Purple Monday: Colorado Rockies Second-Half Predictions

Jun 24, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; General view of a Colorado Rockies banner during a sunset over Coors Field in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; General view of a Colorado Rockies banner during a sunset over Coors Field in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Hello and welcome back to the third edition of Purple Monday. Last week, we looked back at the first half of the season. Now with the All-Star break behind us, it seems logical to look towards the second half of the season. There are quite a few questions facing the Colorado Rockies so I will break it down with a few predictions for the second half. Let’s get into it.

Second half MVP: The obvious answer is Nolan Arenado, who I think could make a powerful case to be the league MVP. So to keep things interesting, I am going to choose someone else.

Technically, the award will be second most valuable player and my choice is Charlie Blackmon, the Nazty one. Chuck got off to a slightly slow start with the quick trip to the DL but has been phenomenal ever since. His slash line is sitting at .306/.369/.487 good for an OPS of .856. He leads the Rockies with 10 stolen bases and has 12 dingers out of the leadoff spot.

I expect Charlie to continues to raise his average for the rest of the year and am predicting the 25-25 club, doubling his home run output and returning to the elite base stealer that he was last year. My argument for Charlie is truly based on the definition of the word “valuable.” With apologies to DJ LeMahieu, I think that Blackmon is the guy in the lineup who puts the best at-bats together on a daily basis. He is also Colorado’s only true threat on the basepaths and a very solid center fielder.

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Best Pitcher of the Second Half: Jon Gray. Gray was dominate again yesterday, pitching seven shutout innings in Atlanta. He set a new career high with 115 pitches and also tied his career high for swings and misses at 21. It was great to see Weiss leave Gray in the game with two runners on in the seventh and he was rewarded as Gray struck out Chase d’Arnaud to get out of the jam.

My prediction for Gray is that he will end the year with an ERA under 4.10 (he is sitting at 4.33 now) and will reach a double-digit win total. Arguably more important than wins, I am guessing Gray will finish with over 20 quality starts, adding nine more to his total in the second half. I think Gray will flirt with 200 strikeouts for the season but end up a couple short, finishing somewhere around 185.

Hardware: This one is mostly too easy. I am going to give Nolan Arenado his second consecutive sweep, winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at the third base position in the National League. I also think that he will finish top 3 in the NL MVP voting and will personally blame the Coors Field bias for him not being higher.

Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

I think Trevor Story will finish second to more hyped rookie shortstop Corey Seager in rookie of the year voting. All in all, a solid representation for the purple guys come award season.

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Trades: You may be wondering why I did not include Carlos Gonzalez in any of the discussion above. I think Jeff Bridich will make another huge move near the deadline and trade CarGo to a contender in need of outfield help. As my Rox Pile colleague Nolan Lees mentioned in an article last week, the Dodgers could be in play for CarGo, I could also see the Indians, Giants or Royals making a push for the Rockies’ All-Star.

It would be extremely painful for me and Denver fans to lose him, but the timing might be right. He is having perhaps the best year of his career, especially when coupled with his second half in 2015. We will also have a crowded outfield soon, with the additions of David Dahl and Raimel Tapia seeming sooner all the time.

I also think the Rockies should be aggressively shopping Nick Hundley with Tom Murphy lighting up AAA suddenly and Tony Wolters perhaps being the best option for our pitching staff.

I would also bet on some serious discussions evolving around Boone Logan and Jorge De La Rosa, who are both in the last years of their contracts and putting together very good years. In the end, I think all four of these guys will be moved in one of Colorado’s most active trade deadlines in recent memory.

Major League Debuts: One of my favorite parts in the second half is always seeing guys get called up (hopefully soon it will be because of playoff contention).

I think we will see two highly touted prospects make their debuts this year.  I expect Jeff Hoffman to get some innings and “wet his feet” in the show in late August or early September. If Gonzalez gets traded, it will open the door for someone in the outfield. I could see this either being David Dahl or Jordan Patterson. Patterson has less buzz around him but is putting together a very solid campaign hitting .317/.411/.484. From the sounds of things, Dahl may be the better candidate as Patterson continues to struggle against left-handed pitching (.185 average). Dahl is continuing to make his case absolutely destroying Pacific Coast League pitching hitting 3 homers, including a grand slam, in his last 3 games.

Next: How the Rockies Fared in First-Half Challenges

Final Line: I think the Colorado Rockies will play .500 ball, maybe even a couple of games better for the rest of the year finishing the season 78-84. This is a better win total than I had hoped for at the start of the year and I think we continue to see positive things from this team for the rest of the season.