Colorado Rockies Hope to Give Fans More to Cheer About in 2013
With a 64 and 98 record, landing them in last place in the NL West last season, the Rockies can only improve upon their lackluster performance in 2013.
A dismal year for a mediocre pitching staff offered no opportunity for Colorado to advance in the standings. They are hoping that by bringing Tyler Anderson into camp, they will have an effective starting pitcher for years to come.
The 23 year old lefthander was drafted in 2011. Last year, after recovering from a sports hernia, and deciding not to have surgery, he pitched in A ball for Asheville. A shortened season produced a record of 12-3, a 2.47 ERA in 120 innings. Striking out 81 batters and only allowing 28 walks and 5 home runs, encouraged first year manager Walt Weiss to invite him to camp.
Weiss’ focus will be re-tooling the pitching staff, who collectively had the highest ERA in baseball at 5.22, and issued the third most walks. Defense is the other area in need of enormous improvement, having led the league in errors. “We’re going to stress playing the game hard and playing the game right, and playing the game right is about execution,” Weiss said. “Of course, defensively last year there were a lot of guys that were thrown into the fire and had to develop at the Major League level in some aspects. There were some growing pains. I think we’re going to be much better defensively this year. We’ve got to be.”
Offensively the team was near the top of the league in many categories, partially credited to playing at Coors Field in Denver. However, on the road they produced the fewest runs in the majors.
Weiss believes the young, versatile and athletic roster can create more havoc on the bases, not only with steals but with the ball in play. Putting more pressure on the defense, especially at home, can help a core lineup led by sluggers Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki (hoping to come back from an injury-shortened season to re-establish himself as the game’s top two-way shortstop), Todd Helton, Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario. Young, Fowler, Gonzalez, Chris Nelson and outfielder/first baseman Tyler Colvin — who earned long runs of regular playing time last season — are among players who have shown potential to be more disruptive on the base paths.
“I think being aggressive has got to be a part of who we are,” Weiss said. “I think the other teams have to look at us that way, and if they do, it will be a competitive advantage. We always have to work our running game, whether it’s with steals, going from first to third. It’s an attitude of attacking on the bases and with our bats, getting the opposition to react to what we’re doing instead of vice versa.”
If the Rockies are to climb out of the basement, the bottom line remains improvement by the pitching staff. With a high ERA, no pitcher posted double digit wins, and only 6 had more wins than losses.
Columnist-The Guardian Express