The Colorado Rockies are supposed to have one of the best lineups in all of baseball. If you just look at runs scored and discount their road struggles and the fact that they have been held to one run 11 separate times, you will in fact find that the Rockies boast one of the top offenses in all of baseball.
One of the primary reasons for this success is the fact that the Rockies have a deep lineup. When everything is going right, you could have a thumper like Wilin Rosario batting sixth and a dangerous hitter like Nolan Arenado batting seventh.
That’s when everything is going right; as we know by now, injuries have derailed those plans everywhere. Arenado is out. Michael Cuddyer is out. Carlos Gonzalez is out. Just like that, the Rockies find themselves batting Justin Morneau third and the following killer’s row in the 6-8 spots of the lineup.
And you wonder why the Rockies only had four hits last night.
On most nights, and pending good health, Wilin Rosario will catch and bat in either the 5th of 6th spot in the order. Which brings me to the point here:
The Rockies need Wilin Rosario.
This team charged out to a hot start offensively in spite of serious offensive struggles from “the Bull.” Through 41 games, Rosario is batting .236/.277/.680. His OPS+ is 75. His wRC+ is 70.
Rosario is atrocious defensively; the trade-off for those troubles is supposed to be elite offense from the catcher position. Through his first two seasons behind the plate Rosario has provided just that: he slugged 28 home runs in 2012 and 21 last year. He had a 109 wRC+ in 2012 and a 107 wRC+ in 2013.
The Rockies got by for a while with minimal production from Rosario. Now, with injuries to three of the guys who keyed that hot start at various points, Rosario needs to earn his keep in the middle of the order.
Not that we should be thinking a lot about the Rockies as a winning baseball team right now, but you can still produce perfectly fine, big league numbers on offense with something like this lineup:
It might not be nearly as exciting to look at, but that lineup can score enough runs for a normal team. With their disastrous mess of a bullpen, the Rockies are not a normal team at the moment, but that’s another issue. Much of the pressure to make things work offensively falls on Dickerson and Rosario. Dickerson has done his part thus far, including a home run on Monday night.
If the Rockies are going to snap out of their losing ways and find a way to hover around .500, they need Rosario to start thumping in the middle of their lineup. If he does, the drop-off in overall offense can be minimal. But if he doesn’t, this lineup is much less intimidating and, quite frankly, a bit depressing.
See if Rosario can bounce back by seeing him live against the Atlanta Braves this week.