Saturday marked the 33rd annual Friends of Baseball Breakfast of Champions event in Greeley, which was emceed by none other than Thomas Harding and brought out Rockies’ owner Dick Monfort. Not only did Monfort predict 94 wins for the Rockies in 2020 (more on that later), but he finally addressed the thing that has had fans clamoring for answers: the rumored rift between Nolan Arenado and GM Jeff Bridich. Harding outlines five major takeaways from the interview with Monfort, including that he thinks the feud has been “blown out of proportion” and that “long relationships have rocky times” (Bridich was the farm director when Nolan was in Double- and Triple-A). While it’s nice to have Monfort break his silence and address the issues at hand, there are still more questions than answers going into Spring Training in a few short days and only time will tell us if those get answered.
Aside from finally addressing the Arenado-Bridich feud rumors, Monfort also made his bold prediction of the year: 94 wins for the 2020 Rockies. That is especially bold, considering that the team won only 71 games last year. Now, Monfort backs up his theory by saying he had their analytics department crunch numbers and that’s the number they came up with. He also likened 2019 to the fluke year in 2008, between the 2007 World Series team and the 2009 Playoff team. That team won 78 games after winning 90 in 2007 and then going on to win a club record 92 in 2009. If they do indeed win 94 games in 2020, that would again be a club record. However, even if they don’t, Monfort also said he at least knows that the team will have more fun and hopes they go on another magical Rocktober run like they did in 2007. Both could absolutely be true, but I personally am not as optimistic as Monfort is. Winning is fun, and I just don’t know if the Rockies will do do that 94 times in 2020 unless literally everything goes right for them.
Noah Yingling takes Monfort’s optimism one step further, suggesting that the 2020 Rockies are the second-best in the NL West. That might be an even bolder prediction than 94 wins, considering the moves made particularly by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He uses bWAR to compare starting lineups, bench players, starting rotations, and bullpens and comes to find that the Rockies are similar to the Padres but not quite as good as the Dodgers or Diamondbacks, who are also very similar. Theoretically, depending on how things shake out, this could mean that the Rockies could finish in second place in the NL West. Again, if everything goes right.
Continuing with the theme of optimism, Aaron Hurt talks about how the Rockies could accomplish something that hasn’t happened since the Blake Street Bombers: set a club record with five players hitting over 30 home runs in a season. Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit 30+ home runs on a nearly annual basis and Charlie Blackmon has 29+ every year for the last four. So who would be the other two to round out the five? Hurt suggest Ryan McMahon (24 home runs in 141 games in 2019, including limited at-bats against LHP) and David Dahl (15 home runs in 100 games in 2019). Of course, there are plenty of reasons that this might not happen (including the possibly “inevitable” Nolan Arenado trade), but the possibility could give fans a reason to tune in to the 2020 Rockies.
Daniel Murphy was...not good in 2019. He wasn’t terrible, he just underperformed. So that begs the big question: what will Daniel Murphy look like in 2020? Patrick Saunders dives into Murphy’s subpar 2019 and, after comparing him to such mysteries as the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, and the Loch Ness Monster, gives his take on how he thinks Murphy will perform in 2020. Unfortunately, he appears to have just as much faith as the rest of us — not much.