If you were wondering whether the talented Rockies rookie class of 2016 was a mirage, a mere result of purple-tinted-glasses enthusiasm, fear not. The rest of the baseball world is noticing as well. No fewer than four Rockies made Baseball America’s Major League All-Rookie Team: outfielder David Dahl, starting pitchers Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray, and shortstop (serving as the team’s designated hitter) Trevor Story. While this year’s team doesn’t offer the same star-power as last year’s, there is still plenty of other talent to be reckoned with (from Corey Seager to Nomar Mazara), making this far from a token achievement. Moreover, the Rockies ended up with two more players on this list than any other franchise. Last year the Cubs had three players on the list (Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber), the most of any franchise. Based on my meticulous calculations, since the Rockies placed four on the list, you can expect the 2017 Rockies to be 33% better than the 2016 Cubs.
There’s also this little gem buried in there: this year’s rookie class produced six hitters who hit at least 20 home runs, most in baseball history. This is just one more entry in the growing ledger of evidence that there is something going on in baseball. Now, speculating on a juiced ball is a tradition nearly as old as the game itself, but it does make you wonder when you look at the home run leader board and see players like Brian Dozier hitting 42 home runs, Adam Duvall hit 33, Roughned Odor also hit 33 (and walked only 19 times), Yasmany Tomás hit 31, Brad Miller and Jedd Gyorko both knocked 30, and Michael Saunders and Danny Espinosa both hit 24. All these represent career highs and, in some cases, nearly double or triple their career highs. In all there were 1.16 home runs per game this year, second highest only to 2000, and yet the average team scored 4.48 runs per game, just the third highest in the past ten years. We may never have an answer, but it’s a curious development nonetheless.
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Now that the playoff field has narrowed even further, you may be looking for more help on who to chose to root for going forward. If you’d like some guides that are a little more objective than the one we posted earlier this week, Baseball Prospectus offers a recommendation for each eliminated fan base (with some bad Dinger-related takes). If you’d rather chose your playoff team based on your favorite song from the hit musical Hamilton, well someone thought of the dozens of us who need that type of guidance.