Category Archives: Colorado Rockies

2018 NL West Predictions

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles wasn’t very active this offseason, but that is because they really don’t have any weaknesses to fill. The Dodgers have a terrific lineup led by Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Yasiel Puig. However, the other players in their lineup like Matt Kemp, Logan Forsythe, and Austin Barnes are all solid contributors as well. The Dodgers are also very deep as they have Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson, and Chase Utley as proven players that are currently scheduled to be bench players in 2018. Los Angeles also has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB led by Clayton Kershaw who is probably the best pitcher in the entire MLB. However, the team has 4 above average starting pitchers behind him with Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers also have a very good bullpen led by elite closer Kenley Jansen. Josh Fields and Pedro Baez also had very good years last season as late-inning options in the Dodgers bullpen. Los Angeles could use some more depth in their bullpen, although they are certainly set in the late innings with Jansen, Fields, and Baez. There really isn’t a weakness on this Dodgers roster and they are not only the favorites to win the NL west, but they also are probably the favorites in the NL to make the world series.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona surprisingly was one of the best teams in the national league last season, but they are out to prove that last year wasn’t just a fluke. In fact, the Diamondbacks are a team that should be able to once again compete for a playoff spot in 2018. The Diamondbacks did lose J.D. Martinez this offseason which will hurt Arizona a little bit. However, they did replace him somewhat by trading for right fielder Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays. Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, and A.J. Pollock are the ones that will likely carry the offense for Arizona and their lineup is good overall. However, the middle infield appears to be the area of weakness for the Diamondbacks as Ketel Marte, Nick Ahmed, and Chris Owings will compete for starting jobs at 2nd base and shortstop. None of those guys provide much offensive capability and the Diamondbacks should have found better replacements at those positions. Meanwhile, the starting pitching appears to be a strength for Arizona heading into the 2018 season. They have Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray as all-star caliber pitchers that will lead the top of the starting rotation. However, they are also really deep with starting pitching as Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin are above average pitchers as well. Pitching in Arizona isn’t easy, but those 4 guys are certainly proven MLB pitchers that are up to the task. The bullpen could be decent for Arizona in 2018, but it will be a lot different than it was last season. Archie Bradley had a terrific 2017 season and now he is expected to be the new closer for the Diamondbacks in 2018. Brad Boxberger is a reliable late-inning option for the Diamondbacks and he has closer experience if Bradley struggles in that role. Yoshihisa Hirano was acquired to be another late-inning option for Arizona, but he has never pitched in the MLB and it is unknown what he will provide. Arizona needs more depth in their bullpen and they need someone besides Boxberger and Bradley to step up. The Diamondbacks have a few weaknesses on this roster, so they probably won’t be able to compete with the Dodgers for the division title. However, Arizona still is a very good team that should be able to make the playoffs in 2018.

3. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were a playoff team in 2017 as they had improved pitching and a lineup that continues to dominate. Colorado still has Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Ian Desmond, Trevory Story, and Gerardo Parra. That is quite the lineup especially if Arenado and Blackmon continue to play at an MVP-caliber level. We all know that the Rockies will score a ton of runs as they always seemingly do. However, pitching is the one thing that really continues to hold them back. Jon Gray is the clear ace of the Rockies pitching staff and he performed well last season especially considering that he was pitching at Coors Field most of the time. The rest of the rotation is filled mostly with really young starting pitchers that were very inconsistent last season. Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, and Tyler Anderson all pitched well at times last season, but they all need to improve if the Rockies starting pitching is going to be good. However, it will help that Freeland and Marquez have a year of experience now and hopefully they can continue to try and reach their full potential. Meanwhile, the Rockies bullpen should be better this year especially with the signing of elite closer Wade Davis and quality setup man Bryan Shaw. However, the Rockies have plenty of bullpen depth as they have Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino, and Jake McGee that are all quality relief pitchers. If the bullpen can be good then it would be a huge step towards being a playoff team once again in 2018. Colorado is playing in a really tough division and they also have a few tough teams in the NL to compete with, but if their pitching can continue to improve then they should be a playoff contender for sure.

4. San Francisco Giants

San Francisco is another team that made offseason upgrades in order to try and make the playoffs in 2018 as they added all-star caliber players Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. The Giants already had a decent lineup with Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford. However, adding Longoria and McCutchen to the mix will only make the Giants a much better offensive team. The Giants starting rotation also has the potential to be decent especially if star pitcher Madison Bumgarner can stay healthy. They also have Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija who are proven MLB pitchers, but they both need to pitch much better than they did last season if the Giants want to have a good rotation. Also, the Giants don’t have much behind those guys in the rotation, so they need to at least find decent 4th and 5th starters. Meanwhile, the Giants have a decent bullpen as they have Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland, and Tony Watson. All of those guys are good late-inning options, but the main question for the Giants is which one of those relievers will be the closer in 2018. It seems the Giants have the lineup to compete in the highly competitive NL West. However, it is the lack of pitching especially with the starting rotation that could really hold this team back.

5. San Diego Padres

The Padres are clearly the worst team in the NL west heading into 2018 as the other 4 teams in the division are playoff contenders. However, the Padres are a team that is heading in the right direction especially with the major signing of Eric Hosmer this offseason. San Diego should have plenty of power in the middle of their lineup with Wil Myers and Hosmer carrying the offense. However, the Padres need support from the other position players if they want to improve. Specifically, the Padres need their young players like Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, and Carlos Asuaje to continue to improve. The major concern for San Diego is that they have arguably the worst rotation in the entire MLB. Clayton Richard is the leading pitcher in their rotation, but he didn’t have a good year in 2017. The key for the Padres rotation will be young pitchers Luis Perdomo and Dinelson Lamet. Both of those pitchers weren’t very successful last season, but they will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves this season. If they can live up to their potential, then the Padres rotation has a chance to at least be decent. Meanwhile, the Padres could be good especially with all-star closer Brad Hand leading the way. Craig Stammen is also a good late-inning option, but the Padres need more out of the rest of the bullpen if they want to be successful. The Padres will probably be a better team in 2018 especially with the addition of Hosmer. However, the Padres still have many holes on their roster and this year will be more about their young players improving rather than trying to be a playoff team.


Rockies sign Wade Davis to a 3-year deal

The Colorado Rockies made it a priority to make their bullpen better heading into 2018 and it appears that they have done so by signing closer Wade Davis to a 3-year/$52 million contract. Davis has become arguably the best relief pitcher in the MLB since he converted to a full-time bullpen role back in 2014. The Rockies surely realize what he has accomplished in the past few years as this signing breaks the record for the average annual salary for a relief pitcher. Colorado had an improved bullpen last season as closer Greg Holland had a terrific first half of the season. However, Holland fell apart later in the season and he is now a free agent that the Rockies clearly won’t re-sign now that they have acquired Wade Davis this offseason. Davis provides even more stability to the Rockies bullpen that should be improved next season with the addition of Brayan Shaw this offseason as well. The Rockies already have an elite offense and if their bullpen can just be average then Colorado could be a very good team next season. Colorado still needs some pitching help, although this signing provides tremendous stability to the back of their bullpen.

Grade: A+

wade davis

Rockies sign Iannetta to a 2-year deal

Chris Iannetta is heading back to where his career began as the veteran catcher signed a 2-year/$8.5 million contract on Friday. Iannetta played for the Rockies already from 2006-2011 after he was a 4th round pick by the team in the 2004 draft. He hasn’t had much success since he left Colorado as he struggled with the Angels and Mariners from 2012-2016, but he revived his career last season in Arizona as he hit .254 with 17 home runs and 43 RBI’s. Iannetta is just an average catcher at best at this point in his career, but he is definitely an upgrade over Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy at the catcher position for the Rockies. Iannetta isn’t a great option at catcher, but he provides good leadership and more offensive ability than Tony Wolters. This has the potential to be a bargain signing for the Rockies if Iannetta can play like he did last season, although I’m still not sold on him being a good starting catcher for Colorado.

Grade: C

chris iannetta

Rangers trade Lucroy to the Rockies

The Texas Rangers decided to trade away catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later.


Texas Rangers analysis/grade:

This is a really bad trade for the Rangers as they are giving up an all-star caliber catcher basically for nothing. Lucroy wasn’t having a very good year for the Rangers, but he is surely worth more than a low-level prospect. He is set to be a free agent after the season, but the Rangers could have gotten at least something decent in return for Lucroy. This is a trade that just isn’t worth it for Texas since they are acquiring pretty much nothing for a player that has a proven track record of being a very good catcher. Lucroy would have been more valuable just to remain with the team for the rest of the season rather than only getting a low-level minor league player presumably. We’ll see later on which prospect the Rangers receive from the Rockies for this trade, but this is still a major fail for the Rangers since they basically are getting rid of a valuable catcher for nothing.

Grade: F


Colorado Rockies analysis/grade:

This is a terrific low-risk trade for the Rockies as they are acquiring 2-time all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy in exchange for basically nothing. Lucroy is having a down season in 2017 as he is only hitting .242 with 4 home runs and 27 RBI’s. However, Lucroy was an all-star just one season ago when he hit 24 home runs so he still has the potential to be a big impact player for the Rockies. The catcher position has been a major weakness for Colorado as both Tony Wolters and Ryan Hanigan have struggled to produce offensively. Even if Jonathan Lucroy plays like he did for the Rangers this season he still is a big upgrade at the position for the Rockies and he is still a dangerous hitter in the 8th spot of the Rockies lineup. Lucroy is likely only a rental player as he is a free agent after the season, but if he can just be half the player that he used to be then he will still make a major impact for the Rockies. The Rockies are giving barely anything up in exchange for Lucroy, so this trade has absolutely no risk and at the same time it could produce a huge return. Colorado is already a playoff-caliber team, yet this trade just makes the Rockies even more dangerous offensively especially if Lucroy can play like he did just a year ago.

Grade: A+

jonathan lucroy

Phillies trade Neshek to the Rockies

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their lengthy rebuild as they sent all-star relief pitcher Pat Neshek to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league prospects Alejandro Requena, J.D. Hammer, and Jose Gomez.


Phillies analysis/grade:

Pat Neshek was pretty much the only bright spot for the Phillies this season as he was the team’s only all-star since he had a 1.12 ERA before being traded. However, Neshek is about to turn 37 years old and he is going to be a free agent after the season which made it an easy decision for the Phillies to trade him. The Phillies also received 3 good prospects from the Rockies in exchange for Neshek. Jose Gomez is the top prospect that the Phillies received in this trade as he could be a good starting middle infielder one day. Gomez has been outstanding in the minor leagues as he has a career .316 batting average and he is once again impressing this season as he has a .324 average with 33 RBI’s. He doesn’t provide much power as he only has 9 career home runs, but his offensive ability is still impressive. Gomez also has 73 career stolen bases, so he clearly has above average speed. Gomez is a shortstop right now, but he will probably move to 2nd base at some point because he doesn’t have great arm strength. Gomez is still a long way from being major league ready, but he projects well as a good starting infielder in the MLB. The Phillies also received 23-year old right-handed pitching prospect J.D. Hammer in this trade. Hammer was a 24th round pick by the Rockies last season and he has been good so far in his minor league career and he has a 2.25 ERA so far this season. He projects well as a middle relief pitcher as he has the ability to strike out batters effectively. Hammer is in High-A right now, so it is possible that he could make it to the majors in a few years. The final prospect that the Phillies acquired in this deal is 20-year old starting pitcher Alejandro Requena who is having a good year in Low-A with an 8-3 record and a 2.85 ERA. Requena struggled during his first 3 minor league seasons, but his impressive 2017 season shows that he does have some potential. Requena doesn’t throw very hard, but if he can continue to control his pitches well then he has a chance to make it to the MLB at some point. This is a very good return for the Phillies to receive for an aging relief pitcher that they weren’t going to re-sign anyway. The Phillies now have another 3 good prospects to work with as they continue their rebuild.

Grade: A


Rockies analysis/grade:

The Rockies desperately needed some more consistency from their bullpen since the only reliable relief pitcher that they have is closer Greg Holland. The addition of Pat Neshek should not only help to secure Colorado’s playoff spot, but it should help them to possibly go deeper in the playoffs this year. Neshek has a 1.12 ERA this season and his side-armed pitching style still should work well despite pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Neshek gives the Rockies a terrific 8th inning option to try and setup closer Greg Holland in the 9th inning. Neshek is probably just a rental player for Colorado since he is about to be 37 years old and he is set to be a free agent after this season. The Rockies did give up some good prospects with potential, yet they didn’t give any top prospects in this deal so it won’t affect the Rockies minor league system much. We’ll see if Neshek can continue to pitch well in the worst stadium for pitchers, but at least he gives the Rockies with a much better 8th inning option. The Rockies did give up some talented young prospects, but they didn’t give up too much in return for Neshek and this is a move that should help to solidify a playoff spot this season.

Grade: B

pat neshek

Season Outlook: Colorado Rockies

2017 Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. Charlie Blackmon – Center Fielder
  2. DJ LeMahieu – 2nd baseman
  3. Nolan Arenado – 3rd baseman
  4. Carlos Gonzalez – Right Fielder
  5. Ian Desmond – 1st baseman
  6. David Dahl – Left Fielder
  7. Trevor Story – Shortstop
  8. Tony Wolters – Catcher

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Jon Gray
  2. Chad Bettis
  3. Tyler Anderson
  4. Tyler Chatwood
  5. Jeff Hoffman

Season Outlook:

We all know how dangerous the Rockies lineup will be in 2017, but the issue for the Rockies will be if their pitching staff can be at least decent. Nolan Arenado is a legitimate MVP candidate that provides sensational defense as well. Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu, Ian Desmond, David Dahl, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon are all really good hitters. The only weakness in Colorado’s lineup is with catcher Tony Wolters who struggled offensively last season. Everyone besides Wolters are major threats in the Rockies lineup to do some serious damage against opposing pitching. Meanwhile, the Rockies pitching staff made some improvements last season led by young ace Jon Gray. Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, and Chad Bettis also improved in 2016. Jeff Hoffman is a highly regarded pitching prospect and it will be interesting to see how he does in his first MLB action in 2017. All of the Rockies starting pitchers are inexperienced, but they all have tremendous potential to improve even more for the Rockies next season. The major issue for Colorado last season was their bullpen which had a MLB worst 5.13 ERA. It seemed that they couldn’t close out games even if they had a big lead. However, the additions of Greg Holland and Mike Dunn this offseason should provide some more stability in the late innings. Also, closer Adam Ottavino was injured last season and he was a really good relief pitcher for the Rockies prior to his injury. If the pitching for the Rockies can improve especially with the bullpen then this is a very dangerous playoff contender. However, as good as the offense will obviously be, I’m not sure that the pitching will improve much considering that they play at the extremely hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Prediction: 3rd place in the NL West


Biggest need remaining for every NL West Team

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest need: Bullpen

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a decent bullpen until they let go of quality relief pitchers like Brad Ziegler, Tyler Clippard, and Daniel Hudson. However, they haven’t done much to replace those guys this offseason. Arizona signed 39-year old Fernando Rodney to be their new closer, but who knows how much production that he has left. Rodney has been inconsistent in recent years and he was awful with a 5.89 ERA with the Marlins last season. Even if he does turn out to be good for Arizona, they still have nobody else besides him in the bullpen. Arizona has a big need for 7th and 8th inning help and time is running out for them to find somebody to fill those roles.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest need: Catcher

Colorado has a really dangerous lineup, but if there is one weakness in their lineup then it is definitely at the catcher position. As of right now, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy would be the options at catcher for the Rockies. However, neither of those guys have proven that they can be everyday catchers. Wolters is a former infielder and he only hit .259 with 3 home runs in 2016 for Colorado in 71 games played. Those aren’t good offensive stats especially for a guy that plays most of his games at Coors Field. Both Wolters and Murphy are nothing more than backups, but one of them will have to play a lot in 2017 unless the team can find a starting catcher. The Rockies are reportedly interested in Matt Wieters as their new starting catcher which isn’t a bad idea since he provides some more offensive ability than Wolters and Murphy. Either way, the Rockies can’t rely upon Wolters to be their everyday catcher next season and they need a lot of help at the position.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest need: 2nd baseman

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have many needs, but they do have a glaring weakness at the 2nd base position with Enrique Hernandez as their projected starter for the 2017 season. That is not good news considering that Hernandez only hit .190 with 7 home runs in 109 games for the Dodgers last season. There aren’t many options available at 2nd base for the Dodgers in free agency, but they should at least add some more depth to the position in order to compete with Hernandez. Los Angeles could always trade for Brian Dozier and fix the problem at 2nd base. However, the Dodgers just need to do something to improve the production out of the 2nd base position.

San Diego Padres – Biggest need: Starting Pitching

San Diego has perhaps the worst starting rotation in all of the MLB heading into next season as their number 1 starter appears to be Christian Friedrich who had a 4.80 ERA in 2016. The Padres have plenty of depth with their starting pitching, but they just don’t have even one starting pitcher that would be a number 3 starter on another team. The free agent starting pitcher market was extremely weak this offseason, yet the Padres should have signed at least one quality starting pitcher. San Diego did sign Jhoulys Chacin, but he won’t do much to make their rotation any better. Overall, the Padres starting rotation is looking terrible for next season unless they make a big move late this offseason which is highly unlikely.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The San Francisco Giants were in the market for a big time outfielder this offseason. However, they haven’t made any big moves yet and they still are left with a big need for a starting left fielder. Right now Mac Williamson would be the starting left fielder for the Giants and he hasn’t proven much as he is a career .222 hitter with 6 home runs in limited playing time. There are still quality left fielders like Michael Saunders that remain unsigned in free agency, but the Giants just need to do something to find a decent starting left fielder for next season.