Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Look at the Division Rivals, 1st Up - Colorado Rockies

A lot of attention in the National League West this season seems to be directed to the Champion Giants, and that’s just what the Rockies would like.  Colorado with mashers like Tulowitski and Carlos Gonzalez, table setters Dexter Fowler and a young Eric Young Jr., with steady veterans like Ryan Spilborghs, Seth Smith, Ian Stewart and a determined Todd Helton. An addition of Ty Wigginton who comes over from Baltimore to take over third base, a veteran bat with some pop. This is a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  And that’s just the offense.
Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitski Celebrate
The combination of Gonzalez and Tulowitski is lethal.  Those two may be the most feared 3-4 hitters in the National League, and they'll be around for a while.  Carlos Gonzalez (.336 / .376 / .598 / .974) is only 24 years old.  He hit 34 homers, had 197 hits and knocked in 117 runs.  Tulo, the older guy, at 25 years old, additionally had a respectable stat line (.315 / .381 / .568 / .949) with 27 homers and 95 RBI.  All that in an injury shortened season.

Staff Ace, Ubaldo Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez is a true ace.  Aaron Cook is making a comeback, Jhoulys Chacin is arriving, Jorge De La Rosa has arrived and Hammel is no slouch.  They are all respectable as starters.  Now they’ve added fireballing Matt Lindstrom to the bullpen to accompany Huston Street, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt.  The Rocks have the makings of a very effective bullpen.
This team has the most potent offense in the N.L. West.  They were tops in the division in virtually all offensive categories and they really haven’t made too many changes in the off season.

Speedy Centerfielder Dexter Fowler
Dexter Fowler came back from a mid season demotion to the big club and figured out how to hit Major League pitching.  His splits reveal a ball player that got hot in August and red hot in September.
A lot of Question Marks
Questions remain with the Rockies catching situation.  Dan O’Dowd let Miguel Oliva depart in a show of confidence for underperforming Chris Iannetta (.194 / .318 / .383 / .701).  

With Clint Barmes traded away to Houston, it appeared that the second base position was EY Jr’s to lose, but then O’Dowd acquired Jose Lopez from Seattle, a versatile infielder with high range factor numbers defensively that can play shortstop too.  A double play combination of Tulo/Jose Lopez has the makings for being the best in baseball.
Newly Acquired Second Baseman, Jose Lopez

The solid defensive infield of the past few years in Colorado is putting an unsteady glove of Wiggington at 3rd.  Wiggington played the bulk of his defense last year with the Orioles at first base, (he only played 22 games at third).  Additionally, the question remains whether Helton can come back as age creeps up on him.  2010 was by far his most disappointing year (.256  / .362  / .367 / .728)
Aaron Cook is attempting to rebound from a terrible year healthwise.  It is unsure if he’ll regain his previous ace-like form, but being a solid innings eater and no. 3 starter would make Rockie fans happy.  Newly acquired Fausto Paulino from Houston may challenge for a starting spot.  Another key pitcher coming back from an injury plagued season is closer Huston Street.  O’Dowd obtained insurance in trading minor league arms for Matt Lindstrom, who could fill in the closer’s role if Street falters.
Matt Lindstrom, acquired via trade with the Astros
Lastly, there remains a question mark about how this team will perform on the road.  They were 31-50 away from Coors Field last year.  Had they played somewhat decent on the road, the Rockies could very well have run away with the division.  
Jim Tracy factor
I am not a Jim Tracy fan.  He’s a nice guy and all but his game management leaves a lot to be desired.  He falls in love with a veteran player and will play them often to the detriment of the club,  ( ahem, Jason Phillips, Jason Phillips) We all know some of the questionable moves he made as the Dodger manager.   I will give the man credit though.  He’s a manager that has his players backs.  Guys enjoy playing for him.  In 2009 he had an amazing run when he took over this club but in 2010, reality set back in.
Jim Tracy in his third year at the helm of the Colorado Rockies

Here’s the stat that really makes me wonder about Jim Tracy.  Colorado had 38 one-run losses.  As a strategist in the late innings, Jim Tracy isn’t good.  Tracy’s team lost in their final at-bat ten times.  These are the areas where managers matter, and Tracy failed in 2010. 
I was reading on Roberto Baly’s Vin Scully Is My Homeboy last week about the Mark Langhill book signing in Pasadena.  His book looked interesting, so I went on amazon.com and ordered Game of My Life.  While ordering it I noticed another Dodger related book cowritten by Duke Snider, Few and Chosen, Defining Dodgers Greatness Across the Eras.  So I also bought it.

Today it arrived in the mail.  I had forgotten that I purchased Duke’s book.  When I opened the package today and realized the timing of it’s arrival, I got chills.  Rest in peace Duke.

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