With Spring Training under way for the Colorado Rockies and the rest of Major League Baseball, it’s time to look into what will make a successful season for the Rockies in 2014. The Rockies enter their second year under head coach Walt Weiss after coming off of a disappointing 74-88 record last year. Weiss states that he is more comfortable with the roster and personnel which will only help them out down the road. Two players that can help make this season a special one for the Rockies is shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez — Arguably two of the top 15 players in the MLB when healthy.
Starting off with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki who was plagued by injury in the 2013 campaign, but still put up impressive numbers regardless. In 126 games played last season, Tulo would hit .312/.391/.540 while slugging out 25 home runs to go with 82 RBI’s. Tulowitzki would miss 56 games last season in large part to a fluke rib injury he suffered on Jun. 14th against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Tulo would lay out for a ball in the hole and would come down awkwardly on his side, leaving the game in the eighth inning of a 5-4 loss.
Troy was batting .374 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI’s at the time. Colorado was in first place for quite some time to begin the season but Tulo’s injury really set the tone for the rest of the season. He would have yet another stellar season in the field as well, committing just eight errors in 570 total chances.
|162 Game Avg.||162||687||607||101||179||35||4||29||103||10||6||67||109||.295||.367||.509||.877||120||309||19||6||2||5||7|
Another player that will have a key impact on the club in the upcoming season is left fielder Carlos Gonzalez. CarGo would deal with an injury that lingered throughout the whole second half of the season. He would injure his middle finger on his right hand after striking out on a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Jul. 7th. Prior to the injury, Gonzalez was batting .304 with a NL-leading 24 home runs.
|162 Game Avg.||162||663||599||105||180||35||7||29||98||25||6||53||146||.300||.357||.530||.887||125||317||11||4||1||5||8|
|COL (5 yrs)||606||2510||2255||417||693||129||30||121||393||103||25||213||543||.307||.368||.552||.920||131||1245||41||15||5||22||32|
|OAK (1 yr)||85||316||302||31||73||22||1||4||26||4||1||13||81||.242||.273||.361||.634||71||109||7||0||1||0||1|
|NL (5 yrs)||606||2510||2255||417||693||129||30||121||393||103||25||213||543||.307||.368||.552||.920||131||1245||41||15||5||22||32|
|AL (1 yr)||85||316||302||31||73||22||1||4||26||4||1||13||81||.242||.273||.361||.634||71||109||7||0||1||0||1|
Gonzalez would finish the season hitting at a line of .302/.367/.591 while hitting 26 home runs to go with 70 RBI’s. Believe it or not, CarGo missed more games than Tulowitzki as he finished with just 110 games played. Colorado is going to need more production out of these two than just 152 combined RBI’s for this team to be successful. That’s why they went out and signed first-baseman Justin Morneau in the offseason to supply some thump in the middle of the lineup and hopefully resurrect his career at Coors Field.
Although having these two in the lineup will be beneficial to the team, the Rockies will need to be productive in another aspect of the game: pitching. Colorado has two very promising prospects on the horizon in Jon Gray and Eddie Butler but those two would begin the year with the big club. Colorado acquired southpaw Brett Anderson in the offseason to help out a starting rotation consisting of three quality pitchers in Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, and Tyler Chatwood.
Their bullpen on paper looks improved from last season including the acquisitions of Boone Logan, LaTroy Hawkins, and Franklin Morales (battling for a sport in the starting rotation as well). Put those guys in the mix with Rex Brothers, Chad Bettis, Adam Ottavino, and Matt Belisle and you have yourself a quality bullpen.
Once again, in order for the Colorado Rockies to be successful in 2014, it will depend on the health from Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Colorado now possesses the depth in acquiring Brandon Barnes and Jordan Lyles in the Dexter Fowler trade to cope with injuries, including outfielders like Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson, and Charlie Blackmon to fill the need when necessary. Bottom line is these two can’t miss significant time or else it will be another wasted season in LoDo.