Jim Tracy lost us the game a few weeks back, as Casey Blake bombed one out of the yard for a Grand Salami after Ubaldo, completely none of his doing, was left out with an exhausted arm. I decided even though it looks like the Rockies may make the playoffs, I am going to compile the ultimate Rockies roster for 2011 while still being reasonable. The Rockies may need 3 or new starters next year to win on the road and win a pennant again, if they don't win the NL West this year. Let's get started.
*NOTE: The Rockies have since won 11 of 15 and are 4.5 games back. Some of the retired players may come back after all
Iannetta was supposed to be the guy 2 years ago. But a veteran always upstaged Chris. His average is hovering around .200 right now, but his second half has been much better. Olivo has played terrible, and will likely back him up and catch Jimenez, but Iannetta needs to be the guy and hit at least .250 with 20 HRs.
Wigginton sounds like a free agent the Rockies would sign. He is a very successful underrated player who will come to a better team and produce more, as Olivo and Street did. Wigginton is a 4 tool player, which is 5 tool minus the speed. He would be a great 5 hole hitter for the Rockies, and Todd Helton will either hang it up or Giambi will. Either way, the Rockies will need a first baseman.
While everyone was enamored with the play of Clint Barmes at SS, I was saying "C'mon this guy cannot even get a hit!" When Jonathan Herrera was playing everyday, people say this journeyman as the Rockies future. Well I said, what about our top prospect? Well, my man is hitting at the top for Rox and playing amazing second base. EY Jr. will be on first 1 or 2 times a night and has played solid defense since coming back from injury. Where is Clint Barmes? He is on the bereavement list because of his father (who we should pray for). Barmes will likely miss until the September call ups to keep him off the playoff roster, as the Rockies will move forward with Young and Herrera, who can back up Tulowitzki and Stewart as well. Young and Fowler will be the ones to catapult the Rockies to the playoffs.
Nelson was a first rounder in 2004 and has been spectacular in AAA Colorado Springs. Stewart refuses to hit the inside pitch and Melvin Mora is 39. Nelson, a shortstop, will be converted to 3B and replace Stewart and Mora next year, adding consitency to the lineup that changes daily. Nelson should impress in September and 2011 Spring.
The only question is if he can play in the All Star game in 2011.
The only question is if Carlos will hit on the road next year. If he does, he should make the All Star Team.
Dexter has swung consistently form both sides at about .265. Speed and defense are the things that make Fowler a presence though. Fowler struggled with Don Baylor, but the AAA hitting coach straightened him out and he should be great next year.
There is almost nothing else for Matt Miller to do in AAA, so I expect him to win the job and start next year in the bigs. Miller was drafted in the 13th round by COL, and this year is hitting .324 in AAA. He is not powerful, but more like a Curtis Granderson type. Miller should be about .275 in the Bigs next year.
His first half was so good, the ridiculously biased FSN Rocky Mountain put him ahead of Brian McCann and Yadier Molina in the All star starters. Olivo has struggled like the rest of the team in the 2nd half. Olivo is a power threat, and off the bench that is key. If Olivo was a secret, people would pitch him inside more and he'd be more successful. Thus, the bench.
Seth Smith is Mr. Late Night. There is no pinch hitter against right handers than Smith, and he is a must keep on the bench. Smith should make the team, but he struggles when starting. Smith is the best pinch hitter in baseball. Period.
Todd Helton may revive his Rockies career in a Jason Giambi type role. Giambi, like Helton, used to hit more dingers, but as of right now, I think Helton has more power than Giambi. Helton has strengthened his back and should be ready to go next year off the bench, which may be batter for his back.
Hitting .319 at Coors Field in his career, which is way higher than the second place park, Izturis is a perfect fit for the Rockies. He can play 2B, 3B, and SS, and maybe even some outfield. Sound like another former Oriole in Melvin Mora? Izturis is fabulous at Coors, and would fit great in the latino-turning culture in the Colorado club house, which is a great change of a pace.
Well, well. Look who's back at a discount. Brad Hawpe won't sign a deal longer than one year anywhere but Colorado. Hawpe was a fan favorite, but we couldn't pay him $10 million if we need to resign Ubaldo and Gonzalez. Hawpe should return next year after a successful run with the Rays.
Do you really need an explanation?
Jhoulys Chacin found something in AAA. Chacin has had 3 good starts since coming back. The first, he took LA to the 5th with no hits, and then cracked. Then against Arizona and the Phillies, he gave up one run. Chacin will live up to his potential it looks like and be Ubaldo's #2 guy and a solid future for the Rockies.
Hammel has been solid all year long, but never talked about. Hammy should be a solid #2 or #3 guy for any team the rest of his career.
Talk about a change of scenery. With the Royals, George of the Rose had balls flying out of the yard left and right in Kaufmann Stadium. In a more hitter-friendly park, Jorge can win 15 games every year for the Rockies. He may have the ability to strike out the most on the Rockies, and his slider is filthy in high altitude. De La Rosa should make the rotation.
This one was a tough one. Esmil Rogers could have had this spot. Greg Smith would have had this spot if you asked in 2008, but Chacin and Hammel came alive, and Smith has regressed. But Aaron Cook came alive in San Diego and had the bite on his sinker, so they figured him out in AA Tulsa. Jeff Francis is a free agent at the end of the year, and Cook has one more year left. So, I believe Francis will be let go and they will take the the draft choices, while Cook stays on for a year waiting for Tyler Matzek, a great young prospect.
Esmil Rogers will take a Jeff Weaver role in the bullpen because Esmil is out of options after this year. Esmil will not be let go or moved to AAA because his stuff is way too good for either. But Esmil can come out of the pen after trouble and give 3 or 4 innnings of perfect baseball. The Rockies went without a long guy and it hurt them having to use Corpas or Belisle in the 3rd inning. That won't happen next year.
Reynolds should eventually be the closer for this team in the future, but he is a terrific lefty specialist right now. Especially because he isn't just a lefty specialist. Reynolds was perfect before a two run homer against Philly on September 2nd. The August Audition earned Reynolds a spot on the team.
The Rockies will likely do what they did with Betancourt for Delcarmen. He won't just be a rental for one month, especially since there is time on his deal left. He arguably has the most middle-relief talent on the Rockies, and is versatile being a former starter. Delcarmen will be around next year.
Buchholz had Tommy John Surgery last year, and has struggled since coming back. His velocity has been way down and should come back next year. Buchholz was acquired in the Jason Jennings trade a while back, and Buchholz will look to rebound and be the "Better of the Buchholz" next year.
Belisle has always been the potenital, not the here and now. He is the setup man for the Rockies now, sharing the 7th/8th role with Rafael Betancourt. Belisle has a giant curveball that hitters cannot read right at all. Belisle has finally grabbed the reigns of his career with the Rockies.
Betancourt will be the 4 run 9th inning guy, along with the 8th inning man. Since June 30, Betancourt has been the most reliable reliever in the majors. Betancourt will come back with more money, and he may steal the closer role if this next man falters.
Street has recovered fully from his injury physically, but maybe not mentally in the minds of Rockies fans. He has settled down lately, but Street was up and down in Oakland and has been consistent so far and it hopefully stays that way.
23-Jason Giambi (Retired)
6-Melvin Mora (Retired)
9-Ian Stewart (AAA Colorado Springs to learn to hit the inside pitch)
97-Joe Beimel (Free Agency)
31-Matt Daley (AAA Colorado Springs)
Please leave your comments and Go Rockies!