It’s that time of year again...Purple Row staff predictions! Oh, and it’s Rockies Opening Day. The Rockies will host the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers for a 2:10 p.m. first pitch that will be nationally televised on ESPN. This also happens to be the Rockies first true Opening Day at Coors Field since April 1, 2011, rather than just a “home opener.” With that in mind, let’s see how the staff thinks the Boys on Blake will fare this season.
Let’s start with a win total
In last year’s pandemic-shortened 60-game season, the majority of the staff predicted that the Rockies would finish 27-33 (.450). The team would go on to have a record of 26-34 (.433).
This year, the Rockies are poised to play a full 162-game season. After trading away Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals, among other things, the staff is fairly pessimistic.
The 17 (!) responses were all over the map, but within one or two games of each other overall. Nobody predicted the Rockies would have a winning record in 2021. The majority (three) think the Rockies will finish 72-90 (.444). The most optimistic response was 79-83 (.488) and the most pessimistic was 62-100 (.383).
National League winners
The staff as a whole was very in sync when it came to division and wild card winners.
Starting with the NL West, four respondents predicted that the San Diego Padres would finally dethrone the Dodgers and win the division. However, that still leaves 13 that predicted the Dodgers would continue their streak and win a ninth straight title.
For the Wild Cards, the staff was much more in sync than last year. In 2021, a whopping 14 people picked the Padres to earn a Wild Card spot. The next highest total went to the Mets, who garnered nine votes. The Braves earned four and the Dodgers earned three, and the Marlins, Phillies, Cardinals, and Nationals all received one vote apiece.
American League winners
The Rockies are once again playing the AL West in 2021 for their interleague schedule. The Houston Astros are predicted to win by the smallest majority of any other division (52.9% of voters). Nearly 1⁄4 of the staff predicted that the Los Angeles Angels would finally win, while just under 20% of respondents believe it will be the Oakland Athletics. One person believes that this will be the year of the Seattle Mariners!
In the AL Central, just over 80% of the staff believes that the South Side Sox will take the crown this year for the first time since 2008. Just over 10% believe that the Minnesota Twins will threepeat as AL Central champs, and one person believes that the Cleveland Baseball Team will take the crown.
The most overwhelming majority of Purple Row staff members believe that the New York Yankees will be the kings of the AL East, garnering 15 out of 17 votes (88.2%). The other two votes were split one apiece between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays.
For the AL Wild Cards, the staff was much more split. All of the teams received at least one vote except for the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tiger, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. Nearly 60% of the staff believe that the Minnesota Twins will be a Wild Card team and just under half the staff believes that the Rays will make it in a Wild Card. The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and Toronto Blue Jays also garnered multiple votes.
The pennant races and World Series really split the Purple Row staff. 70% believe that the NL Pennant will belong to the NL West — either to the Dodgers or Padres. The other 30% was split between the Braves and Cardinals.
On the AL side, 88% of the staff voted for either the Yankees or the White Sox to take the crown. The Angels and Twins also garnered a vote apiece.
The overall World Series was split six ways. The Dodgers and White Sox earned votes from approximately 1⁄4 of the staff each, while the Braves earned the next most attention. The Cardinals, Padres, and Yankees earned two votes each.
For individual awards, things were fairly evenly split for NL MVP. Fernando Tatís Jr. received the most votes (5) but Juan Soto was right on his heels with three votes. Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Ronald Acuña Jr. received two votes apiece, as did Nolan Arenado. Bryce Harper received a single vote.
On the AL side, the votes once again went overwhelmingly to Mike Trout (12). José Ramírez and DJ LeMahieu each received two votes, and Shohei Ohtani earned one.
For pitchers, Jacob deGrom is the overwhelming Purple Row favorite to win the NL Cy Young, receiving nine votes. Walker Buehler received the next highest total with four, and Aaron Nola, Jack Flaherty, Trevor Bauer, and Yu Darvish each received a single vote.
On the AL side, the staff was pretty evenly split. Gerrit Cole edged out Lucas Giolito, earning eight votes to Gio’s seven. Hyun-jin Ryu and Shane Bieber each received a single vote.
Now is the fun part of the staff predictions! 2021 is shaping up to be another weird year, so the predictions are still off the wall!
Trevor Story was a big topic in our predictions. Multiple people thought they thought he would not stay with the Rockies past this year, either through a mid-season trade (to the Angels, as two people predicted) or by entering the free agent market following the season after rejecting a qualifying offer from the Rockies. One person predicted that Story would sign a long-term deal and that the team would build around him. In non-trade news, Story was also predicted by one staffer to have a 30/30 season.
Unsurprisingly, there were also many predictions about Nolan Arenado and his new team in St. Louis. One person predicted that the Cardinals would not make the playoffs, despite their new addition, and another predicted that the Rockies would have a better record than the Redbirds. Another predicted that Arenado would opt out of his contract and leave the Cardinals at the end of the season.
More locally, two up-and-coming players caught multiple staffers’ eyes. Raimel Tapia was predicted by three separate people to hit for the cycle (on June 29 in order: double, home run, triple, single), win the batting title, and have a 20/20 season. Josh Fuentes was predicted by one person to become the Rockies full-time starting third baseman and by another to make the All-Star team. Other notable local predictions included a 20/20 season for Garrett Hampson, a Top 10 Cy Young finish for Germán Márquez, and a 50-home run season for C.J. Cron (which would propel the Rockies into the Wild Card race, but they would ultimately one game short of a playoff spot).
Outside of Coors Field, Purple Rowers offered up a plethora of predictions. They included:
- No pitcher across all of baseball will toss 200+ innings.
- John Means will throw a perfect game
- MLB will again see a Triple Crown winner
- Shohei Ohtani wins 13 games, hits 25 homers, and finishes Top 3 in AL MVP voting
- The Padres will go 23-5 in April
Some of these bold predictions will come true and we’ll all wish we had come up with them ourselves. But either way, baseball is back everyone! Happy Opening Day!