It’s opening day! No more sleeps till baseball is back! Here is Rockies fan Lloyd White (@saintsfanwhitey) with his 2018 season preview.
2017 was a great season for the Colorado Rockies, as they made the postseason for the first time since 2009. With a young rotation, including four rookie starting pitchers, and a new manager – former big league pitcher Buddy Black – who knows how to work the young pitchers, when to pull them out and keep them in.
The Rockies picked up Closer Greg Holland on a one year deal after he missed the whole of the 2016 season having had Tommy John surgery in the offseason, and he went on to tie the National League for saves in 2017. He seemed to lose control of his pitches after cutting his finger in August, going on to have five losses to his name after the incident.
Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado both continued to produce MPV-worthy performances with Blackmon leading the league in runs, hits and triples. He also led the National League in batting average whilst becoming the lead-off hitter, with the most RBI in an MLB season ever. Arenado hit the cycle on Father’s Day and was a Gold Glover for the fifth time becoming the first infielder to get gold gloves in his first five seasons. They were backed up well by Mr Constance D.J Lemahieu, and the likes of Raimel Tapia with his off the bench performances.
With all the young gun starting pitchers now out of their rookie year and with Chad Bettis, who is back for a full season after missing most of the 2017 season with cancer, the club will be looking for them to push on. Jon Gray is entering his fourth season for the Rockies and he will hope to continue on the path to becoming an ace pitcher after year on year increases in performance and will hope to put behind him the National League wildcard game that saw him give up 4 hits and 4 runs off just 1.1 innings.
The Rockies have worked hard on the bullpen over the last few years and have recently invested $106 million in the shape of Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee and Wade Davis and will look for continued good performances from set-up men Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino and Chris Rusin. Having also re-signed outfielder and club stalwart Carlos Gonzalez on a one year deal, after he experimented with free agency, they will be hoping he will bounce back from a poor 2017 season.
Silver slugger third baseman Nolan Arenado will hope to continue to show why he is now considered one of the best third basemen in the game. Trevor Story will be looking to cut back on strikeouts this season that saw him lead the National League last year with a 191 in 555 plate appearances. Depth doesn’t appear to be a problem this season with the likes of infielders Pat Valakia, Ryan McMahon and outfielder Mike Tauchman being added to the 25-man roster. Finally, there was talk of Charlie Blackmon being moved from leadoff hitter where he has excelled but with the season about to get underway this doesn’t look to be the case.
89-73 – The National League West is a tough division with four teams in with a shot of making the postseason. The Giants will be looking to bounce back after a poor 2017 and the Dodgers and D-backs will both continue to be strong. I see the Rockies making the postseason again but going out in the divisional series.
The MVP has to be Nolan Arenado – with his all-round defense and hitting he can’t be topped!
One to Watch
After a great rookie season pitcher German Marquez is the one to watch but don’t rule out Ryan McMahon shining at first base when given the chance.
Lloyd White – @saintsfanwhitey