowd's drafts, they have been terrible, with seven top-10 draft picks over the last decade, yet only one player (Tulowitzki) has performed well at the major league level. His record is subpar, but he continues to be employed with no accountability. For a GM that says the players need accountability, he seems to have none. He typically likes to take the offseason approach of quantity over quality and hoping to hit a home run on one of his pick-ups. This hurt the team in 2011 and now again with the pitching in 2012.

Ownership

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    A lot of people say the Monfort brothers are not interested in success, but I tend to disagree. From a payroll standpoint, the Rockies are hovering around the same level as the Atlanta Braves and other mid-level teams. Yes, they are strong on the attendance numbers, but Rockies tickets cost much less than most. My complaint with ownership is the overly patient nature toward the GM and not making him accountable for his failures. It is one thing if he was three or four years into his job, but O'Dowd is at the point where the draft picks over his time served should be heavily contributing. I wish the Monforts would be more aggressive and give the fans the sense that they care, like another local team (Broncos). Grade B-

Conclusion

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    I was very disappointed in the offseason approach as Colorado had serious holes at 2B, 3B and starting pitching. Instead, the Rockies picked up a pricey right fielder, a struggling starter, a ton of pitching projects and older position players.

    The explanation is that the culture last year was poor with the players not making each other accountable. I still see holes at the three positions mentioned as there was no improvement made in this regard. The starting pitching is in shambles unless they get lucky with a couple of rookies.

    We had the opportunity to pick up Martin Prado and could not close the deal since they wanted to have Fowler as part of the package. At 3B, I would have made a strong move to get Chase Headley from the Padres. This would have secured the infield for years. I also would have made a strong move to get Wade Davis from the Rays instead of Guthrie. These players would have provided a lot more upside to the deals that were done. The Rockies have to learn to stop Dumpster diving during the offseason by grabbing any reclamation project and just concentrate on needed quality…this method would actually improve the club over time instead of the constant revolving door hoping to hit the lottery on some pickup.

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