Good news, bad news as Rockies close out camp
The Colorado Rockies finished their Cactus League season Tuesday with a 7-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The Rockies finish 20-11-1 in Cactus League play and will play a final exhibition game Wednesday in Tulsa against their Double-A affiliate. With the final roster moves expected in the next day, a look back at the good and bad news from the Rockies spring season:
THE GOOD NEWS
Middle of the order in fine shape: No one expected or to have to prove anything this spring, but they each consistently hit the ball hard. Tulowitzki finished at .311 with four home runs and 12 RBI. Gonzalez hit .333 with three doubles, a home run and 11 RBI.
, potential RBI machine: Who was going to occupy the fifth spot in the Rockies lineup was settled fairly early. Helton is no longer the power hitter he once was, but he spent the spring putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position. He hit .372 with four doubles, eight RBI and .440 on-base percentage with just one strikeout in 43 at-bats.
: Whether he’s in the Opening Day lineup or not, Herrera has earned a significant role on the Rockies this season. He finished at .371 with four doubles and four triples (which accounted for an unusually high .565 slugging percentage) and 15 runs scored.
The Carney Lansford Effect: The Rockies’ new hitting coach was brought in with three hitters in mind.hit. 286 and did a better job of hitting left-handers than he did last season. finished with at .324 with two home runs and six RBI, but more importantly walked 11 times against six strikeouts for a .500 on-base percentage and regularly hit the ball the other way. spent more of the spring recovering from injuries than playing, but in a small sample size did reduce his strikeouts from one every 3.5 at-bats in 2010 to one every 6.25 at-bats.
: The Rockies’ biggest free-agent acquisition of the offseason (not including re-signing their own free agent, ) had a good spring while playing first, second, third, left and right. He hit .304 with three home runs, five doubles and 14 RBI and looks like a good bet to be in the Rockies’ Opening Day lineup with Stewart suffering from a hamstring injury that may yet land him on the disabled list.
: The center fielder on the Rockies’ 2007 World Series team returned this spring on a minor-league contract and is one of the final non-roster players still in camp after hitting .344 with six stolen bases. If Stewart does the start the season on the DL, Taveras will likely be on the Rockies roster on Opening Day.
Starting pitching: The Rockies’ front four all had less-than-great moments, but all told the starting rotation looks as promising as it has coming out of spring training at any point franchise history.
Prospects: Many of the Rockies’ best prospects are in the lower levels of the system, but
THE BAD NEWS
Injuries: After starting the 2010 season without and , the Rockies sought depth in the offseason so a single injury could not have the potential to ruin a season before it even starts. But the Rockies still have had to alter their plans with a pair of injuries. , who missed the first part of spring training with shoulder soreness, is out until at least May after breaking a finger on his pitching hand and will be replaced by Rogers. Stewart spent the first start of spring recovering from a sprained MCL and is now in danger of starting the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The signing of Ty Wigginton, who led the Rockies in RBIs this spring, gives the Rockies a backup plan. But his presence at third base every day, significantly hurts the bench.
Bullpen questions: The Rockies may actually have the best bullpen they’ve ever put together, with a collection of power arms capable of throwing mid- to upper 90s, multiple options at closer and plenty of depth at Triple-A. But closer Street had an uneven spring,
Starting pitching depth: As it stands now, the Rockies did a solid job of withstanding an injury to a starting pitcher. But it’s not clear the Rockies could withstand multiple injuries in the rotation like they faced in the first two months of 2010.