The internet is delightful. In fact it is how I watch my beloved Rockies from out of state. The internet is also prone to making us react more quickly and more rashly than we would otherwise. We are all guilty of this. If a baseball fan was to gauge how a team was doing based on the 5% most dedicated fans on Twitter, all 30 teams have terrible GM’s, managers, leadoff hitters, and the team’s top few prospects are obviously better than all of your team’s players. Not to mention that Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein hate every move your team makes and every prospect you have.
Baseball even magnifies this reaction time because we have so much content coming at us. One hundred and sixty two games. That means there are well over 500 hours of baseball to watch for each team. Baseball is odd and beautiful, one day looking like it is impossible to get a hit and the next appearing as though getting a ball by a batter is impossible.
So let us pause, relax, and look back at what we do know and what we don’t know.
What we do know: Juan Nicasio is a miracle. He has made an incredible comeback from breaking his neck and we need to appreciate this every day.
What we do know: Nicasio’s fastball is tremendous. It has an intimidating delivery, above average speed, excellent control, and tremendous late life.
What we don’t know: The Jeremy Guthrie trade was bad. Jason Hammel’s start was solid, but it was also what we have seen of Hammel often. He looks good now, but within his next few starts he will have that incredibly hittable fastball and will be out of the game before the 5th inning.
What we don’t know: That Dexter Fowler will be platooned. You can speculate about this but we just don’t know how much rope the organization will be giving Fowler this year.
What we do know: for the 3rd straight year Dexter Fowler has the chance to perform well and erase all of the other questions and concerns. The organization does not owe it to him to give him 2 months on the big league club to figure out his swing. He needs to take ownership and end this painful tradition.
What we do know: As long as Fowler doesn’t have it going the lineup will not be consistent. Starting a few weeks ago it became apparent that Tracy won’t put Fowler at the top of the lineup until he is clicking, meaning that we can expect to see Fowler at #2, and possibly soon 7 or 8. This combined with a timeshare at 3B will mean at least an unrecognizable lineup every few days.
What we don’t know: That Jaime Moyer will not perform well. I have been dismayed at the incredibly sudden turning on Moyer after one start. Let’s give him 4 more and then evaluate. After all, beyond being 49 he is coming off of Tommy John surgery so he still needs to get comfortable.
What we do know: If Moyer is still pitching in 6 weeks it will not be a positive for the team and organization. The organization is trying to make the playoffs this year, they are not just looking to the future; therefore I understand that the man who performed best in spring won the 5th starter job. That being said if Moyer pitches lights out, his upside is still incredibly low. We don’t know that having Guillermo Moscoso, Tyler Chatwood, or Alex White throwing those innings isn’t best for their development. I like that the younger guys aren’t getting the job just because they need the experience. They need to earn it. But it will not be a good sign if Moyer is still starting in 6 weeks because that means that of all of the young arms we acquired, none of them are improving enough to beat a 49 year old that has had less than 1 WAR four out of the last five years he has pitched. Not a good sign.
What we do know: the Rockies have a unique bench. Having Jason Giambi and Wilin Rosario as pinch hitters is really fantastic. That combo will actually alter how an opposing manager changes pitching. Having Pacheco as a 3rd catcher does allow Tracy to pinch hit Rosario or Hernandez without concern. Eric Young Jr. is an incredible asset to pinch run in late innings. That being said the bench is also unique in that Giambi is not a good defensive 1B, Tyler Colvin is a below average outfielder (nice catch on Sunday though) and there are 2 guys on the bench that don’t have a defensive position: EY Jr. and Pacheco. This means that you will see something like Sunday’s 8th inning. Colvin in right, Cuddyer at 1B, Pacheco at 3B. Yes, Nelson could have been at 3B but he is not good on defense there either. Tracy will have to get creative on these late innings changes until Nolan Arenado comes up.
What we do know: Jim Tracy is willing to put out some odd lineups. As terrible as it sounds to play 5 bench players on one day, it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds given that: Rosario may even be an offensive upgrade, Giambi may be an offensive upgrade, Colvin is probably an upgrade (at this exact moment, no more), and Nelson and Pacheco are both bench players. So while it is odd I don’t think it affected the team’s chance to win as much as it may appear. But either way, if Tracy does this 3 days into the season he will probably do it often.
What we do know: every team has those terrible losses like Sunday’s where the team really should win and a costly mistake snatches defeat out of the jaws of victory. There will be more and thankfully most days there are only around 21-24 hours to stew about it before there is more baseball.
What we do know: That loss on Sunday was still insanely frustrating. Maddening. I mean they had a chance to win the first series on the road, give Nicasio a win after a good start, etc. I am still red about it.
What we do know: More sweet baseball beckons.