- Rookie centrefielder Dexter Fowler (pictured) will make Rockies fans forget Juan Pierre and Willy Taveras.
- First baseman Todd Helton had disk surgery in the off-season and was tearing off the cover off the ball during spring training. It's safe to assume he'll bat about .463 this season, then?
- Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann would be a good pickup in a trade; he gets his fair share of ground balls, always a good thing at Coors Field.
- It's arguable Huston Street got miscast as a major-league closer because he did it in college at the University of Texas. America has quite enough problems caused by legacy picks from Texas.
- If you own a previously driven car, start calling it a Brad Hawpe: Reasonably priced, dependable and doesn't lose value on the road (only 20 points' difference in OPS, which is rare for a Rockies hitter).
- Oh-nine should mark the first time shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Chris Iannetta both play at an all-star level. Tulowitzski was set back with injuries while Iannetta is among the majors' most improved players. Colorado will always have something so long as they have that pair.
- Lefty Franklin Morales is poised for big things, maybe not until 2010, since he'll be turning 24 on Jan. 24. That makes it his lucky year.
- They had one of the all-time evenouts in 2008: Swept Arizona in the '07 playoffs, then went 3-15 vs. the Diamondbacks the following season.
- They must never be allowed to forget they traded Greg Reynolds (14 home runs allowed in 62 innings last season) ahead of Evan Longoria in the 2006 draft. It is Denver's version of Tulo-gate.
- Ubaldo Jimenez, in the
- Reynolds only struck out 22 in 62 innings last season, while Arizona's Mark Reynolds struck out 204 times. So what happens when they face each other?
- Taylor Buchholz is an effective seventh- and eighth-inning reliever, but that .225 BABIP should raise eyebrows, since it's hard to stay that hit-lucky.
- Manager Clint Hurdle is in the final season of his contract. Back-to-back losing seasons in the wake of a pennant in 2007 does not job security make. Baseball Prospectus 2009 calls him on of the "buntiest" managers in MLB.
- He never played for the Rockies, but Luis Medina might still be the source of bitterness. He won the Triple-A home run title in 1988 with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, then got a September call-up to Cleveland and slammed six homers in 51 at-bats, which mean all sorts of 12- and 13-year-olds were snapping up his rookie card.
If only someone had been there to explain about park effects, or that someone who didn't get to the majors until he was 26 really wasn't a serious prospect. Medina hit only four homers the rest of his career. He works for the Royals now, according to his Wiki.
- Canadian left-hander Jeff Francis won't pitch this season. Obviously, one hopes he gets back and doesn't become the next Jason Dickson (another Canuck chucker who blossomed early, developed arm troubles and soon vanished).
Francis' alma mater, the University of British Columbia, has a nice new baseball field.
- The most popular athlete in Denver is probably the potential replacement for the replacement for Jay Cutler on the Broncos. That has nothing to do with the Rockies, but a Vikings fan has to have an outlet for unleash anger over Cutler ending up on the Chicago Bears.
- The Beep says third baseman Garrett Atkins (.286/.328/.452 last season, with sketchy fielding at third base) "fills a gap ... but you are always looking for something better, like the girlfriend you had a few years ago." Don't worry, only a total twitbag would find that sexist and inappropriate (why are unflatting comparisons to women always a go-to in sportswriting?).
- Toronto fans probably never heard about this, but the Jays could have drafted Troy Tulowitzki in 2005 instead of left-hander Ricky Romero.
- The team's best prospect outside of Fowler, right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, has five pitches. If he learns one more, his catcher will have to take off his glove to put down the sign.
- The best leadoff man who's not in the Hall of Fame, Tim Raines, played in Denver with the Triple-A Bears in 1980, when he was 20. He led the American Association in hitting (.354) and stolen bases (77, a league record; he would have had more except the Expos called him up for three weeks in the middle of the season).
- The late Warren Zevon's Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead will be a required listen for Rockies fans around mid-July.
- Larry Walker for the Hall of Fame induces some squeamishness. He was more than just a heavy-hitting corner outfielder, since he was a first-rate defender and a good baserunner. He also hit .348/.431/.637 at home, compared to .295/.370/.495 on the road. It would really take more research to establish if he was a Coors Field creation, but Hall of Fame voters will have a tough time sifting through the stats of Arena Baseball-era players.
- People would support a constitutional amendment that would prevent any opposing team's announcer from mentioning that Todd Helton played quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers at the same time as Peyton Manning. It's in the press notes. You have to fill time. We get it.
- Iannetta would be backup catcher on the all-time team of major leaguers from Rhode Island behind Gabby Hartnett, the 1930s Chicago Cubs catcher. Wait, this isn't Batter's Box.
- The Rockies' Double-A team is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There will never be a better time to proudly note that the Tulsa University rowing team's recruiting class includes Meredith Papps from Ernestown Secondary School in Odessa, Ontario (my mom taught her!),
The press release from Tulsa says ESS is in Bath. That's good enough for Oklahoma.
West Notes: Diamondbacks, Angels, Rockies
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