The Blake Street Bulletin staff each put together a preview of the 2012 season for the Colorado Rockies. Leading up to the Rockies first game of the season on Thursday we will publish an article reviewing the four major parts of the team: infield, outfield, starting rotation and bullpen.
We rate each group on a scouting scale of 20-80 with 80 being Hall of Fame or All-Star level and 20 being a player who shouldn’t be in the big leagues. You might hear a scout say that Troy Tulowitzki has an 80 arm or that Dexter Fowler has 40 power. This means that Tulo has as good of an arm that can be found and Fowler has below average power. Giambi would probably get an 80 for his power but 20 for his speed.
We already reviewed the infield and today we talk outfield
Left field: Carlos Gonzalez will be backed up by Tyler Colvin and Eric Young Jr. CarGo only played in 127 games in 2011 and he came into camp healthy and ready to go. He said he spent the offseason working out and didn’t swing a bat for a month. I witnessed firsthand a missile launched off of his bat this spring and that was enough for me: the MVP is CarGo’s to lose.
Brandon Cloud: Cargo should give great numbers this year. No reason he shouldn’t hit .300 with 30 HR’s and great defense. His hot streaks could carry the team for stretches as the young pitching develops.
View from 132: Carlos Gonzalez is one of the more dynamic players on the Rockies. He has All Star talent and the Rockies are hoping he can put it all together this year on a consistent basis. His arm strength is a natural fit for right field. For the Rockies to be successful this year, CarGo is probably the most important individual, and he needs to become the dominant player (along with Tulo) that gives the Rockies one of the best 3-4 hitter combinations in the game.
Kevin Kroh: The Little Pony can play everywhere in the outfield equally well. Keeping him locked down in left field might be impossible, especially if Fowler once again gets an inexplicably short leash. Colvin has more ABs than just about anybody on the team this spring and is proving himself a worthy fourth outfielder.
BSB positional grade: 70
Centerfield: Dexter Fowler is still the starter despite a very slow spring. EY2 played a lot of centerfield for the Rockies this spring and apparently is the backup in center should the Rockies need one. Fowler was not given due credit last year by Jim Tracy and the Rockies by sending him down in the middle of the season. At the very least his glove in the expansive outfield at Coors makes him a permanent player in the lineup. He will get on-base and he will score from first on a single this year (a double that Jason Giambi turns into a single).
Kevin Kroh: Dex glides like a gazelle and makes it look effortless out there in the expanse of Coors Field greenery. He’s improving, if only slightly and slowly, in all areas of his game (except Ks), but no reason he shouldn’t get a full season of playing time now that he’s got some more muscle and experience.
Brandon Cloud: Fowler should step up this year. His spring troubles are discouraging but look for him to catch fire this year, as well as provide plus defense. There are about 20 teams in MLB that wish they could upgrade their CF, but the Rockies will be very happy with Fowler’s production this year.
BSB positional grade: 60
Right field: Michael Cuddyer gets most of the action with Colvin relieving him occasionally. Cuddyer was the big signing for the Rockies this offseason. Three years and just a bit more than $30 million brought the right fielder from Minnesota to Colorado. He figures to be the Rockies everyday right fielder for the next two seasons with him possibly replacing Todd Helton at first base in the third year of his contract – the first year the Rockies will be without Helton (assuming another contract extension isn’t signed).
View from 132: The Rockies major acquisition this off season was to go out and sign Michael Cuddyer from the Minnesota Twins. To make room for their prize, last year’s duo of Seth Smith and Ryan Spillborghs were shown the door. Adding Cuddyer should represent a significant upgrade (at least offensively) and his presence in the line up behind Tulo should mean more runs.
Kevin Kroh: I still haven’t warmed to the idea of Cuddyer trudging around that big outfield in Denver, nor do I understand that crazy-ass contract he got. I’d rather trade him for a solid starting pitcher and put Colvin in right field, but that’s just me. I hope I eat my words, but I don’t see Cuddyer being more than average.
Brandon Cloud: Cuddyer will be a good, steady contributor with an outside chance to hit .300 with 25-30 HR’s. He will extend the middle of the lineup and looks to drive in a lot of runs
BSB positional grade: 60
The Rockies could have one of the most productive outfields in baseball. CarGo and Cuddyer could combine for 50 or more home runs pretty easily. CarGo and Fowler could combine for 50 steals and even though Cuddyer will struggle a bit in right Fowler and CarGo make up for about the best defensive outfield combination in baseball. There might have been better options than Cuddyer on the free agent market but he should be a very solid contributor to the team and deliver at least two wins above replacement. The biggest question is how long Tracy is willing to stick with Fowler if he doesn’t hit.
On Wednesday we will review the starting rotation.