A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE ROCKIES
Everything boils down to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. They both look good swinging the bat. Tulo looks good moving around at shortstop. He seems ready to go.... I love Corey Dickerson. He's probably got as good a barrel-to-the-ball ability as any young hitter I've seen in a long time. He controls the strike zone very well. Good bat speed. Uses the whole field. His defense is a little bit of another story.... Charlie Blackmon is probably a little closer to what he was in the second half than the hot start he had last year. He's got a lot of things going on in his hitting approach.... Wilin Rosario is a guy that they'd like to move for some pitching, just because of the defensive issues. They're going to have a tough time getting him at bats with Nick Hundley aboard now.... Tyler Matzek's results have been not great early on, but based on last year, I would say he's pretty much assured a spot. The stuff is fine, the command is not.... Kyle Kendrick looks like he'll give them the innings that they were banking on.... Jon Gray and Eddie Butler have both thrown the ball well. I saw Gray get up to 97. His command was still just fair, but he was featuring really good stuff. Both of them could be a factor at some point this year. I expect Gray a little sooner. He's certainly got their attention the way he's been throwing.... Rex Brothers has crisper stuff than last year, and his delivery looks like he's got some things ironed out.
More than 20 years after the Rockies joined the league, they're still figuring out how to win in a high-altitude environment. Clearly, keeping the ball out of play—striking batters out—is critical for the pitching staff. A batted ball in Coors Field is rough for the defense, given the combination of thin air and a huge outfield. Colorado, however, has ranked 15th, 15th and 14th in the NL the last three years in strikeout rate. Some of that is the environment—breaking balls break less at 5,280 feet—but some of it is personnel. Rockies starters were eighth in the NL in average fastball velocity and 10th in fastball usage. Colorado has to rebuild its staff around power arms who can miss bats with their heat. That means having Eddie Butler (93.1 mph) and rookie Jon Gray (touched 97 this spring) join Tyler Matzek (92.7) in the majors as soon as possible. The Rockies can also lean on newly acquired Jairo Diaz (97.2) out of the bullpen.
LEAGUE RANK 13
MANAGER WALT WEISS 3RD SEASON WITH ROCKIES
2015 PROJECTED STATISTICS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TULOWITZKI)