"Offensively, our lineup is deeper," Tracy said of this year's group. "Beyond Todd Helton, there are some very professional batters that are going to walk up there and take at-bats. If you go back and look at our season last year, we let an opportunity get away."
Helton is known for his long, drawn-out at-bats that test a pitcher's physical and psychological will. Cuddyer, who has an on-base percentage of at least .330 in each of the seven seasons that he has played more than 100 games, can now provide extra protection in the lineup. Hernandez, who is a sight to behold during situational hitting drills at camp this week, adds depth further still along with Blake's veteran bat.
And Scutaro, who has vast experience hitting in each of the top two and bottom three spots of the lineup, helps provide Colorado with the additional spark it may need to accompany outfielder Dexter Fowler.
"There's a lot of exciting players in here," Giambi said. "It's a little bit different culture than they've been used to in a while with a lot of more veteran players that they've brought in from the outside. I think they're trying to change it over a little bit and hopefully get us back on track."
The Rockies have arguably the National League's toughest 3-4 lineup combination with Gonzalez and Tulowitzki, but haven't had this kind of batting order depth from top to bottom lately. The new faces don't carry superstar potential and their bats won't have the pop expected from Tulo and CarGo, but the Rockies are hoping for a trickle-down effect.
"They've been there year in, year out," Blake said of the veteran mix. "They've been a couple of the best hitters in the game. And it's a great experience from some of the younger hitters to get direction from some of these guys."
What furthers the potential for this lineup's success is the notion in the clubhouse that the Rockies are never out of a ballgame, particularly in the thin Denver air at Coors Field, where some of baseball's best comebacks have taken place. Tracy is hoping this will prompt the transition from the question of whether anyone can deliver a clutch hit to, instead, which player it will be on any given night?
"There's some guys in that clubhouse that really enjoy taking the at-bat with the game on the line," Tracy said. "You've got some answers on the bench, you've got depth in the lineup. I really believe that one of the things that hurt us last year was we needed to do more in the lower portion in our lineup than we did. And now we've got some people."