Aug 6, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (5) rounds second on his way to score in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Questions In The Outfield
Much like the infield, the outfield is arguably among the strongest in baseball – when healthy. Carlos Gonzalez is a Gold Glove winner, former NL batting champion, All Star, and key cog in the Rockies lineup with one of the most beautiful swings in the game. He, like Tulowitzki, has had trouble staying on the field recently, so if he is injured for another long stretch in 2015, the outfield’s quality is diminished immediately. He’ll play right field, predominantly.
In center field, Charlie Blackmon is fresh off an All Star appearance thanks to a hot start in 2014, and while he slowed down a bit in the second half last year, he proved himself to be a capable and consistent everyday outfielder, leading the Rockies in games played and plate appearances. Look for him to again get the majority of time in center field as his left-handed bat will likely lead off for the Rockies all season.
In left field, Corey Dickerson is coming off his own breakout campaign that saw him fall just short of winning the NL Batting Title (losing out to Morneau, Dickerson finished a few points behind the lead as well as a handful of plate appearances short of qualifying). If he can continue his breakout in 2015 and develop into the hitter the Rockies and those who watch the club believe he is becoming, he’ll be a force.
In backup roles, Drew Stubbs begins the year with the club after having a career year in 2014, but a very poor Spring Training where he struck out way, way too much. Which Stubbs will the Rockies see over the summer? Or is the point moot if they can trade him for pitching, or another piece of the puzzle? Behind Stubbs, Brandon Barnes figures to see time in the bigs this summer even though he’s started the year in AAA, and Kyle Parker will be up at some point, as well, as he continues his development with the club.
Assuming health (which is… not a safe assumption), you have to give this group an A, as well. If only the pitching were as good as the lineup!
Next: The Bullpen