The Mets will take on their first non-NL East team today when they face the Colorado Rockies in a four-game series. With ace Ubaldo Jimenez on the DL, the Rockies might appear vulnerable–but then again, the Rockies are also in first place in the NL West with a 6-2 record. The Rockies have received splendid outings from Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge de la Rosa, and Esmil Rogers, and have an exciting offense led by Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitski, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, and Dexter Fowler. I had a moment to catch up with Logan Burdine, the lead blogger/editor of RoxPile, to ask him six questions about his Colorado Rockies. You can catch my end of the bargain right here.
1. Who do you see being the Rockies starting second baseman by season’s end?
One of the Rockies best strengths is their depth and that is on full display at second. They won’t have one regular second baseman this year. It will be a fluid situation directed by the match-ups. Tracy will use a combination of Jose Lopez and Jonathan Herrera with Ty Wigginton getting the occasional start. Lopez and Herrera bring different games to the table, but both have been very valuable so far this season. Also, Lopez will be needed some at third.
2. Troy Tulowitski received a 10 year, $157.75 million contract–is he worth it?
Is any player worth that kind of commitment? When Tulo signed this deal, I wrote of the risk that the Rockies were taking. After all, this is a guy that has made his fair share of DL trips. Now, eight games into a ten year deal, I still think the contract is risky. However, I do admire the Rockies attempts to lock up players during their prime seasons. They are paying Tulo and CarGo early in hopes that they don’t have to overpay them later. I’m just hoping that this approach won’t blow up in their faces.
3. Do you think Carlos Gonzalez can build on his monstrous 2010, or will his lack of walks (40 BB) and high strikeout totals (135 K’s) stand in his way?
So far this season, CarGo appears to be a much more mature hitter. He is laying off many of the bad pitches that he would’ve swung at last year. In Friday’s 14 inning marathon, he went 0-7 with 3 K’s. He was a little too aggressive and swinging too hard. On Saturday, he made sure to take pitches and he shortened swing. He had three hits. It was a very mature set of adjustments. I think he is going to have a monster season.
4. Will 2011 finally be the year where Chris Iannetta breaks out and proves 2008 wasn’t just a tease?
Even in 2008 he only had half of a good season. I don’t know about Bull Hurley Iannetta. He started out on fire this season, but I don’t think he had a hit in three games at Pittsburgh. He’s a good defensive catcher that adeptly handles the pitching staff and calls a good game. He doesn’t have to be Piazza at the plate, but he can’t revert back into 2010 form. So far this year, he’s been better, but I wonder if he is capable of ever becoming a serious offensive threat.
5. When will Todd Helton hang up the spikes?
I thought it might happen last weekend when his delicate back went out again. However, it sounds like he feels much better this year. If he can’t stay healthy, there is a very good chance this will be his last year. Todd is humble, but also prideful. He loves to play, but won’t continue if he becomes too much of a liability. Prior to the back spasms he was looking great this season. It sounds like he’ll be back against the Mets. If his back holds up, he has another year or two in him.
6. Which prospect in the Rockies system are you most excited to see in the majors, and will we see this player soon?
Left-handed reliever, Rex Brothers, almost made the team out of spring training. In fact, if they hadn’t been out of options with Franklin Morales, he probably would have. Brothers has a big time fastball and a wipe-out slider. Many believe he is the Rockies’ closer of the future. He will probably debut sometime this year.
The other player is catcher, Wilin Rosario. Rosario tore is ACL last July. He’s back on the diamond, but not quite 100%. Rosario can hit and is going to be a very good defensive catcher. If Iannetta continues to struggle, this may be Rosario’s last season in the minors.