With the season fast approaching its never too early to look ahead at the upcoming season.
The Cincinnati Reds will take on the Colorado Rockies at home from June 3-5 and then head to Denver to play a three game series from Aug. 30-Sept. 1. The Reds hope that it will be a repeat of last year as they took five straight from the Rockies last year in six games.
Colorado will be under new management as the Rockies announced one-time shortstop Walt Weiss will be taking over from Jim Tracy who resigned at the end of last season. Weiss is a World Series winner and a former Rookie of the Year who spent 14 seasons in the majors with four different teams including Colorado.
The Rockies finished 64-98 which was good for a last place finish in the NL West. Colorado has the talent on offense with the likes of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but the pitching staff was a major concern especially in the hitter friendly Coors Field. No pitcher last season finished with more than eight wins (Rex Brothers) and no starting pitcher finished higher than six wins (Jeff Francis).
Here's a look at what the Rockies may look like when they face the Reds this season.
Rotation (2012 stats):
1. Jhoulys Chacin (3-5, 4.43 ERA, 45 Ks) had a rough 2012 season as he missed time with an injury and was sent down at one point. That being said he's going to get the Opening Day nod despite a rough spring.
2. Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 9.28 ERA, 6 Ks) came back for three games at the end of last season after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He was a 16 game winner in 2009, his last full season, but has missed time in every season since due to injury.
3. Jeff Francis (6-7, 5.58 ERA, 76 Ks) returned to the Rockies after one season with the Royals and led the Rockies in wins by a starting pitcher. At one point he won 44 games from 2005 to 2007, but has won just 20 in the last four seasons.
4. Juan Nicasio (2-3, 5.28 ERA, 54 Ks) was also among the injured Rockies making 11 starts before he had arthroscopic knee surgery in July.
5. Drew Pomeranz (2-9, 4.93 ERA, 83 Ks) matched his win total in 2011, but made 18 more starts.
6. Christian Friedrich (5-8, 6.17 ERA, 74 Ks) was another injured pitcher who had his season cut short by a stress fracture in his lower back.
Tyler Chatwood (5-6, 5.43 ERA, 41 Ks) was thrust into the starting rotation thanks to plethora of injuries, but did have one save last season.
Josh Outman (1-3, 8.19 ERA, 40 Ks) was in and out of the starting rotation last season and saw a decline from his numbers while in Oakland the year before.
Wilton Lopez (6-3, 2.17 ERA, 54 Ks w/Astros) was one of the few bright spots for the Astros last season as he turned in ten saves and nine holds.
Rex Brothers (8-2, 3.86 ERA, 83 Ks) appeared in 75 games last season and had 18 holds, but also had five blown saves.
Adam Ottavino (5-1, 4.56 ERA, 81 Ks) returned to the majors after not appearing at the big league level in 2011 and had seven holds in 53 games.
Matt Belisle (3-8, 3.71 ERA, 69 Ks) appeared in 80 games last season and had three saves and 26 holds, both career bests for the one-time Reds starter.
Rafael Betancourt (1-4, 2.81 ERA, 57 Ks, 31 saves) converted 31 of 38 saves in his first season as the Rockies closer.
C. Wilin Rosario (117 games, .270 avg., 28 HR, 71 RBI) had a stellar year at the dish in his first full season behind the plate as he led the team in homers.
1B. Todd Helton (69 games, .238 avg, 7 HR, 37 RBI) who has spent all 16 years in Colorado, is starting to show some decline in his power and his average was the lowest in his career. He is expected to retire after his contract expires at the end of the season.
2B. Josh Rutledge (73 games, .274 avg, 8 HR, 37 RBI) had a nice showing in his first season in the big league's.
3B. Chris Nelson (111 games, .301 avg, 9 HR, 53 RBI) did a nice job offensively and can play short and second, but he'll need to work on his 13 errors.
SS. Troy Tulowitzki (47 games, .287 avg, 8 HR, 27 RBI) was one of the many injured last season and the Rockies sorely missed the All-Star's production.
LF. Carlos Gonzalez (135 games, .303 avg, 22 HR, 85 RBI) had another strong season and earned his first All-Star appearance and his second Gold Glove. He's also one homer away from eclipsing the 100 mark.
CF. Dexter Fowler (143 games, .300 avg, 13 HR, 53 RBI) was courted by the Reds in the off-season, but the Rockies decided to keep the speedy leadoff man patrolling center field at Coors.
RF. Michael Cuddyer (101 games, .260 avg, 16 HR, 58 RBI) moved to the NL for the first time in his 11 year career (all w/ Minnesota) and the 33-year old was another Rocky whose season was cut short by injury.
C. Ramon Hernandez or Yorvit Torrealba will garb the second spot behind the plate and it looks like Torrealba has the edge due to a strong spring and Hernandez's poor performance last season.
1B/OF. Tyler Colvin was a strong option to fill in and could get major playing time if the older players are injured or fail to perform. Last year Colvin hit .291 with 18 homers and drove in 72.
IF. D.J. LeMahieu appeared in 81 games and can play three infield spots and hit .297 while driving in 22.
IF. Jonathan Herrera also plays three infield spots and appeared in 86 games.
3B. Jordan Pacheco played 132 games and led the team in average at .309. He also drove in 54 RBI and had five homers, but may be forced to split time with Nelson.
OF. Eric Young Jr. appeared in 98 games and had four homers and drove in 15.
OF. Charlie Blackmon played in 42 games and hit .283.