Rockies looking to make some noise in 2023

March 27th, 2023

The Rockies needed the late-spring signing of switch-hitting left fielder and leadoff man .

Surgeries have robbed them of second baseman (left shoulder), lefty setup man (left elbow), outfielder (left distal biceps tear), starting pitcher (left ACL) and outfielder (bilateral sports hernia).

A team challenged with depth didn’t need the injures to hit as soon as camp began. But Profar fills multiple weaknesses in the lineup and improves the club's depth.

The focus of Spring Training was less on today and more on the future. is the shortstop of now, while outfielders and , as well as catcher , are among the prospects who could be in Denver this season. But how do the Rockies go about making 2023 more than merely a year to pass the time until an improving farm system produces a wave of regulars?

What needs to go right?
Let’s start with what didn’t go right during Spring Training. The Rockies could use better health, especially from , whose back and foot injuries limited him to 42 games last year -- the start of his $182 million, seven-year contract. Bryant moved to right field, which is no picnic but requires less range than left at Coors, and hit with power this spring.

The top two pitchers in the rotation, and , must eliminate the rough patches both went through last year. And the rotation must stay healthy.

Profar improves the lineup, which means less pressure on some players who put too much on themselves last year -- infielder and catcher from the beginning, plus first baseman and designated hitter in the second half.

The Rockies also could use a repeat performance from closer , who pitched well enough last year to earn a two-year, $19 million contract.

Great unknown
Third baseman , part of the return in the trade that sent Nolan Arenado the Cardinals, hit for power his entire time in the Rockies’ system. Called up for the first time last year, pitchers took advantage of his eagerness by getting him to chase breaking balls and by exploiting some timing inefficiencies. As Spring Training progressed, Montero made major strides in controlling the strike zone. Can he translate that approach to the regular season to become a force offensively, all while making progress defensively?

Team MVP will be ... Kris Bryant
Bryant’s track record, combined with the chance to bat frequently at Coors, suggests a turnaround is possible. His name doesn’t come up immediately, but if he provides what the Rockies expected when he signed, he is a Comeback Player of the Year candidate.

Team Cy Young will be ... Kyle Freeland
Freeland began last season still in negotiations for his five-year, $64 million contract and started slowly. Participating in the World Baseball Classic this year allowed Freeland to ramp up early and carry the momentum into the season.

Bold prediction: The Rockies will have a Rookie of the Year candidate
Tovar entered camp with much fanfare and played like a veteran, not like someone whose head was turned by expectations. There might be some offensive struggles, simply because 21-year-olds have them, but expect Tovar to be a prime candidate for National League Rookie of the Year.