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November 21, 2017

I had an NL Manager of the Year ballot this year, and voted for Bud Black to win it. Fellow NL West skipper Torey Lovullo took home the hardware, but Colorado’s 2017 performance shouldn’t be undersold. The Rockies not only made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They did so on the strength of their pitching, defying the ghosts of Coors Field by finishing seventh in the majors in park-adjusted ERA. Black, the former longtime pitching coach, deftly handled a passel of rookie starters.

Replicating that stingy run prevention will require more work. The team’s top two relievers, Greg Holland and Jake McGee, are free agents who might seek employment in cities that don’t sit a mile above sea level. As for the starting pitching, an optimist would argue that young hands like Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez, and Jeff Hoffman will only improve with experience; but a realist might wonder if the Rox can squeeze as much as they did out of their rotation two years in a row. Expect choosy GM Jeff Bridich to go after talented bargain arms again this winter, in an effort to match the effectiveness of Holland and other past low-cost pickups.

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