The Rockies are three games into their 2011 spring schedule. So far so good; they are 3-0.
Harry How/Getty Images
What does that mean? Absolutely nothing.
Is it nice for Rockies fans to see that their team won another spring game? Sure. However, if the truth were told, the fans at home care more than the players in the clubhouse.
Especially at this point in spring, when starters are generally getting two at-bats before working on other stuff on the back fields, and pitchers are throwing two innings and working on location more than pitch.
However, maybe getting in the winning groove is something that will be good for the Rockies. Remember back in 2008 when the club started spring training 0-8? That season didn't work out too well for them. For the most part, however, spring records mean absolutely nothing.
What does mean something is the performance of individual players.
It is always fun to see who comes to spring training with a point to prove. This year, that player is clearly Jonathan Herrera. The second baseman is one of four guys who are fighting for the starting spot. Herrera would be considered by few the front-runner. To win the job, he is going to have to beat out newly-acquired Jose Lopez, Eric Young Jr., and Chris Nelson, a former No.1 draft pick who is eager to show what he can do.
In the first two games Herrera has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with being an afterthought. He looks sharp. He has roped two triples and appears to be seeing the ball extremely well, especially for being this early.
Another positive sign was to see Chris Iannetta launch a home run to deep left-center field on Tuesday. While very few have been as hard on Iannetta as myself, the fact is, the Rockies need Iannetta to prove his doubters wrong. One spring training home run does not do that, but it is certainly a positive sign this early in camp.
If Iannetta can climb out of his own mental mess, he has the tools to be one of the top offensive catchers in the game. He sees the ball well at the plate, and can hit the ball a country mile. However, he has never been able to overcome one of the biggest hurdles in baseball. That hurdle is dragging the previous at-bat into the current at-bat. If Iannetta can prove his critics (myself included) wrong, it will go a long way to helping the Rockies win their first ever National League West title.
The other positive has been the starting pitching. While the three starters, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jhoulys Chacin and Jason Hammel have only combined for six innings, those six innings have been nearly flawless. Hammel is a slight concern because of his arm issues at the end of 2010, but showing he is healthy would be a confidence boost.
The reality is, judging a baseball team on March 1st is nearly impossible. The speed of the game simply isn't there quite yet, and players are in work mode, not concerning themselves with results. Soon enough, however, the competitive juices will start flowing and the Rockies will begin looking more and more like the team that will be taking the field for real in just one month.