With pitchers and catchers already reporting to spring training, let’s take a look at the 2017 Rockies and what we might expect for the upcoming season.
During the offseason, the Rockies filled their managerial vacancy when they announced Bud Black as the seventh manager in franchise history. They inked former shortstop and outfielder Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70 million dollar deal (the second largest free-agent contract in franchise history)…with hopes that he’ll play first base. Jeff Bridich bolstered the bullpen, a weak link during the 2016 campaign, with the signing of LHP Mike Dunn. To the surprise of many, he also made a splash in free agency signing one of the most sought after bullpen arms in RHP Greg Holland, who missed the entire 2016 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Rockies added utility man Alexi Amarista with the intent to strengthen the bench. We witnessed the Eddie Butler project finally come to an end when he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for RHP James Farris. Oh, and possibly the most important move of the offseason occurred when the Rockies transitioned to a new shade of purple to represent the organization.
Last season, the Rockies finished 75-87, good enough for third in the National League West. Trevor Story stole the show batting .272, smacking 27 home runs and accumulating 72 RBIs in just 97 games before landing on the DL, ending his season. Nolan Arenado was Nolan Arenado as he hit .294 with 41 home runs and 133 RBI. How he wasn’t even a finalist for NL MVP is beyond me. Charlie Blackmon had a coming out party, setting career highs in numerous offensive categories from the lead off position, highlighted by 29 home runs.
The starting rotation showed improvement, lead by ace Jon Gray. Gray led the team with 185 strikeouts and posted an ERA of 4.61, which can be misleading. Chad Bettis earned 14 wins to lead the club, and Tyler Chatwood was absolutely incredible on the road, as shown by his 1.69 ERA. Tyler Anderson was steady throughout the season, solidifying his role in the starting rotation.
There is a certain buzz around the city and people are beginning to set expectations for the club. This leads to the question, what can we expect from the Rockies in 2017? I took to twitter to gauge the confidence in the fan base, and the results can be seen below.
Even after finishing third in the NL West last season and acquiring talented pieces this offseason, the consensus is a fourth or fifth place finish for the Rockies. I did ask the voters as to why they chose that spot in the standings and the responses varied:
With the season right around the corner, it will be interesting to see how the revamped Rockies compete in the NL West. Now I ask you the reader, how will the Rockies fare in 2017?