USA TODAY Sports Weekly

Keys to victory

- – Stephen Borelli

Making progress: The emergence of a trio of potential young stars in the majors would signify the Rockies could be turning the corner. Speedy shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, 21, is likely to begin the season in the majors. He is a defensive wizard but will need to prove he can hit in the majors. Elehuris Montero, 24, got into 53 major league games last year and showed good power potential. Montero, who hit 28 homers in the minor leagues in 2021, has a chance to stick at third base if he can fend off veteran Mike Moustakas.

Outfielder Zac Veen, 21, has only played 34 games above Class AA but he could be coming at some point in 2023. The 2020 first-rounder has shown power and high-end speed in the minors (55 steals last season).

Home cooking: The Rockies had an MLB-best .803 OPS at home last season as they finished 4140. Their ERA at Coors field was 5.29, a major league-worst by almost half a run. Colorado managed a 4.66 ERA at home in 2021, and it was 4.63 in 2018. They have shown no consistenc­y over the years with pitching effectively at home, raising the question of whether it’s possible. Ace German Márquez has a 5.08 career ERA in 85 games at Coors; it was 3.67 in 18 starts last season but ballooned to 6.70 in 16 home starts in 2022.

Kris at Coors: Kris Bryant was limited to 42 games by injuries in his Colorado debut in 2022. He has pounded this ball this spring but has only two home runs in 42 career games at Coors. What can he do in the thin air if he remains healthy over a full season?

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