Purple Monday: Colorado Rockies Things to Watch in September

Jun 26, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; General view of Coors Field during the fifth inning of the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Colorado Rockies. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; General view of Coors Field during the fifth inning of the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Colorado Rockies. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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DJ LeMahieu of the Colorado Rockies
Jun 15, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu (9) hits a double in the third inning against the New York Yankees at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time for another edition of Purple Monday. But first, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Labor Day Weekend with friends, family and maybe a little bit of Colorado Rockies baseball.

The Rockies continue to play at the level of their competition as they almost swept the Los Angeles Dodgers and then lost a series to the Arizona Diamondbacks over the past week. They find themselves 6.5 games out of the wild card going into games today. With only 26 games left in the season, it is unlikely they will make the playoffs this year. With that said, there are still numerous reasons to tune in and watch these guys play. I’m going to highlight my 10 favorites in this week’s edition.

Let’s get into it…

A Chance to Play Spoiler

Currently the National League West has two playoff teams with the Dodgers 3 games up in the division, and the Giants 1.5 games up on the Cardinals and 2.5 games ahead of the Mets in the wild card standings. As a Rockies fan, it is hard to have anything but disdain for these two powerhouses. They are always in national headlines as buyers at the deadline and deep pockets in the offseason. It would be very sweet to see the Rockies have a hand in knocking one out of the postseason race.

So far, the Rockies own a 6-7 record against the Giants and a 7-8 record versus the Dodgers. These are numbers they will be looking to improve on starting today against the Giants. Including Monday’s game, the Rockies have six remaining games against the Giants and four against the Dodgers, so they will definitely have their chances.

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Auditions for Next Year

It seems we are finally on the brink of the Rockies being contenders. So there are some serious decisions to be made for next year. Should the Rockies trade an outfielder? Who will play catcher? Does the team need to sign a first basemen or are there internal options to fill that hole? These are all questions that the play of some key guys will help to answer in the next month.

If Tapia and Dahl continue to play well in their major league debuts, it would be hard to hold onto all five outfielders. A platoon seems likely behind the plate with Tom Murphy and Tony Wolters, but I could also see one separating himself if he catches fire in the next month (assuming they get more playing time of course). Stephen Cardullo had a great start to his career. If he continues he could force his way into the Rockies plans next year.

What to Do With the Bullpen?

Obviously, the bullpen has been the Achilles heel of one of the best recent Rockies teams. There have been flashes of dominance from the pen this year as well, but overall has been the downfall of the team. It is something the Rockies will need to improve, but its hard to identify the best way to do it.

Carlos Estevez was successful on 11 save attempts and has the stuff to be at least a late inning option, but will need to figure some control issues out in order to do so. Adam Ottavino seems to be the best choice at closer next year, so it would be encouraging to see him be lights out the rest of the year. Other guys with a chance to pitch their way into the Rockies’ plans include Jordan Lyles, who has a 3.06 ERA in as a reliever this year, recent call up Matt Carasiti has struggled so far but was dominating in the minor leagues.

The Rockies could also call guys up as the minor league seasons end, perhaps including Sam Moll, Jerry Vasto and Johendi Jiminian. If all of these options struggle, the Rockies may be forced to look in the free agent pool or try to acquire someone in a trade as they did (unsuccessfully) last year.

DJ LeMahieu’s Quest for the Batting Title

Coming into Monday, DJ is leading the National League in average having recently passed Washington’s Daniel Murphy. LeMahieu’s average sits at .344, 4 points ahead of Murphy who has dropped down to .340. These two have a large lead over the rest of the field with Jean Segura in third place with an average of .320.

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /


Nolan Arenado should be in the conversation for MVP this year. It seems silly to have to make that point but he seems to always be left out of the discussion because of Coors Field. The guy is tied for the National League lead for home runs at 36, and leads in RBI by almost 20. Kris Bryant will be the popular choice both because of his national popularity and his WAR is higher than Arenado’s.

My argument is that Arenado is such a superior defender it leads to him being more “valuable.” Seeing Arenado on the defensive side of the ball is always a reason to watch, and the last month of the year will surely include some jaw dropping plays from him at third base.

Next: 5 More Reasons to Watch the Rest of 2016