This is part of an occasional series of slightly belated MLB season previews.
Feel free to take a minute to gather yourself. I realize that being told to root for the Colorado Rockies can have a dizzying effect, similar to what you might feel if I marched up to you and said, “Hey, you know what’s good to eat? Dirt.” Now that the initial shock has worn off, you’re getting ready to close this tab as soon as possible and get back to real life. Don’t do that! Hear me out.
Who are the Rockies?
Pretend for a minute that they aren’t the Colorado Rockies, a mostly forgettable franchise that nobody outside of Colorado would be sad to see disappear from the face of the earth. Pretend they are the, uh, Philadelphia Rockies, a team with some notable history that plays in a market where people care enough about baseball to boo and start fights.
Now, absorb the following facts: The 2016 Rockies are a top-five team in runs per game, OPS, batting average, and slugging percentage. They have a left side of the infield that has combined for 30 homers and 21 doubles, a lefty right fielder who has one of the sweetest home-run strokes in the game, and a hard-throwing rookie starter who has struck out 49 batters in 45 innings.
That sounds like an at least mildly interesting team, right? It’s the kind of team that might make you say things like, “Hey, the Rockies are going to struggle to stay at or above .500 this year, but I tell you what, Todd, that’s a fun team to watch,” to your good buddy Todd.
What guys should you know?
Nolan Arenado, dog. Did you know that he hit 42 goddamn home runs last year? He supplemented those dingers with 43 doubles, and made a claim for the title of best defensive third baseman in the game. Arenado’s just 25 years old, and he seems destined to become one of those cornerstone third baseman in the mold of Adrian Beltre and Scott Rolen. He’s my favorite kind of player, because he’s a guy who is good for at least one highlight at the plate or in the field each game, and so there’s always reason to watch. He has 16 homers and a .287/.358/.590 slash line, and will probably spend the next decade banking 20-40 homers per year and winning Gold Gloves.
Trevor Story! Remember that dude? He’s the rookie shortstop who took up the task of replacing Troy Tulowitzki by hitting 10 dingers in the first month of the season. You’ve seen hot starts like that before, so you may have written Story off as the next Chris Shelton and gotten on with your life as soon as the calendar turned to May.