What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2013 title for all 30 teams.
The unimaginable has become imaginable, and the Colorado Rockies are the champions of baseball. Colorado reached the top of the mountain thanks to a pair of otherworldly performances from their franchise cornerstones, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.
After a lost 2012, Tulowitzki returned to form as a six win player, bashing 32 homers and posting a .923 OPS for the season while also winning a Gold Glove at short. Gonzalez, his teammate on the left side of the diamond, hit 27 homers and stole 23 bases (his fourth straight 20/20 season) to go along with an .889 OPS for the season. With those two in the middle of Colorado's lineup, everything else was just gravy.
But that doesn't mean that the Rockies got no production from anywhere else. After a breakout year in 2012, Dexter Fowler hit 15 homers and stole 17 bases while OPSing .841 for Colorado in center field. Catcher Wilin Rosario smashed 35 homers, providing nearly unheard of production for a guy with a walk rate under 6%. Second baseman Josh Rutledge got a chance to play every day, hit 17 homers, and stole 16 bases in a surprising campaign for the Rockies. Even rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado got in on the act, homering 22 times in his freshman campaign.
Where Colorado has traditionally struggled though, is on the mound. And while the Rockies rotation wasn't one of the best in baseball in 2013 by any stretch of the imagination, they held their own. Jorge de la Rosa threw 167 innings in his full season return from Tommy John surgery, striking out 171 with a 4.04 ERA on his ledger. After an erratic 2012, Jhoulys Chacin threw 188 innings for Colorado in 2013, posting a 3.54 ERA and striking out 141. Drew Pomeranz continued to improve as well, throwing 141 innings with 130 strikeouts and a 3.89 ERA.
Colorado's bullpen, the highlight of last season, also returned to form in 2013. Closer Rafael Betancourt struck out 66 hitters in 64 innings, saving 33 games for the Rockies with a 2.53 ERA. Rubber armed setup man Matt Belisle threw another 85 innings of 3.28 ERA baseball, continuing his status as on of the most underappreciated relievers in the game. Former Astro Wilton Lopez even got in on the act, throwing 61 innings with a strikeout to walk ratio of better than six to one.
In the playoffs, Colorado knocked off the heavily favored Braves in the wild card game, continuing Atlanta's disappointing run under Fredi Gonzalez. In the NLDS, the Rockies knocked off the Cincinnati Reds in five games after the Reds collapsed in 2013 much like they did in 2012. Colorado squared off with the Washington Nationals in the NLCS, and won handily in five games after blowing out Stephen Strasburg in a pair of starts. Finally in the World Series, the Rockies beat the Angels in six games, sending the Denver area into a frenzy.
It seemed like a hopeless season coming into it for Colorado, but just some better luck and improvement helped the team reach the top of the mountain for the first time in their history.