Every year before spring training starts, Baseball Prospectus releases the newest version of their PECOTA projections system, and fans of every team argue and complain that BP is biased against their team. This year will be no different, especially in Rockies town: PECOTA expects the Rockies to compile a 78-84 record, good for 4th in the NL West. While the overall attitude has been that the Rockies have made moves to improve (or at least stand pat) over this offseason, the latest projections believe that the Rockies will be 9 games worse than their 87-75 mark from last season.
Fangraphs’ projected standings also believe the Rockies will be backsliding in 2018, to an 80-82 record. There are a couple of reasons to think both sites will be right about their 4th place prediction:
This PECOTA projection highlights a concern among Rockies fans about the state of the offense. According to PECOTA, the Rockies will slash .259/.314/.422 this season, mediocre at best. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon are the predictable top two here, with projected WARPs of 3.5 and 2.1 respectively. (Arenado earned 6.8 WARP last year.) The pitching has improved, and closer Wade Davis is projected to have the best ERA among the staff at 2.99. Additionally, PECOTA claims the pitching staff and the offense will both provide exactly 10.9 WARP; in the rest of the division, only the Diamondbacks are expected to get more out of their pitchers than their hitters.
The NL West
The Rockies will be facing off against possibly the toughest division in baseball next year as well, with the already-juggernaut Dodgers and the very-good Diamondbacks being joined by the Giants, who have made some big moves this offseason. PECOTA has those Giants leapfrogging into third in the division.
Is this cause for alarm? The games aren’t played on paper, and no projection system is 100% accurate. Last year, PECOTA predicted a 74-88 record for the Rockies. They beat that by thirteen games. And there’s this tweet, from BP editor Craig Goldstein:
If I had to pick one team that PECOTA might be exceedingly low on it would be the Rockies. All the ingredients that PECOTA doesn't love -- potentially dominant bullpen, their best starter had some rough years and PECOTA remembers that, also just seems low on Arenado WARP wise. https://t.co/ZFYHAtaSWZ— Craig Goldstein (@cdgoldstein) February 7, 2018
Rockies fans will hope that he’s right.