1. The Rockies are for real
Many viewed the Colorado Rockies as a one-hit wonder after the club came out of nowhere in September of the 2007 campaign to begin an improbable run to the World Series. In the previous 14 years of the franchise, Colorado had never won more than 83 games in a single-season. The 2008 Rockies promptly regressed back to a 74-88 record. However, Colorado was able to return to the postseason in 2009. With two playoff trips in the last three years, the Rockies have some credibility to work with heading into 2010.
2. Dodgers dysfunction
Colorado’s easiest path to the World Series is by winning the 2010 NL West title. While the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the last two NL West crowns, the franchise and team have some issues to deal with heading into this year. The owners of the club are involved in a messy divorce proceeding. Because of this, the finances of the team have been restrained during the winter and spring heading into 2010. The Dodgers failed to re-sign veteran left-hander Randy Wolf. This has left the rotation a little thin heading into this year. Also, Manny Ramirez is heading into a free agent year. He proved to be a major distraction in Boston two years ago under similar circumstances.
3. Jim Tracy
While the Rockies won the pennant in 2007 under manager Clint Hurdle, he struggled to keep Colorado’s momentum going forward. After 2008′s struggles, the Rockies started slowly again last season. With an 18-28 record after 46 games, Colorado axed Hurdle. He was replaced by veteran MLB skipper Jim Tracy. His style was a little more detailed than Hurdle’s laid-back approach. The Rockies caught fire to post a 74-42 record the rest of the way. Tracy should be able to keep Colorado’s focus on the right track in his first full season as manager of the squad.
4. Offensive thunder
Colorado’s offensive depth puts constant pressure on opposing pitching staffs. Half of the club’s everyday lineup had 23 or more homers a year ago. In addition, longtime franchise player Todd Helton (15 HR’s, 86 RBI’s, .325 AVG. in 2009) is still a big threat in the middle of the lineup to compliment the talented younger bats. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has emerged in recent seasons to become one of the top young players in all of baseball. He clubbed 32 homers in 2009 while driving in 92 runs.
5. The return of Jeff Francis
The Rockies managed to reach the postseason a year ago despite the absence of one of its top hurlers. A shoulder injury kept lefty Jeff Francis on the shelf for the entire 2009 campaign. He is healthy heading into 2010. From 2005-07, Francis averaged 15 wins per year for the club. At 29, he should have many good years ahead of him. With his return, a solid, young rotation should be able to compliment the club’s talented offense.
Let us know what you think of the 2010 Colorado Rockies and if you agree or disagree that they will win the N.L. Pennant, by submitting your comments below.