Commentary

Rockies will win NL West

Despite struggling stars, Colorado has already built a sizable division lead

Updated: April 29, 2011, 11:12 AM ET
By Dave Cameron | FanGraphs
Carlos GonzalezAaron M. Sprecher/Icon SMICarlos Gonzalez has a paltry .555 OPS, but that hasn't stopped the Rockies from winning.

A lot of things have gone wrong for the Colorado Rockies in April. For instance:

Carlos Gonzalez, who led all National League center fielders with 6.1 Wins Above Replacement last year, has hit just .214/.269/.286 and has actually been below-replacement level so far in 2011.

Ubaldo Jimenez's velocity has been down compared to last year, and he's managed only 16 innings in three starts, giving up 13 runs in the process. It took him 14 starts in 2010 to give up that many runs.

• Starting third baseman Ian Stewart hit so poorly in his first 12 games that the team optioned him to Triple-A, and offseason acquisition Jose Lopez -- theoretically brought in to give them depth at second and third base -- has a .169 on-base percentage.

Not only have the Rockies survived despite tremendous struggles from key players, but they actually own baseball's best record, having won 16 of their first 23 contests. In fact, their early season success has given them a 4½-game lead over both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. It's not even May, but the National League West race is shaping up to be fairly boring.


For a full explanation of why the Rockies will likely run away with the NL West, become an ESPN Insider today.