The 2011 baseball season was an up and down roller coaster ride for fans of the Colorado Rockies. After a long 6-month season, Colorado finished 73-89 and 4th place in the N.L. West. Though it was disappointing for some fans, there are many reasons for optimism going forward.
Three reasons for optimism for 2012:
- Colorado has the best shortstop in the league in Troy Tulowitzki. At 27 years old, Tulowitzki is just entering the prime of his career. In 2011, Tulowitzki batted .302 with 30 HRs and 105 RBI. More importantly, he is the clear leader of the club. He was always first to put the onus on himself to be better for the team to be successful. You want to have your star player crave success and despise failure. He will always be able to keep the rest of the players on track by his example and leadership.
- Carlos Gonzalez looks to be quite the steal in the Matt Holiday trade back in 2009. The Oakland Athletics gave up on the young outfielder, but he has flourished the past two seasons in Colorado. After a fantastic 2010 campaign that included a .336 average with 34 HRs and 117 RBI, Gonzalez had a solid 2011 season. Gonzalez batted .295 with 26 HRs and 92 RBI in 100 less at-bats. The impressive batting statistics do not illustrate the value he brings to the Rockies. He is a great fielder as well and will only be 26 heading into the 2012 baseball season. Even though Gonzalez spent the majority of the second half of the season injured with wrist and forearm problems, he was still able to produce when he was on the field. Tulowitzki and Gonzalez make for a dangerous one-two punch going forward for Colorado.
- Finally, Colorado was a little weak in pitching this past season. A reason fans should be optimistic for next season is because the Ubaldo Jimenez trade in July brought back two solid starters for the Rockies. Though Alex White struggled for the Rockies after the trade, he is still only 23 years old. After a full off-season of preparation and maturity, White can improve on his 2011 season with a better 2012 campaign. The other pitcher in the Jimenez deal was Drew Pomeranz. He was able to make four starts in September for Colorado. Three of those four starts were solid, with one being an awful, throw-away start that you can sometimes expect from rookies. Pomeranz is still very young (he’ll be 23 next season) and raw. With some coaching and increased big league experience, Pomeranz could shine in the years to come for the Rockies.
Injuries and under-performance played a big role in the disappointing season for the Colorado Rockies. But, because of those injuries and lack of performance, younger players were able to get some time in at the major league level in September. Jordan Pacheco played at first base and third base and was hitting 3rd down the stretch and still played well. He ended the year with a .286 batting average and 14 RBI in only 21 games.
Another solid contributor for Colorado was Catcher Wilin Rosario. Prior to his call-up, he had represented the Rockies organization two straight years in the Futures Game (which is held during the All-Star break to highlight the best of what is to come for Major League Baseball). His batting statistics were not overly impressive, but his promise is. He stands to have a shot at being the starting catcher next season if he has a solid Spring Training. If not, the organization will likely send him down to AAA so he can play every day and eventually call him up when they are ready for him to take over fulltime.
Colorado finished the season with some solid batting statistics but lacked in the pitching department. Here are the final statistics (out of 32 teams):
Runs – 735 = 7th in ML
Batting Average – .258 = 9th in ML
On Base Percentage – .329 = 7th in ML
Slugging Percentage – .410 – 11th in ML
ERA – 4.43 = 26th in ML
Quality Starts – 71 = 28th in ML
WHIP – 1.38 = 23rd in ML
Batting Average Against – .265 = 25th in ML
Clearly the Rockies will need to get their pitching ranks closer to their batting ranks to get the team back to where they expect to be. It will be interesting to see the moves the organization makes in the off-season to help make that goal a reality.
About the Author
Written by Steve Folsom
Sports has always been my passion in life. I enjoy all sports but baseball is by far my favorite. I bring an analytical perspective to my sports consumption. Follow me on Twitter @Steven_Folsom.