It doesn’t feel like summer outside.

Heck, in late January, it doesn’t even feel like spring.

We’re still firmly in the doldrums of winter.

And without the Broncos going on a playoff run, or even playing in a playoff game, the sports clock has started to tick by slower than ever.

Yes, the Nuggets are an exciting team who will compete for a playoff spot. But the Avalanche are having a brutal year, CU hoops can’t crack the Pac-12 win column and CSU basketball is just a middle-of-the-road Mountain West team.

So, even though it doesn’t feel like summer, it’s fun to start thinking about it.

Specifically, your Colorado Rockies.

I don’t say that sarcastically, either.

The party deck will be bumpin’ and the beers will be flowin’ as always, but for the first time in about half a decade the product on the field will be worth keeping a close eye on.

Or at least let’s hope so.

As the Rockies are on their annual “caravan” tour around Colorado and neighboring states, it’s as good a time as ever to recap why there’s reason to be optimistic the 2017 season could end in a playoff berth.

First, look no further than the new manager. After four incredibly uninspiring years under former high school coach (and MLB All-Star) Walt Weiss, the Rockies made a much needed change and brought in a guy with a ton of big league managerial experience.

Bud Black has been the skipper for 1,362 MLB games since 2007 for the Padres, including posting an 89-win season and a 90-win season. Yes, some of his San Diego teams recently underachieved, but the lineups he was usually handed by management were terrible.

Offense won’t be a problem for Black in Colorado, which brings me to this… MY GOODNESS HAVE YOU SEEN THE ROCKIES LINEUP?!

Somewhere, the Blake Street Bombers would probably tell you over a cold one, this may be the best lineup in Rockies history.

The outfield has three potential All-Stars with veterans Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon leading the way, followed by (shhhh) the kid who may end up being the best of the bunch someday, David Dahl.

The infield has four potential All Stars, with mega-free agent signing Ian Desmond locking in at first, batting champ DJ LeMahieu at second, rookie sensation Trevor Story at shortstop and, oh yeah, maybe the best all-around player in baseball, Nolan Arenado, at third.

That’s seven position players who would not be surprises if they made the Midsummer Classic. When you really comprehend that, it’s insane.

At catcher the opening day starter will likely be Tony Wolters, who’s scrappy at the plate, but best known for his excellent framing techniques behind it, which should help the Rockies starters and relievers. Speaking of…

The pitchers.

It always comes down to pitching with this team, and it generally doesn’t work out, but seriously there’s hope on this front right now.

Four of the top five starters project to return from last season. And while they weren’t superb, they were actually pretty good. Chad Bettis, Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood and Tyler Anderson went a combined 41-33 with an ERA right around 4.20 overall. Not bad!

The fifth starter spot is up for grabs, with Germán Márquez the early favorite. He’s a guy who’s been on the fast track to the majors and has the team pretty excited.

Last, and yes, least, it’s the Rockies bullpen.

This is a great unknown, but a healthy Adam Ottavino at closer along with anticipated bounce back years from Jake McGee, Chad Qualls and Jason Motte, and the veteran presence is strong. Throw in young guns Carlos Estevez and Jeff Hoffman (who could also be the fifth starter) and there’s plenty of hope.

With that, let’s hand out some grades.

Manager: A

Lineup: A+

Starting rotation: B+

Bullpen: B

That averages out (on a GPA scale) to a 3.65, or essentially an A- overall.

Would you look at that? It’s late January and the Rockies project to be pushing for a spot on the honor roll. In baseball terms, that means a spot in the playoffs.

It doesn’t feel like summer outside, but it’ll be here soon enough.

And who knows? Maybe it’ll even fade into a meaningful fall with dreams of another Rocktober.