Whoa! What is this?! A post on Blake Street Bulletin. Say it ain’t so! And one from Travis?? Does he even still blog about baseball?
The fever is starting to catch. I want baseball. Last season was so abysmal I just needed some time off from writing about the Rockies. Apparently about four months of time off. I will try my best to pick up the pace heading into Spring Training.
Let’s look at last year’s roster, which is pretty much this upcoming season’s roster as the Rockies have done zilch this offseason, and see if what happens if the Rockies just stay healthy and the players perform to their career norms.
(All WAR values are from Baseball-Reference.com)
- Wilin Rosario: Played in 117 games in 2012, expect that to increase slightly. 1.9 WAR in ’12 but got a lot better as the season progressed: giving Rosario a half win more in ’13. (+0.5 WAR)
- Ramon Hernandez: Played in 52 games in ’12, expect that drop slightly. Hernandez was worth about one win in four of the previous five seasons prior to ’12 but was worth -1.6 wins in ’12. If he performs up to his previous standard (and I understand he is old) I think we can say he will be worth about a half win in ’13. (+2.0 WAR)
The catcher position could increase in value by as much as 2.5 wins in 2013
- Todd Helton: Helton’s WAR by year starting in 2007: 4.2, 0.9, 3.0, 0.1, 2.3, -0.1. See the trend? He sucks in even years and 2013 is an odd year! He most assuredly will be worth at least 2 wins in 2013! OK, I also see the decline in odd only years from 4.2 wins in ’07 to 2.3 in ’11. I’ll settle for 1.0 WAR in 2013. (+1.0 WAR)
- Josh Rutledge: I still can’t get over Jim Tracy playing Rutledge at shortstop last season when it should have been apparent he needed the reps at second since Tulo would be back in ’13. Let’s assume Walt Weiss is smart and starts Rutledge for at least 140 games at second in ’13. Rutledge’s WAR was -0.2 in ’12 but it is safe to assume he is worth at least one win in ’13 as he matures. (+1.0 WAR)
- Jordan Pacheco: Do the Rockies have a better option at third? I guess not. For all the love Pacheco receives from the Root Sports team he was worth -0.7 wins in ’12 mostly due to a bad defensive value. Let’s assume his power develops just a bit more and his D tightens up a bit and he is worth a half win in ’13. (+1.0 WAR)
- Troy Tulowitzki: In the three seasons before ’12 Tulo was worth about five wins a year and last year he was worth only 0.3. If Tulo is back to form in ’13 that adds nearly five wins to the Rockies record. (+4.5 WAR)
- Chris Nelson, Jon Herrera, DJ LeMahieu or whoever is the utility guy, if all goes well, won’t see a lot of playing time and their contribution to the team will be negligible.
The infield could increase in value by six to eight wins
- Carlos Gonzalez: Let’s hope last year was a fluke for CarGo. I mentioned it before in this space that his attitude was the reasoning behind him being traded twice before landing with the Rockies as a top prospect. Let’s hope the fat contract doesn’t diminish his drive. If it doesn’t and he was hurt last year or something then we can look for an improvement of about three wins in ’13 from CarGo. Maybe as many as five if we compare to his ’10 WAR. (+4.0 WAR)
- Dexter Fowler: There can’t be anyone happier to see Tracy gone than Fowler. He should see 160 games in centerfield in 2013. No more bench time and no more teasing him by sending him to AAA. With that being said Fowler has been consistently worth 2.5 wins each of the past two seasons and while there is optimism that he keeps getting better we will settle for the same, high quality, Dexter Fowler. (+/- 0.0 WAR)
- Michael Cuddyer: In the three seasons prior to ’12 Cuddyer was worth, on average, about 1.3 wins per season. Last year he was worth 0.4 and cut short due to injuries. I think he gets back to being worth about one win. (+0.5 WAR)
- Tyler Colvin: Hard to establish a track record with Colvin in his brief Major League career as calling him a yo-yo doesn’t really do it service. Let’s be happy with the same Colvin we got last year, mmmk? (+/-0.0 WAR)
The outfield could increase in value by four to six wins
- Jorge De La Rosa: In DLR’s previous years with Colorado he has been worth about 1.5 wins on average. Last year he was worth -0.6 in very limited work. Here’s hoping for the better, healthier, DLR. (+1.0 WAR)
- Jhoulys Chacin: For as bad of a year as many people would think Chacin had (really high expectations going into ’12) he finished with two wins above replacement and not that much worse than he was in ’11 when he was worth 3.6 WAR. Hard to predict him and we’ll say he sticks about the same. (+/-0.0 WAR)
- Jeff Francis: Francis hasn’t really been good since maybe 2008. Last year was his best year since ’08 in terms of WAR and, while I hate to say it, he could easily regress in ’13. (-1.0 WAR)
- Drew Pomeranz: Pomeranz was good at times in ’12 and then plain awful at times. He was worth 1.4 wins in ’12 and I think he takes another step forward in his production in ’13. (+0.5 WAR)
- Juan Nicasio: Another young pitcher and another player tough to gauge. He has looked pretty darn strong at times and I would love to see him throw 150 innings or more in a season and see what numbers are produced. At this point I am going to say he doesn’t add or detract from the value of the team per his previous performance. (+/-0.0 WAR)
Starting pitchers could either add value by one or two wins just by staying healthy or these group of guys could get worse by a win or two. Or they get injured and we get more Christian Friedrich which will certainly help pile up the “L”’s
I am not touching this. The bullpen was so crazy last year with Dan O’Dowd’s dastardly plan. I believe Belisle and Betancourt will be themselves and if the starters are allowed to throw more pitches than a little leaguer coming off of Tommy John the bullpen should be OK.
If we add all of this together the Rockies, with basically the same team as ’12, could win 13-17 games. If they could win 17 additional games they would finish with a record of 86-76 and that would tie them with the Dodgers from last year.
This is all very optimistic, of course. Having CarGo and Tulo in the middle of the order for the full season will most certainly help. I think giving Rutledge full playing time will also be beneficial. As last year, and most any year for the Rockies, the biggest question is the starting rotation. If DLR and Chacin stay healthy and perform to their ability it will greatly improve the numbers from the starting five. If Nicasio can pitch a full season, get a little more control, and continue to throw gas the rotation suddenly doesn’t look that bad. There are a few teams with tremendous starters in all five slots but many would be ecstatic to have three decent to high quality starters in the same rotation.
There is some reason to have some optimism going into 2013!
…I think I convinced myself to believe this on a sunny day if I get a solid eight hours of rest the night before. Don’t ask me on the morning after my kiddo wakes up three or four times, I might be a little more pessimistic.