Cactus League Final: Rockies defeat Royals behind offensive outburst, Juan Nicasio


Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

In Spring Training you look for glimpses of hope, signs of good things to come. All of this is done in a context where we remind ourselves not to overreact. We remind ourselves that these games, in fact, do not matter and their results are often misleading.

Just because we aren’t supposed to overreact doesn’t mean we cannot be happy about the results, however. So when the Colorado Rockies score 10 runs and Juan Nicasio throws four scoreless innings, that is pretty much as good as it gets. That’s what happened on Sunday as the Rockies defeated the Kansas City Royals 10-1 in Cactus League action.

Notable lines from the box score

  • Nicasio: 4 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Tyler Chatwood: 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K

It took Nicasio 49 pitches (31 strikes) to get through four innings. Another measure of efficiency would be nice, but these are good signs from him as he tries to fend off Jordan Lyles and Franklin Morales for the final spot in the starting rotation. Nicasio was especially happy with his slider:

"I was working on my fastball down in the zone and my slider. They were really good today because I threw many breaking balls down in the zone.”"

The need for Nicasio to develop a third pitch might be overblown if he locates his fastball and slider down in the zone. That’s a dangerous way to live, but if Nicasio finds success that way on even a semi-consistent basis it gives the Rockies an edge over what most teams get from their 5th starter. As for Chatwood, we just need to see him come out on the other side of the spring healthy. If he pitches well en route to that end then it’s just gravy.

Parker is not in the plans this season. Something really drastic would have to happen for that to change given the fact that his two positions, 1B and RF, are blocked by roughly 15 MLB capable Rockies (OK, so it’s more like three or four, but that’s still a lot). Looking forward to next year and beyond, Parker is a key, key player for the Rockies.

One can hardly overstate what a boon it would be for this franchise if he would successfully transition to first base and hit for power from that spot for seasons to come.

Dickerson will have to hit like heck this spring to overcome his defensive deficiencies and win the center field job. He is off to a hot start, but there’s lots of baseball to go.

The Rockies are back on the field for Cactus League action Monday against the San Diego Padres.