Enemy Lines

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE ROCKIES

The rotation is their biggest problem; there are too many question marks.... Jorge De La Rosa is the key to the staff. He's had poor command this spring, and it doesn't look like he's confident snapping off his breaking stuff.... Juan Nicasio has the biggest arm in the rotation: He's throwing 94--95 with comfort and hits 97 in every outing. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but he struggled with it this spring and doesn't have much feel for a changeup, which hurts him against lefties. He might fit better in the bullpen.... Drew Pomeranz has the highest ceiling in the group, but he needs to keep his delivery in sync.... The bullpen is a strength: Wilton Lopez, the righty they got from Houston, will fit right in with power arms Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers.... Dexter Fowler shortened his swing a lot last year, especially from the left side. He's getting better in all phases of the game.... They're concerned about Wilin Rosario as a defensive catcher—he's definitely there for his bat. He's a good athlete with plenty of arm, and he's doing a better job blocking balls. But as a receiver he takes more pitches out of the strike zone than he puts in. That staff needs all the help it can get. I'm not sure he's ready to give it to them.... Third base prospect Nolan Arenado has big offensive upside. He won the Arizona Fall League batting title and was a machine staying inside the ball and driving it to right center. That got away from him last year, and he got pull-happy and expanded his zone.

The Lineup

2013 Projected Statistics

MANAGER WALT WEISS

First season with the Rockies

[originallink:10890431:1010898]

ROTATION W ERA WHIP K/9
RH JHOULYS CHACIN 9 4.03 1.44 7.1
LH JORGE DE LA ROSA 11 4.35 1.40 7.7
RH JUAN NICASIO 6 4.25 1.34 8.3
LH JEFF FRANCIS 6 5.05 1.43 5.5
LH DREW POMERANZ 6 4.42 1.42 7.8
BULLPEN SV ERA WHIP K/9
RH RAFAEL BETANCOURT 29 2.95 1.02 10.0
RH MATT BELISLE 2 3.42 1.29 7.7

LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM

The K Meter

Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank

BY HITTERS | 19.6% | 13TH

BY PITCHERS | 17.9% | 28TH

Best Case

The healthy return of three starters (Chacin, De La Rosa and Nicasio), plus Tulowitzki and Cuddyer, means a .500 finish.

Worst Case

Tulo, CarGo & Co. slug, but the Rockies' poor run prevention sinks them to the bottom of the NL West—again.

Joe Lemire has more on the Rockies at SI.com/mlb

Modest Proposal

Chances are good that the Rockies will finish last in the NL West, thanks to one of the worst pitching staffs in the league at any altitude. To give his team a puncher's chance, rookie manager Walt Weiss should take a peek at his ring finger and remember how he earned that jewelry. The 1989 A's, for whom Weiss was a second-year shortstop, finished fourth in the league in runs scored while playing in a pitchers' park, and they did it without throwing away outs on bunting. The A's laid down just 36 sacrifice bunts, a bit more than one a week, one of the lowest totals in the AL that year. Weiss's Rockies are going to have to win games 8--7 and 10--8, and to do that they can't trade single outs for single bases outside of very specific late-inning situations. Under Jim Tracy in 2012, Rockies position players were second in the NL with 33 sacrifices. That's a ridiculous figure for a team playing in a park in which the league hit .306/.366/.501. Weiss needs to play for big innings and not give away outs; he won't win another ring that way, but it might get his team out of the cellar.

PHOTODOUG PENSINGER/GETTY IMAGES (FOWLER)Dexter Fowler PHOTOMARK GOLDMAN/ICON SMI (BUNT)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)