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Preview: Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks

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MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

So last year the Diamondbacks made the playoffs with a surprisingly dominant starting pitcher rotation that featured an fWAR of 18.2 and combined ERA of just 4.51. They were buoyed by one of the best bullpens last year with a combined 4.40 ERA, .307 BABIP, and 70.9% LOB. Last year they had 4 All-Star’s, and a perennial all-star infielder who competes for the MVP every year. Gold gloves litter the roster both on the infield and outfield. But the offense was no slouch last year either. Last year the team had the second highest batting average in all of baseball with a .273, and slugging percentage of .444. They also had a BABIP of .332 which was the highest in baseball, but that’s not surprising considering the home ballpark.

Oh… wait. I’m sorry. Wrong team page. That’s what the ROCKIES did last year. My bad.

Here’s one more stat. Youngest starting rotation in the league last year. That may not be the same story this year, but the amount of young talent in the rotation should scare all the other teams in the NL West.

The Rockies also start the year with some burning questions. Will DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon be on this team next year? Both contracts are up this year and with their perennial all-star Arenado’s contract up in 2019 how much will they be willing to spend to keep those other two around?

As for the real Diamondbacks, can you really achieve much higher than they did last year? Starting pitchers accounted for 18.8 fWAR, the offense had a team SLG of .445, and the team ERA was 2nd best in the League at 3.67.

Perhaps the biggest story of the 2017 season for the Diamondbacks was the injury to Shelby Miller and the gaudy numbers put up by Zack Godley (3.37 ERA/165 Ks/1.14 WHIP). I think it’s safe to say the Diamondbacks would not have made the playoffs without his performance. But can he do it again? Will the league finally figure out his curve-ball?

Off-Season Rockies Signings:

  • RHP Wade Davis (Cubs)
  • RHP Bryan Shaw (yes that Bryan Shaw)
  • LHP Jake McGee (re-sign)
  • C Chris Iannetta (traitor!)
  • OF Carlos Gonzalez (re-sign)

Injuries:

Rockies

  • IF - Shawn O’Malley
  • IF - Pat Valaika
Diamondbacks
  • RHP - Randall Delgado
  • RHP - Zack Greinke
  • RHP - Shelby Miller
  • OF - Steven Souza

The Pitching Matchups:

Game 1

  • Jon Gray (RHP) - 3.67 ERA, 20 Starts, .266 AVG, 1.30 WHIP
  • Patrick Corbin (LHP) - 4.03 ERA, 32 Starts, .276 AVG, 1.42 WHIP

Game 2

  • Tyler Anderson (LHP) - 4.81 ERA, 15 Starts, .269 AVG, 1.33 WHIP
  • Robbie Ray (LHP) - 2.89 ERA, 28 Starts, .199 AVG, 1.15 WHIP

Game 3

  • German Marquez (RHP) - 4.39 ERA, 29 Starts, .274 AVG, 1.38 WHIP
  • Zack Greinke (RHP) - 3.20 ERA, 32 Starts, .230 AVG, 1.07 WHIP

What to watch for:

Both of these teams made the playoffs last year and both are projected to compete for 2nd in the NL West division. The Rockies high powered offense was surprisingly not as high as it could have been when you consider the year Carlos Gonzales had. It may be surprising for you to know that Fangraphs doesn’t even show Cargo on the list of team batting leaders. Mark Reynolds had a better year at the plate than Cargo, and the Rockies released “the puncher’s chance incarnate” in the off-season. Look to see Cargo perhaps try to make a statement that the teams faith in him was not unfounded.

Gerardo Parra is once again in the Rockies outfield and is just as much a fan favorite of the Rockies as he was when he was in Arizona.

With Greinke’s delayed start, Patrick Corbin has a lot of pressure on opening day especially when you consider last seasons opener.