Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Colorado Rockies 15 Games In: A Look at Their World Series and NL Pennant Odds

While the baseball season has just started, baseball bettors are always looking for lucrative futures wagers.  Especially intriguing is a nice price on a team that many aren’t expecting to contend this year.  The Rockies are off to a hot start and certainly fit that bill.  But, how good is Colorado?
Dexter Fowler's power has been impressive.

We can pretend to have an idea after almost three weeks of play, but it is anyone guess where the Rockies will be in the standings come the end of September.  Currently, Colorado is listed at 25/1 to win the 2013 NL Pennant and 50/1 to win the 2013 World Series.  These future odds have not changed since they opened, despite the Rockies hot start.

We’ll take a look at the players that need to make an impact this season for the Rockies to have a chance to get themselves to the postseason and make a run in the playoffs.

Dexter Fowler Must Continue His Power Surge

Dexter Fowler has started off the season on a torrid pace and seems to have found a new power stroke.  It is likely the 27 year old outfielder is merely on a hot streak, but perhaps Fowler’s recent changes to his swing and new contract have provided move power to his approach and given him added motivation to improve.

Fowler has hit six home runs in just 55 plate appearances and boasts an early season average of .292.  His on-base percentage is an impressive .382, all the while slugging .708 making for an impressive 1.090 OPS.  Of course, these monsters numbers will not last, but we could see considerable improvement from Fowler this year.

The Rockies dangled Fowler as trade-bait much of the past two years, but in the offseason they inked him to a two-year deal worth $11.6 million through two arbitration years.  The young center fielder will not have to worry about his contract situation until 2015, one year before he reaches free agency in 2016.  

Is this a new Dexter Fowler?

At age 27, Fowler is in the prime of his career.  He changed his swing in the offseason and added a leg kick that seems to have helped with his power numbers.  Clearly, Fowler is motivated to improve and continues to make adjustments to his approach, despite being in the league since 2009.
Fowler has been one of the better leadoff hitters in baseball over the course of his career. A spray hitter with a .364 career on-base percentage and speed are something every team in baseball would covet in their leadoff man.  He hit 13 home runs last season (his highest total ever) and has nearly reached half that total within the first two and a half weeks of the 2013 season.

While we do not think Fowler is a 30 home run hitter, he seems like a lock for 20+ homers this year.  With his already added tremendous gap power and speed, (he had 11 triples in 2012) Fowler could be a superstar if he improves his batting average (career .264 hitter) slightly and starts hitting for more power.  He has been unbelievable to watch so far and has been a massive surprise for Rockies’ fans so far this season.  We think he can keep it up, and 2013 will be a career year for Fowler.

Jhoulys Chacin Turns Into a True No. 1 Starter

The Rockies rotation was a monumental problem in 2012, but so far, it has been more than impressive, especially considering how poor the starting pitching was last season.

After missing most of last season with a nerve injury that eventually led to a weaker arm and drop in velocity, Jhoulys Chacin has started off the season with a bang.  In three starts, he has three wins and a 1.96 ERA.

Chacin has always had top of the rotation stuff but has been hampered by injuries throughout his career.  Boasting an outstanding fastball and a slider, he has improved his changeup this year and early on looks to be the Rockies’ best pitcher by far.

They key with Chacin is obviously his health.  If the righty can get close to 200 innings and eliminate some of the walks that have plagued him in the past, he will be an asset for the Rockies and a legitimate No. 1 starter.  

Troy Tulowitzki Must Stay Healthy

This topic has been discussed ad nauseam in Rockies’ circles, but it bears worth mentioning again.  This team needs Tulo (and Carlos Gonzalez) to contend.  Though, Tulowitzki has stated that he is “all systems go”, we’re sure many fans – perhaps even Rockies’ management – are still sceptical if he can stay healthy.

There’s no doubt he is one of the most talented shortstops (if not the best) in the game when he is healthy, both at the plate and with the stick.  Still, he has played just 60 games in the past two seasons.  The jury is out on whether Tulo can stay healthy – we’re all rooting for him.

Are the 2013 Colorado Rockies worth taking a chance on?

It is hard to say.  They certainly seem to be improved from last season, but let’s remember they nearly lost 100 games, going 64-98.  The MLB season preview on SBO Weekly doesn't even rate the Rockies, however, Colorado has flourished in the postseason when they have gotten there in the past and so far they look vastly improved.

Bettors can hit a hefty payday if the Rockies somehow make 2013 a season to remember.  A $100 bet on their odds to win the NL Pennant (25/1) and World Series (50/1) would payout $2,500 and $5,000, respectively.  

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