MLB Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies: Looking Towards the Future

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Colorado Rockies: Looking Towards the Future

Ron Chenoy- USA TODAY Sports

After a strong first half which had them sitting just 3.5 games behind the first place Arizona Diamondbacks, the Colorado Rockies have faltered in the second half and are now nine games under .500. A combination of horribly timed slumps in the lineup, inconsistent starting pitching and a terribly unstable middle relief corps have been the downfall of the Rockies second half hopes.

Even after a weekend sweep of one of the best teams in baseball, the Colorado Rockies are still 13 games back in the NL West with no real hope of making a playoff push. These circumstances force fans to look towards the future. With stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez already in place and locked up contractually for many more years, and other top end contributors such as Michael Cuddyer, Dexter Fowler, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa already established, the Rockies need to find answers in the “role player” department.

Heading into the 2013 season, the Rockies were counting on strong supporting performances from Minor League veterans with some MLB experience such as; Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr, Reid Brignac, Jordan Pacheco and Tyler Colvin. They were also expecting the acquisition of relief pitcher Wilton Lopez from the Houston Astros to shore up a relatively strong bullpen. However, Nelson, EY and Brignac struggled out of the gate and were released. Pacheco hit .229 before being sent back to the minors, Colvin lost a roster spot in Spring Training before slumping in his month long stint in the Majors and Lopez has been shaky all year with a 4.50 ERA. These poor performances from their role players have left the Rockies with questions to answer the rest of the way in looking towards the 2014 season.

Here are five players to watch the rest of the way as the Rockies try to climb back to .500.

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5. Nolan Arenado

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Since being promoted from the Minors at the end of April this season, Arenado has wowed fans with his defensive abilities. His hitting has not been quite what fans were expecting, but he is still hitting a respectable .267 with nine home runs and 20 doubles. Look for Arenado to start hitting for more power the last month and a half of the season and head into 2014 as a legitimate middle-of-the-order option.

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4. Chad Bettis

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Bettis has looked solid in his three-start stint for the Rockies this season. Look for him to throw more strikes and work deeper into games the rest of the season as he auditions for a 2014 rotation spot.

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3. DJ LeMahieu

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LeMahieu has proven he belongs in the big leagues this season. He provides excellent defense with good contact and good speed offensively. He will try to put a firm hold on the 2014 second base job the rest of the way. If he shows a little bit more power as his 6-foot-4 frame suggests he might have, he could be the future for the Rockies at second.

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2. Tyler Chatwood

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Chatwood has taken his 2013 opportunity and ran with it. He looks to be a legitimate top of the rotation arm that has figured it out at the Major League level. All he has to do now is prove he can stay healthy for a whole season. Look for him to come off the DL this month and continue to make the Rockies look like geniuses for flipping Chris Iannetta for him before the 2012 season.

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1. Corey Dickerson

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Dickerson, after putting on a show at Triple-A Colorado Springs with a .371 average and 46 extra base hits, has produced well for the Rockies. He looks like an everyday player so far that could take over for Cuddyer in right field with his assumed move to first base after Todd Helton retires. Look for him to continue to hit for average and hopefully sprinkle in a couple more home runs closing out the 2013 season.