The Colorado Rockies made the playoffs in 2017. They made the playoffs in 2018. They are in a position to make the playoffs again in 2019. And yet we are still subjected to preview content that assumes the Rockies have just been mashing the ball on offense all these years and getting by with average-to-bad pitching.
There are 30 MLB teams. I get it. There isn’t time to watch every team, and to make up that ground you look at stats. Even with that context established, it’s still hard to read things like “the Rockies pitching staff leaves something to be desired” and reconcile that with the actual story of how the Rockies made the playoffs last year or how they’re in a position to win this year.
Some day the discrediting of offense at Coors Field will catch up with the way that pitchers’ stats are analyzed. To Bill Baer’s credit in this preview, he at least acknowledges that Coors throws a wrench in for these pitchers. As for the rest of the preview, Baer notes that it’s the Dodgers’ to lose, and he’s probably not wrong.
The Rockies will look to certain guys to bounce back in the bullpen and pick up the slack for underperformers and those who left, such as Adam Ottavino. Luke Zahlmann takes a look at who needs to be better in relief in this article. What jumps out right away is that they are also the guys in whom the Rockies have invested some real money. I presume that will be a trend in Rockies season previews coming up.
Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee and Mike Dunn all signed multi-year deals. They have all disappointed. Imagine what a difference it would make if even two of the three got closer to form. We can take comfort in the fact that those types of turnarounds are at least more likely in the bullpen. Zahlmann analyzes what those improvements would look like for these key relievers.
You didn’t need this article to know that the Rockies’ catchers need to be better this coming season. Chris Iannetta has a role as a stabilizing presence, but a bigger role is there for the taking for either Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy. It seems fair to say Murphy is the one who could have that impact on offense if he got on track at the big league level.
Paul Sporer has the Rockies checking in at no. 21 on this power rankings list for teams’ catchers. I honestly thought it might be lower. That does still find them the lowest among National League West teams, for whatever that is worth.
That’s Tyler Anderson, who took the mound in Cactus League action against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. It’s been a bit bumpy this spring, as evidenced by the two home runs Anderson allowed in six innings of work. He was hardly a disaster, however, as Thomas Harding notes in this write-up, but there’s enough competition in the rotation he will need to be better.
He will indeed need to be better, and that’s for a spot at the back of the rotation. That’s just one more reminder about the strong state of the pitching staff entering this season.
Also in this game, an 8-7 loss, Nolan Arenado was among a trio of Rockies who hit home runs. The aforementioned Chris Iannetta added a long homer and Daniel Murphy went deep.
Shoutout to former Rockies great Descalso in this article. Sam Miller looks at the ways we assess hitters in an outstanding piece that serves as a good reminder that the abundance of statistics in baseball need not be something we get mad about. It can just be a different way to look at things and an entry point to interesting conversations about this silly game that we love.