In the early stages of a baseball season that often seems to drag on forever, one of the biggest surprises is the success of the Colorado Rockies.
As of Friday, the Rockies were sitting atop the National League West with a 32-18 record and had just pummeled the St. Louis Cardinals 10-0.
Denver’s professional baseball team has engineered a miraculous turnaround and there is guarded optimism that the 2017 season may not be like so many others in recent history.
It seems that a change in managers has worked wonders for the team. Former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss who ended up coming back to lead the team is out after reported conflicts with GM Jeff Bridich over the dismal status of the relief pitching staff.
The Rockies then hired former San Diego Padres manager and pitching guru Bud Black to replace Weiss.
Black has worked wonders with the pitching staff which is one of the primary reasons for Colorado’s amazing start. The additions of relievers Mike Dunn and Greg Holland as well as the return to health of Adam Ottavino has been the equivalent of Popeye’s spinach for the bullpen.
The best acquisition is that of Holland, a former All Star closer with the Kansas City Royals who blew out his arm and missed all of 2016. Holland has returned to form and has been dominant with 19 saves, he leads the league in that category.
— Denver Post Sports (@DPostSports) May 28, 2017
In addition to the newly potent bullpen, Black’s magic has extended to the starting staff which despite the injuries of two key pitchers has been the strength of a team normally known for offense and winning shootouts which hasn’t worked well since the days of the Blake Street Bombers.
As for the non-pitchers, the Rox have developed some excellent position players over the past few years.
Third baseman Nolan Arenado is a stud who hits for average, has 40 + home run potential and plays Gold Glove defense.
Second baseman D.J. Lemahieu is an Ian Kinsler/Craig Biggio type who hits for average and plays good defense and outfielder Charlie Blackmon has become a stellar leadoff hitter with power – he also sports a helluva beard.
Despite outfield slugger Carlos Gonzalez’s early season struggles, the Rockies are getting solid contributions from first baseman Mark Reynolds, outfielder Gerardo Parra and free agent signee Ian Desmond.
While it is still extremely early and there will likely be many home run derbies in the rarefied air of Coors Field as the season progresses, fans have to be encouraged by what they are seeing.
The Rockies have never won a division title in their history but managed to go to the World Series back in 2007 where they were wiped out by the mighty Boston Redsox 4 games to 0.
While it’s hard to predict whether these Rockies are championship material, a serious run at the division title isn’t out of the question.