The Colorado Rockies will enter Spring Training with a lot of moving parts when it comes to their starting lineup.
Start with the outfield, where Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon, and Drew Stubbs will all be competing for playing time in left field. They are not necessarily competing for “the spot,” as it will likely be a platoon, but if one of them takes off that could change.
First base is still fluid. Yes, the team signed Justin Morneau, but he has a lot of work to do if he is going to play against both right-handed and left-handed pitching.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post recently gave the following projected lineup (which is subject to change, of course, as it is with most anything baseball related in January).
He then noted that it would be different against left-handed pitching.
With respect to Renck, who is a star beat writer and is probably right that the lineup will look like this, here is my reaction to that.
With no regard for platoons (for now, but that topic is unavoidable with this team), here is my lineup that I wish would happen.
1. Carlos Gonzalez – CF
2. Troy Tulowitzki – SS
3. Nolan Arenado – 3B
4. Wilin Rosario – C
5. Corey Dickerson – LF
6. Michael Cuddyer – RF
7. Justin Morneau – 1B
8. DJ LeMahieu – 2B
Bear in mind this particular projected lineup comes from fantasy land, but here are some tidbits on what I’m thinking:
- The Rockies cannot possibly hope to contend by doing the same old things and following the same old conventional wisdom. They are simply over-matched in this division. A bold move like batting CarGo and Tulo first and second, thereby maximizing the number of at-bats for your two best players, is the kind of thing they need to consider.
- I wrote in Arenado 3rd and Rosario 4th based on the jumps in production I am hoping to see from each. The arrows for those two young hitters are pointing up, and I think they will both be better than Cuddyer and Morneau this season. It’s not even a slight to those two veteran guys; it’s more about what I hope we see from two of the organization’s top young players.
- Dickerson is there because he mashes the ball and I think he will make it hard for the Rockies to leave him out of the lineup this season. It leaves the outfield defense a bit suspect, but I want him 5th as the other young hitter who breaks out (in addition to Arenado).
- Why is Morneau still in at first? It’s an opinion totally shaded by my fandom. Having lived in Minnesota for his glory days, I just plain like him so I am more willing to believe he has another splashy season in him.
This lineup is not perfect, and some of the unconventional shifts would potentially go bust. Still, I see this construction of things or something like it having far more upside than anything the Rockies will trot out this year, especially if guys like Arenado and Dickerson take big steps forward.
In this case it’s nothing more than a fun exercise, but I genuinely hope the Rockies look to make some bold moves to try and gain an edge in 2014.