The Future Is Bright-ish in Colorado


2015 is over, but it’s nice to think about what 2016 could be in Colorado.

I attended my last Rockies game of the 2015 season last night, and with absolutely nothing left on the line, I was mostly there to get a glimpse of the future. I wondered all night if this was the last time I’d hear The Outfield croon “Your Love” as Charlie Blackmon came to the plate, or watch Wilin Rosario chase after a baserunner without throwing him out.

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There are some guys I’m quite sure I will see in the Rockies’ future, and those were the ones I was really watching. Cristhian Adames looked sharp at shortstop, making a backhanded play in short center to get an out at second base, and he collected a single in three tries at the plate. He’s hitting and fielding well enough that I very much like the idea of him inheriting Tulo’s job, even though he’ll probably never do it as well.

Chris Rusin, possible contender for next season’s rotation, had a start that was pedestrian at best; he threw 92 pitches over four innings and labored in each one. His ball total followed closely behind his strike total throughout. Many times he threw a filthy strike and made the hitter look foolish, but just as often he threw one right down the pipe and it wound up on the outfield grass. Rusin’s game depends on location because he’s not going to blow anyone away with velocity, and it seems like his location spends more time off than on. In any case, it’s never a good night when your pitcher is lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning.

Scott Oberg, who has had some tough outings this year but still profiles well as a middle reliever for the big league club, struck out Jordy Mercer on a 99-mph fastball so nasty that Mercer himself paused at the top of the dugout steps to watch the replay. In fact, the entire future of the Rockies bullpen was on point, including Jairo Diaz, who dealt with a couple of baserunners and Rosario’s bad defense to shut down the Bucs in the 9th.

We have some hard throwers in our relief corps right now, and if they can be properly coached, they can turn into something special. I’m in agreement with those who think we don’t need to look too far to find next year’s bullpen. Most of them are already on the roster, but again, they need to be trained to use their stuff for good instead of evil. Truthfully, the whole conversation is irrelevant as long as most of the starting rotation can barely sniff the sixth inning.

Rosario, who I hope has no role at all with any future version of the Rockies, has a solid day at the plate, with a home run and a single, both to the opposite field, and a walk. He’s just not that good at baseball fundamentals, and even though he seems to work hard, he’s not getting better at them. We’re in broken-record territory now, but please, please, send the man to an AL team where he won’t have to field.

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The one guy who I feel sure will be in a Rockies uniform next year, and who I hope the front office is looking to build around, is Nolan Arenado, and he did not disappoint. Well, not entirely anyway. He knocked in a run in the third and made a couple of his patented hot corner throws, but he also missed a groundball when he decided to try letting it roll foul (didn’t work), grounded into a double play, and, oh yeah, this. The future may look better in Colorado, but it’s far from a sure thing.