2006-01-20T16:51:18.823-08:00Baseball with an Altitude (BWA) is moving to Word Press (another blogging site) because it allows anyone and everyone to comment after posts. You don't have to be a registered user to comment like you do on this site.
2006-01-15T19:02:36.763-08:00"I would never use it as an excuse."
2006-01-16T07:22:17.200-08:00If it were up to me, I'd put the Over/Under on the Rockies 2006 win total at 73. Why? Well, I believe that the Rox will be somewhat better than last year. The only question is - how much better?Three reasons why the Rockies WILL win more than 73 games:1. He's tall, has red hair, and only 23 ribs in his chest. His name? Aaron Cook. It was amazing that Cook made it back to the mound in 2005 after surviving life-threatening blood clots in late 2004. Even more amazing was the way in which he pitched once he returned. It was as if he hadn't missed a beat from the end of his 2004 season. Cookie made 13 starts, went the distance in two of them (most by any Rockies pitcher since 2001), and had a solid ERA of 3.67. Take out his first start back in a little less than a year (rocked at Coors vs. Philadelphia), and that number drops to 3.07. Armed with a nasty sinker and pinpoint control, Cook has the ability to win 15+. The big question whether or not he can last 200 innings over the grind of a full season. All things accounted for, Cook looks like he may finally live up to his staff ace expectation in 2006.2. Allan Simpson. Ryan Speier. Scott Dohmann. Javier Lopez. What do those names have in common? At the beginning of last season, they were responsible for one of the poorest excuses for a bullpen that I have ever seen. Now, Simpson and Lopez are gone, and Speier and Dohmann have become different pitchers after a mid-season stint in the minors. Thanks to an offseason focused on shoring up the pen, the bullpen will be solid and deep. Fuentes has developed into one of the best closers in the National League. DeJean showed last year that he should have never left Colorado. Despite the fact that O'Dowd overpaid for the services of the legendary Jose Mesa (by day), aka Señor Smoke (by night), Mesa should still provide at least a veteran presence and hopefully some spot-free setup innings for Fuentes. Ray King is a good bet to bounce back from a rough 2005. Speier, Dohmann, and David Cortes all came around at the end of the year and showed promise. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the bullpen has more depth than we've seen in several years. Jose Acevedo, Sunny Kim (or Zach Day, depending upon who wins the 5th rotation spot), Jaime Cerda, Randy Williams, Ryan Speier, Chin-hui Tsao (eventually), Manuel Corpas, Bret Prinz, just to name a few, are waiting in the wings should a vacancy appear.3. Another year of development for Garrett Atkins, Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, Cory Sullivan, Luis A. Gonzalez, Clint Barmes, and Ryan Shealy will probably lead to an improvement over last year's poor offense. With their first full year in the bigs out of the way, this core group of players should start to play with more consistency - that is, if the 2005 rookies can avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.Three reasons why the Rockies WILL NOT win more than 73 games:1. Sophomore slumps. They inevitably happen. It would be shocking to see all of the 2005 rookies avoid falling victim to this phenomenon. While some will most likely improve upon their numbers, there are a few that I think will struggle to match their 2005 production - most notably Clint Barmes. He started off blistering hot in April only to find himself on the 60 day DL a month later (curse those slow elevators). When he came back from the DL, Barmes was flat out awful. His .216/.256/.288 line after the All-Star Break was less than encouraging, as was his .636 OPS away from the friendly expanses of Coors. While he is undoubtedly better than his post All-Star numbers, I just don't know how much. I don't think it's likely that we'll ever see Clint Barmes play the way he did in April again.2. Starting pitching depth and the lack thereof. The Rockies currently have only six starting pitchers that are worthy of making the starting rotation: Cook, Jennings, Francis, B. Kim, S. Kim, and Day. Last year saw several starters either injured, demoted, or traded, and 2006 might not be much different. The Rockies lack of veteran starters ready to s[...]
2006-01-10T13:58:00.260-08:00The year we've all been waiting for is finally here. Seems like just yesterday we were being told that once 2006 rolls around and all those deadweight contracts are off the books, our beloved Rockies would finally begin to compete. Well, Charles Johnson ($9 million salary in 2005), Preston Wilson ($12 million), and Denny Neagle ($12 million) are all gone. CJ's somewhere around Tampa trying to remember how to block the plate, Preston is suiting up for the Astros, and Denny is probably wondering how he went from $51 million room service to "lookin' for a good time?" service to a boatload of community service. Well, 2006 is here but the Rockies are still not where us diehard fans would like them to be. And we sure haven't been seeing that windfall of spending money we were expecting from the owners.