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Colorado Rockies set for 2015 campaign

David Martin Avatar
April 6, 2015

The long wait is over.

Even for Colorado Rockies fans, who have suffered some rough seasons in recent years, Opening Day represents a reason to get excited. Maybe it means that the long winter is finally over. Maybe it is the idea that a new season represents a new hope.

Even hardcore Rockies fans are hard pressed to exude too much optimism. For all intents and purposes, the Rockies 2015 campaign is one that will give fans an idea of whether or not the franchise is on the right track for success in the future. Only if things go absolutely perfect will the Rockies have a serious shot at contention.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Rockies shouldn’t be interesting or fun to watch. In fact, even if the Rockies don’t have too much hope for the postseason in 2015, this Rockies team might be one of the more intriguing teams that the organization has fielded in several years.As always, the Rockies pitching is suspect. The rag-tag group is anchored by Jorge De La Rosa, who has proven to be a phenomenal pitcher, however, no one knows when he will make his 2015 debut, as he fights a nagging groin injury that essentially sidelined him throughout the spring.

Beyond De La Rosa, the Rockies rotation is essentially full of question marks. Tyler Matzek, the team’s former first round draft pick, looked like he was ready to show why the club invested so much into him back in 2009. However, questions remain for the lefty. He struggled throughout his minor league career and at points looked like he might not ever make it to the big leagues. His command issues remain a factor, but he has the talent to be a solid contributor. The question mark remains, is Matzek going to be a good Major League pitcher, or is he a guy who may have been a flash in the pan?

Kyle Kendrick came over from the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent. For a starting pitcher to choose the Rockies in free agency immediately raises question marks about the pitcher’s sanity, however, his ground ball acumen and his ability to get outs might make him similar to Jason Marquis, who came to the Rockies via trade in 2009 and helped lead the Rockies to the playoffs with his early work. If Kendrick can be more like Marquis than other starters who the Rockies have acquired, like Jeremy Guthrie, the Rockies could be in good shape.

The other huge question marks will be the young studs. Rockies fans have heard non-stop excitement about Jon Gray and Eddie Butler. With just a few starts in the big leagues, Butler showed why his stuff was causing so much excitement. However, it wasn’t enough to convince anyone that he was truly ready for the big leagues. His spring training looked great until he came down with a dreaded shoulder injury. The Rockies don’t believe that he needs to go on the disabled list, but shoulder injuries for pitchers are a common story that don’t generally have a happy ending.

Gray represents the Rockies greatest hope for the future. The first round pick from 2013 had a spring training that proved he is either ready now, or he never will be. However, due to collective bargaining issues, the Rockies were essentially forced to start the young star in the minor leagues, just to ensure that they maintain an extra year of team control before the starter can hit the free agent market.

Everyone knows the Rockies abilities at the plate. It isn’t hard to see why the Rockies will strike fear into opposing pitchers’ mind’s all season long. However, the team will go as their starting pitchers go.

As the Rockies take the field in Milwaukee, fans also get a chance to see who Walt Weiss is as a manager. As reports continue to surface, the reality of how little Weiss got to manage has become apparent. Bill Geivett and Dan O’Dowd were clearly holding the reins on the on-field decisions. Geivett was named by Ken Rosenthal as the greatest micro-manager.

The biggest source of excitement for Rockies fans should come in the form of a new management group. The team is no longer under the thumb of O’Dowd, who clearly overthought the altitude issues and instead of playing fundamental baseball, used the challenges of winning at Coors Field as an excuse. The new regime, headed up by Jeff Bridich, seems to have a winning mentality, one void of excuse-making.

The Rockies begin the marathon that is a Major League Baseball season on Monday. They are 0-0. They have a chance to inspire some excitement in their fan base. If they can come out strong, they will certainly have their believers.

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