Last year, in the 2013 season, the Colorado Rockies were definitely considered bottom feeders in a mediocre-at-best NL West. Plagued by injuries and shoddy pitching, the Rockies never made it over the hump and found themselves getting ready for an offseason of golf when the playoffs rolled around in late September and early October.
This year, that is far from the case. With an unbelievable core of young, talented players and veteran leadership to go with it, the Colorado Rockies and their scorching number one offense are turning the tides early on the 2014 season.
Losing Todd Helton at the end of last season to retirement was a hard pill for any Rockies fan to swallow. The borderline Hall of Fame first baseman was the face of the franchise and a beloved member of the community for almost as long as the Rockies have been a team.
Now enter Justin Morneau. The former All-Star from the Minnesota Twins joined the Rockies this year and he is getting acclimated to the thin air of Colorado rather quickly. He is currently 5th in the NL in batting average at .327 and tied for sixth in the NL with 6 home runs. It is no way a seamless transition from a Colorado favorite but with the numbers Morneau has been able to put up early this year may have some people jumping on the bandwagon.
Another reason the Rockies have flipped the switch offensively is the health and improvement of one of the games best players. Troy Tulowitzki is widely considered not only the best shortstop in baseball, but also one of the top 5 players overall. However, In the two seasons prior to this one, Tulowitzki only played 173 of a possible 324 games.
He is an unbelievable talent but his inability to stay healthy has been one of the main reasons the Rockies have been somewhat of a laughingstock in the NL.
This year Troy is healthy and it shows. He is currently sitting atop the NL in both average (.393) and home runs (13) and his play at shortstop is nothing short of brilliant. Now, there have been murmurs of Tulo leaving Colorado for the bright lights of New York and a chance to move in behind Derek Jeter as the next Yankee shortstop, but with the way he has the Rockies playing right now we may see him in the purple and white for many, many years to come.
Although these two players are obviously not the only reason behind the Colorado Rockies’ early success in the 2014 season, Tulo and Morneau are not only starting, but also implementing a winning attitude in everyone in that clubhouse. With a free agent signing or a timely trade for improved pitching, we could all see the Rockies fighting for games when they count late in the year. It is an exciting season to be a Rockies fan and with more great play who knows where they can end up when 2014 is all said and done.