Spring training brings promise, hope and, for the Rockies and their fans, relief. With the team preparing for the new season, the annus horribilis of 2012 Rockies baseball can be buried and forgotten.

It shouldn't be. Sifting through last year's ruins isn't an exercise in masochism. It's an opportunity to learn what went wrong, with the goal of discovering what works well. For this reason, the Rockies should be commended for refusing to treat 2012 as an aberration but, instead, as fodder for deriving hard lessons. Andrew T. Fisher covered these lessons in today's Rockpile.

One such lesson, reported last week by Troy Renck, was the new manager's mantra that Rockies pitchers must induce more groundballs. This means, apparently, working lower in the strike zone. Thomas Harding reported yesterday evening that the Rockies have employed more demanding exercises to emphasize the need to work low in the zone. The Rockies believe that last year's terror was, at least in part, "a reflection of pitches left up in the strike zone."

While it's laudable for the Rockies to seek answers from last year's debacle, are they reaching the right conclusions? Is it really true, for example, that the 2012 Rockies failed to execute the organizational philosophy of attacking low in the zone, and left pitches up to get hammered? Or is that philosophy, if not flawed, then at least incomplete? To test this, we have to return to the dark days of 2012, not because it's pleasant, but because learning the wrong lessons from last year will leave the Rockies no better off than they were before.

One way to test whether pitches left up in the zone hurt the Rockies last year is to look at the pitch locations of home runs, which were, in the main, the hardest hits the pitchers surrendered. To do that, we need to review all 198 home runs surrendered by Rockies pitchers in 2012.