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FIELDING Nobody was worse at fielding in 2013 than Colorado, according to Baseball Prospectus’ Defensive Efficiency Ratings, where only .686 batted balls in play were turned into outs. The infield is solid, with third baseman Nolan Arenado grading out very well, alongside shortstop Tulowitzki and LeMahieu, who are solid. But collectively, as a nineman unit, Colorado just doesn’t put it together for 162 games, which may be due more so to injuries than lack of fielding ability. Last year’s position players played anywhere from 109 to 133 games. If regulars are constantly missing 30 to 50-something games a year, the fielding will suffer, among other things. STARTING PITCHING Believe it or not, you may see good pitching in Colorado. Will it translate to the mainstream stats that everybody sees touched up because of the Coors Field hitters-park advantage? Probably not, but if Jorge De La Rosa (16-6, 3.49 ERA), Jhoulys Chacin (14-10, 3.47) and Tyler Chatwood (8-5, 3.15) can repeat their 2013 performances, then it’s not too far-fetched to see 26-year-old free-agent acquisition Brett Anderson finish the job, if he returns to his younger 20-something pitching form (26-29 career record with 3.81 ERA). Imagine what could happen—even with questionable fifth-starter pitching—if Colorado holds opponents to something close to four runs per game. RELIEF PITCHING Right-handed reliever and free-agent pickup LaTroy Hawkins (13 saves, 2.93 ERA and 1.146 WHIP with the Mets) will get first shot to save games, but lefty Rex Brothers is there too, after a fine season of assuming Colorado’s closing role in 2013 (19 saves, 1.74 ERA, 1.292 WHIP). Last year’s bullpen blew 18 of 53 save opportunities, and it would not be surprising to see the 2014 squad repeat that feat. Adam Ottavino, who did improve last season, and Yankee acquisition Boone Logan are the only setup men likely to come through for the team. MANAGING Dan O’Dowd, the Rockies only GM in the 21st Century, will see improvement in his team, if only his players can stay healthy. If Morneau, Anderson and Hawkins pan out, Manager Walt Weiss’ job becomes that much easier. The continuity is in place. You don’t often see that in losing programs. If the Rockies can stay healthy, Weiss won’t have to juggle his lineups again and will finally be able to develop his talent internally. Then again, if the injury-prone players get hurt again, somebody’s got to make a call and ship some players out. Jorge De La Rosa DUSTIN BRADFORD/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


2014 Cincinnati Gameday HQ
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