How the Rockies can climb out of a dismal era

Alec Grimes

Last season, the Colorado Rockies finished with a 68-94 record, the worst in the National League West. They are predicted to struggle yet again, being listed as a 200-1 long-shot to win the World Series, the second-highest odds of all of the MLB teams. Contrary to recent results, the Rockies do have the capability to improve, but they must first work on a handful of things this season.

Begin rebuilding

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Last season, the Rockies completed a blockbuster trade that involved all-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The move looked to be the beginning of a rebuilding stage but then a $22 million price tag came along with newly-acquired Jose Reyes as part of the trade. The Rockies have also talked about trading another all-star in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies have held onto Gonzalez and other big trade pieces, which begs the question of whether the Rockies are really trying to rebuild or are instead trying to contend. Since they are stuck somewhere in-between the two, they have continually struggled over the past few years. The Rockies will have to build around existing young talent, specifically Nolan Arenado, this season in order to bounce back in the next few seasons.

Find consistent pitching

Pitching has been the biggest downfall of the Rockies throughout franchise history, in part because of the mile-high air in which they play.  This being said, the Rockies have been able to contend in the past, despite their less-than-stellar pitching. In 2007, the last time the Rockies made an appearance in the World Series, their team ERA was a mediocre 4.32. Last year, the Rockies were the only team with an ERA over 5.0 (5.04). The Rockies do not need to go out and sign big-name pitchers to multimillion-dollar deals in order to make a slight cut to their ERA. The Rockies should instead focus on developing some of their young arms in pitching prospects Jon Gray and Jeff Hoffman, who are both in the top 100 MLB prospects. The Rockies also need to reduce the turnover of their pitchers as Jorge De La Rosa is the only current Rockies starting pitcher that has been on the team for more than five years. If the Rockies can develop consistent pitching throughout the organization, they will be able to once again compete with some of the top teams in the league.

Value young talent

Recently, the Rockies have been concerned with signing veterans on the decline. The most recent deals include outfielder Gerardo Parra for three years at $27 million and first-baseman Mark Reynolds for one year at $2.6 million. This season, the Rockies’ farm system is ranked fourth in the MLB. Their system has six top-100 MLB prospects including the two pitchers mentioned previously.  The Rockies have discovered another young talent in MLB rookie Trevor Story, who was recently named the opening-day starter after a very impressive spring training stint. If the Rockies can continue to utilize their farm system to develop and discover new young talent, they will be able to save money from veteran signings.

The Rockies will more than likely be among the league’s worst teams this season, but fans should not give up yet. There is hope for success in the upcoming seasons as the Rockies have an abundance of young talent and will be able to rebuild into a future contender.

Collegian Sports Reporter Alec Grimes can be reached at sports@collegian.com.