Rockies 2011 season preview: Outfield
The Colorado Rockies are confident enough in their starting outfield of, and that they are willing to go with just one true outfielder as a backup.
Carlos Gonzalez, LF: The concerns over his home-road splits are overblown. He’s an MVP candidate pure and simple, a five-tool player with a knack for the dramatic who has only just begun to scratch the surface of his talent.
Dexter Fowler, CF: Now that he’s the unquestioned leadoff hitter, the Rockies need Fowler to bunt more often and otherwise use his speed to his advantage. The Fowler who returned from a month in Triple-A was more like the Fowler the Rockies had been for all along.
Seth Smith, RF: Smith seems determined to prove that his slump after being handed the starting job late last season was a fluke. After a solid spring in which he generally hit left-handers well, he looks ready to take advantage of the certainty surrounding his role as the everyday right fielder.
: If the Rockies go with a four outfielders as expected, Spilborghs’ ability to play all three outfield positions will be especially valuable as the season wears on. He may see semi-regular time in place of Smith against left-handers, but his primary role will be as right-handed option off the bench late in games.
: How much time he will see in the outfield remains to be seen, but at the very least we gives the Rockies options with double switches late in games.
THE HELPING HANDS
: If starts the season on the disabled list, Taveras will likely be the late addition to the roster after an impressive spring. Otherwise he’s depth at the Triple-A.
: One of the best Rockies prospects in spring training, he might be the first option if the Rockies need a left-handed bat during the season.
: His presence on the 40-man roster to go with a good spring could make him the go-to outfielder in a pinch over Taveras and Blackmon.
.: He will play some center field at Triple-A, which should increase the chances of a return to the Rockies in a utility role.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Along with how Blackmon and Garner develop at Triple-A, the Rockies will be keeping an eye on how performs at Double-A Tulsa in his second full pro season.
SIGN THAT ALL IS WELL
The Rockies stick with their four-outfielder plan.
SIGN THAT SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG
The name Gonzalez shows up on the Rockies disabled list.