As we get into the awkward phase of continuing to prepare for a season we aren’t sure will even happen, we return to our look at the Colorado Rockies as currently constituted.

It should, of course, be noted that we should all expect some change to the roster once the lockout is lifted. There are a lot of free agents still out there and the Rox have been tied to several of them including Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber.

So, it is entirely possible that before too long, these grades will need to be updated but it at least gives us a baseline to work from moving forward as we analyze the potential of this ballclub.

For a brief reminder, here are the grades I have given to each component of the team right now.

Starting Pitching: B+
Catchers: C+
Bench: C
Outfield: D+
Infield: Incomplete
Bullpen: F

The first thing that probably jumps out is that Colorado doesn’t get any “A” rankings in any category. This, ultimately, is what limits their ceiling and why nobody will be predicting them to win the division or even be competitive for it.

Both in terms of units on the field and individuals, they simply don’t have elite or superstar talent. 

Good news exists in the form of the fact that their strongest element is also the most important toward staying in baseball games. The starting pitching should once again keep this team around in the hopes that any other part of the team improves.

All of that can sadly, though, be undone by the part of the team that rates out the worst. Baseball is unique in that 99% of your roster can play a good game and your team can still lose if one player, your closer, just doesn’t have it that day.

As much as the Rockies need to answer the gigantic question mark at shortstop and as desperately as they need to add thump to their outfield, none of that will matter if the ‘pen is as bad as it has been for the last two years.

The frustrating part about that is that bullpens aren’t always fixable simply by going out and getting “better” players. We won’t know how bad the relief pitching will be until we see it.

Without some acquisitions or some truly surprising early-season performances, this team doesn’t have what it takes to compete for a postseason spot even if there end up being 12 of them.

That said, there is enough talent here that with good health, good luck, good development, and a few good moves, the team could absolutely put itself in contention for a back-end spot in an extended postseason.

As always, the games are played on diamonds not on paper, and by human beings who are historically difficult to predict. 

Anything could happen. That’s why they play the games.