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The Final Score: February

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The Rockies may be on the Rebound

This might sound crazy or biased but the Rockies have a chance to finish with a winning record in 2017. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am a diehard Rockies fan. I even mentioned this in the debut article of The Final Score back in August 2015. But, team allegiances aside, I think the Rockies might actually have a chance this year. I aim to prove this to you as impartially as possible.

To start, the Rockies lineup is better than ever. With Carlos Gonzalez, David Dahl, and Charlie Blackmon in the outfield; Ian Desmond at first base, DJ LeMahieu at second, Trevor Story at shortstop, Nolan Arenado at third, and Tony Wolters at catcher, the lineup is stacked with a combination of power hitters and hitters with high on base percentage. Most would say that this lineup is “over valued” due to the Coors Field effect, and that may be a valid point, but the bottom line is that the Rockies had a losing winning percentage at home last year. Sure, many home runs leave Coors Field that would be pop flies in other parks, but the “Coors Field effect” hurts Colorado’s home pitching as much as-if not more than- it helps the offense. Thus, the effects of high altitude balance out in terms of winning percentage.

The Rockies might have the team’s best starting rotation in over a decade. With Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, Chad Bettis, and Jeff Hoffman, the rotation looks to be average or above average. This team of young arms made progress last year, and barring injuries or “sophomore slumps,” figures to be better this season.

The bullpen, a mess last season, also looks improved. The signings of Greg Holland and Mike Dunn bring excellent relievers back to the pen. With Greg Holland as closer, Ottavino as the 8th inning guy, Mike Dunn and Carlos Estevez as set-up men, and Chris Rusin as long reliever, the bullpen is bound to improve. Jason Motte and Chad Qualls also had an entire offseason to recover from injuries and illnesses, and look to be better in 2017.

The final X-Factor is Bud Black. I defended Walt Weiss him for many years, thinking he would improve as he gained experience. But, I was wrong. He is a great guy and was a good shortstop for the Rockies and A’s in the 90’s, but it was time for a managerial change. Although Bud Black never had an extremely successful Padres team, he effectively developed pitching and young prospects in his tenure as manager. This depth of experience will work well on the Rockies, where a young lineup and rotation needs the wisdom of an seasoned manager.

Combining a new coaching staff, improved lineup, better bullpen, and a starting rotation on the rise, the Rockies figure to be successful. I think they can pass the .500 mark. I am biased, but  look up the facts yourself, and I think you’ll agree with me.

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The student news site of Palmer Ridge High School
The Final Score: February