SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Former Rockies outfielder Cory Sullivan knows a little about teams that contend before their time.
Sullivan, a pregame and postgame broadcast analyst with Root Sports Rocky Mountain, played with the Rockies from 2005-08, which meant he was part of a young nucleus that grew into the National League Champion squad of 2007. Sullivan said he sees some of the spirit of that team forming with the 2016 Rockies -- a team few expect to contend this year, but one possessing future possibilities.
This year's team has Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez, who combined for 82 home runs and 227 RBIs last season, which Sullivan believes is a start.
"You definitely have to believe in yourself as a team," Sullivan said in a wide-ranging video interview with MLB.com. "And it takes those 25 guys in that clubhouse, and sometimes it takes even more than that. Me, myself, I started in Triple-A that year, so that makes 26. Ryan Spilborghs [also now a color analyst with Root] started in Triple-A. That makes 27.
"You have to hold each other accountable, whether you're the worst guy on the team, and I say that meaning you're the 25th man, or you're the big guy on the team, which would be Nolan or CarGo this year. Everyone's got to be able to hold each other accountable. When you do that, you stick together, you bond together and you become a team that's galvanized and can play for each other."
Sullivan said he likes the additions to the lineup and bullpen, and feels good about the present and future of the starting rotation. But just as important, he is seeing encouraging signs about the chemistry.
"I got the opportunity to play golf with a couple of the guys early in Spring Training, and just listening to them talk, they're starting to talk like we did," Sullivan said. "You know what? We went to dinner as a team -- not three guys, not five guys, but 18 guys each time we went on a road trip. You're starting to hear Chatty [right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood] and Nolan and CarGo and those guys talk about spending time together. That's how you really get to know each other and get to be able to lean on each other, and they're doing that here."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.