Sound off on the Rockies

The NL West is on the rise, and that includes the Rockies. Seriously. They aren't a punchline -- or doormats -- anymore.

Todd Helton is ready to prove himself again. By returning to his old slugging ways, the career .333 hitter will provide protection for Colorado's strong core of good young players. Matt Holliday (.326, 34 HR, 114 RBIs last season), Garrett Atkins (.329/29/120) and Brad Hawpe (.293/22/84) all can play. Rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki won the starting job after an impressive spring and has some power.

Colorado's pitching is much-improved. In fact, the starting staff of Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, Rodrigo Lopez, Jason Hirsh and Josh Fogg actually might be underrated. Closer Brian Fuentes is dependable, averaging 30 saves the last two seasons.

Will Colorado be playing for more than pride come September? Let us know what you think.