The story for the Colorado Rockies any season starts with Coors Field. No other team in the Majors has such a significant ballpark factor as do the Rockies.
As usual, Colorado led the NL in runs scored last year, plating 824, but the team scored the fourth fewest of any NL team on the road. Essentially, this team is a different club at home compared to on the road, but in 2017, they managed winning records in both environments.
What helped the Rockies find success last year was a strong, young rotation. While the pitching faltered a bit down the stretch, the arms did well enough to carry the team to their first postseason in nearly a decade. Now, can this team make back to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in franchise history?
2017 Record: 87-75
2017 Moneyline Record: +12.44 Units
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 81-73-8
Current Odds To Win NL: +1791
Current Odds To Win NL West: +610
Regular Season Win Total: 82.5
Offense is king in Colorado. The Rockies scored the most runs in the NL and had the second-best OPS, just behind Washington, at .781. Despite that, Colorado had just three everyday players—four if you count Jonathan Lucroy after the trade—with an OPS+ north of 95. In fact, they only had four players total, regardless of number of at bats, reach that figure.
That right there just goes to show how much the team’s offensive stats were driven by ballpark factor.
In the end, only three players had at least 150 at bats and an above average offensive season based on OPS+. Of course, two of those players had huge seasons: Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon.
Clearly one of the league’s better players, Arenado offered excellent defense and a .309/.373/.586 slash line, delivering 7.2 WAR. That was good enough to find himself in MVP consideration alongside Blackmon.
The talented centerfielder outperformed his more famous teammate on the year. He batted .331 with a .399 OBP and .601 slugging percentage. He also delivered 37 home runs and 104 RBIs out of the leadoff spot while scoring 137 runs and stealing 14 bases.
Between Blackmon and Arenado, the team has one of the best one-two punches in the game, but even while outscoring the rest of the NL, the team needs a bit more consistent production in 2018—particularly on the road.
Mark Reynolds was the only other player with a triple-digit OPS+ and he’s now gone, leaving others to step up.
The team brought back Carlos Gonzalez off a bad season, hoping that the success he found in the last month will bring him back closer to the All-Star player he’s been for years for the Rockies. Cargo could be that next guy after Arenado and Blackmon if what he found at the end of last year is sustainable.
If so, that moves Ian Desmond to first base a bit more, sending Ryan McMahon to the bench.
Look for a bit of a regression from Blackmon, much of the same from Arenado and improvements from Desmond, CarGo and others to drive an overall improved offense.
On the mound, the Rockies got some big performances from Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela and German Marquez in the first half before they faded a bit down the stretch. Jonathan Gray came back from injury to pitch well.
The 2018 rotation will likely include Gray, Marquez, Freeland, Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, giving the Rockies some needed depth at the position. Anderson and Bettis are young veterans used to pitching in Colorado. Neither had strong ERAs in limited action last year, but looking at the ERA+ of each, they were both at or above league average arms.
The numbers won’t look that good at the end of the year, but considering the ballpark, the Rockies have an above-average set of arms starting games for them. And they feed into a bulked-up bullpen.
Following the model set by the NL pennant winning 2007 team, the 2018 Rockies focused on improving the bullpen. They brought in Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw while resigning Jake McGee. That’s a strong back end of the pen. Adam Ottavino and Mike Dunn add to the strong options.
The Rockies now need just six solid from the rotation and can look for three from the bullpen night-in and night-out.
Overall, the Rockies should compete for the NL West or a Wild Card again this year. A lot will depend on how well the young arms hold up and if the bullpen can live up to lofty expectations. If so, look for a bit more balanced offense. There’s nothing that sets Colorado apart from the D-Backs or Dodgers, but the Rockies shouldn’t be heavily outmanned by either team.
|Baltimore Orioles||Baltimore, Maryland||Oriole Park at Camden Yards|
|Boston Red Sox||Boston, Massachusetts||Fenway Park|
|New York Yankees||New York City, New York||Yankee Stadium|
|Tampa Bay Rays||St. Petersburg, Florida||Tropicana Field|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Toronto, Ontario||Rogers Centre|
|CENTRAL||Chicago White Sox||Chicago, Illinois||Guaranteed Rate Field|
|Cleveland Indians||Cleveland, Ohio||Progressive Field|
|Detroit Tigers||Detroit, Michigan||Comerica Park|
|Kansas City Royals||Kansas City, Missouri||Kauffman Stadium|
|Minnesota Twins||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Target Field|
|WEST||Houston Astros||Houston, Texas||Minute Maid Park|
|Los Angeles Angels||Anaheim, California||Angel Stadium|
|Oakland Athletics||Oakland, California||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Seattle Mariners||Seattle, Washington||Safeco Field|
|Texas Rangers||Arlington, Texas||Globe Life Park in Arlington|
|EAST||Atlanta Braves||Atlanta, Georgia||SunTrust Park|
|Miami Marlins||Miami, Florida||Marlins Park|
|New York Mets||New York City, New York||Citi Field|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Citizens Bank Park|
|Washington Nationals||Washington, D.C.||Nationals Park|
|CENTRAL||Chicago Cubs||Chicago, Illinois||Wrigley Field|
|Cincinnati Reds||Cincinnati, Ohio||Great American Ball Park|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Miller Park|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||PNC Park|
|St. Louis Cardinals||St. Louis, Missouri||Busch Stadium|
|WEST||Arizona Diamondbacks||Phoenix, Arizona||Chase Field|
|Colorado Rockies||Denver, Colorado||Coors Field|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Los Angeles, California||Dodger Stadium|
|San Diego Padres||San Diego, California||Petco Park|
|San Francisco Giants||San Francisco, California||AT&T Park|
March 29-31: at Arizona Diamondbacks
April 2-5: at San Diego Padres
April 6-8: vs Atlanta Braves
April 9-11: vs San Diego Padres
April 12-15: at Washington Nationals
April 16-18: at Pittsburgh Pirates
April 20-22: vs Chicago Cubs
April 23-25: vs San Diego Padres
April 27-29: at Miami Marlins
April 30-May 3: at Chicago Cubs
It was a strong April, that helped carry the Rockies to the postseason a year ago, making it even more important for them to get off to another hot start in 2018. Last year, the were 16-10 in April, their best month of the season. As their pitching faltered down the stretch, they closed the year 35-36 in the second half.
So, this April, they have a rather favorable schedule, particularly considering they play in a stacked NL West division with a few other contenders.
While the Rockies do play the Diamondbacks, Nationals and Cubs in April, they don’t have to worry about the Dodgers.
Arizona might be the biggest challenge. They face the D-Backs on Opening Day after their Wild Card loss in 2017. They were 8-12 against them last year counting that Wild Card game, but held their own against the Nats and topped the Cubs in five of seven meetings.
As for the rest of the schedule, the Rockies have the Padres three times and the Braves, Marlins and Pirates all once a piece. All four of those teams are expected to have another losing season in 2018.
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