If the headline of this article didn’t give it away, the 2022 postseason is just around the corner and the Colorado Rockies will not be participating once again. On the other hand, plenty of former Rockies permeate the postseason and offer some options for your playoff allegiance. So, without further ado, let’s check in on old friends as they chase down a championship ring.
St. Louis Cardinals: Nolan Arenado & Corey Dickerson
We’ll go ahead and get this one out of the way, but 2022 marked the first time that Nolan Arenado managed to win a division title. In addition to the efforts of his teammates, Arenado turned in another MVP-caliber season, batting .293/.358/.535 thus far with 30 home runs and 101 RBI in 145 games. The defense has remained elite and Rockies fans may relish watching Arenado raise the Commissioner’s Trophy while mourning the fact that he isn’t in purple.
Corey Dickerson on the other hand has had a quiet, yet solid, year with the Cardinals. The former Rockies outfielder provided a quality, veteran bat for the Cardinals' offense. Across 91 games with St. Louis, Dickerson has a .266 AVG and an OPS of .688 with five home runs and 30 RBI. While he wasn’t the main staple, with younger players getting more reps, Dickerson was the exact type of bench bat that playoff teams need, and Dickerson has continued to provide a quality plate approach that could very well make a difference in the postseason.
Toronto Blue Jays: Raimel Tapia
If you had told me that Ramiel Tapia would be a helpful piece for the Toronto Blue Jays as they head to the postseason once again, I’d have called you crazy because we got Randal Grichuk. Not only has Tapia had a decent year in Toronto, but he has also been a helpful piece in that lineup. Tapia was viewed as a typical fourth outfielder for the Blue Jays, but injuries and circumstances forced him into the lineup more often than not and he made the most of his opportunities.
Across 123 games, Tapia batted .263/.287/.383 with a career-high 51 RBI to go along with seven home runs. Most significant is that he is no longer the ground ball king, and actually hits some more line drives and fly balls, both of which are very helpful to his game. Even if for the sake of pure irony, Tapia being in the postseason is a player to keep an eye on and cheer for.
New York Mets: Adam Ottavino
Since 2017, every team that Adam Ottavino has been on has made it into the postseason. As a primary setup reliever for the New York Mets, Ottavino has turned in one of his best seasons yet. Across 63 innings in 64 games, Ottavino has a 2.14 ERA, 76 strikeouts, and a 2.1 BB/9, and even has three saves for good measure. His slider is as filthy as ever and he will play a key role for the Mets to preserve a narrow lead and get the ball to Edwin Diaz. Ottavino is one of the best relievers in Rockies history, and watching him come through with some clutch pitching for any team is something worth cheering for.
New York Yankees: DJ LeMahieu
If the Yankees manage to win the World Series this season, I will be happy for just one player on their team. The loss of DJ LeMahieu signaled the beginning of the end for the Rockies' window of contention, and while he rose to prominence, his former team sunk to the bottom. Despite some injuries and a bit of a down year for LeMahieu, he remains an important piece of the Yankees lineup. He has a modest .260 AVG this season to go along with his .735 OPS with 46 RBI and 12 home runs.
His greatest asset remains the ability to put the ball in play, limit his strikeouts and draw as many walks as he can. The Yankees have also made a point of utilizing his position versatility by having him split time at both corner infield spots as well as second base. No matter where they put him, LeMahieu is going to hit and it’s a talent that is missed in Colorado. Even if you root against the Yankees, you can at least root for an old friend to do well.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Tyler Anderson & Yency Almonte
If you enjoy chaos, you can go all in on a pair of pitchers with the Dodgers that once called Colorado home. Tyler Anderson had turned a new leaf in Los Angeles after signing a deal to be a swingman in the bullpen and has since turned into one of their best starters this season. With a career-low 2.54 ERA and a career-high 15 wins, Anderson has done enough to garner some Cy Young considerations in addition to his first All-Star nomination.
Perhaps the most surprising emergence this season has been Yency Almonte. After struggling in the Rockies bullpen last season, he quickly latched onto the Dodgers and has reaped the benefits of their phenomenal development staff. He has become a critical piece of the Dodgers bullpen with a 1.08 ERA in 33 1⁄3 innings and a 3.30 SO/W across 31 games. In a lineup full of stars, two of the critical pieces on the pitching side are two former Rockies.
Atlanta Braves: Tyler Matzek, Collin McHugh, Walt Weiss & Eric Young Sr.
We celebrated the reigning champs last year and we have the same chance in 2022, this time adding Collin McHugh into the Braves mix. McHugh didn’t spend much time with the Rockies, but it’s still nice to see the guys continue to succeed. McHugh has been fantastic with the Braves this season, tossing 68 innings and posting a 2.65 ERA which is good for a 155 ERA+.
Matzek has also continued to excel for the Braves with the lefty a 3.52 ERA in 48 innings. His strikeouts have taken a hit this season, but he has still been a reliable southpaw that the team will no doubt rely upon in the postseason as they look to repeat once again. Of course, we can’t help but root for members of their coaching staff with Walt Weiss and Eric Young Sr. continuing to be quality parts of the leadership that has made the Braves such fearsome competitors.
Seattle Mariners: Tom Murphy, Scott Servais, and Jerry Dipoto
Okay, so there aren’t many players on the Mariners right now that were once with the Rockies. Tom Murphy has been sidelined since May with a shoulder injury, but he has still been a cog in the Seattle machine for several years now. But what I find exciting is that the Seattle manager Scott Servais and their president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto were both Rockies once.
Servais played in just 33 games with Colorado in his penultimate season as a player, but he has been an essential manager for the Mariners. His role has been magnified thanks to the cooperation and unity with Jerry Dipoto, the mastermind behind the rise of the Mariners finally breaking the two-decade playoff drought. Dipoto is a huge proponent of analytics and its role in improving their team but is also rooted in a traditional mindset that in order to be a top team, you need to go out and get top talent. In a way, the Seattle Mariners are what the Rockies could be if they tried. Still, the Mariners are a great team to root for regardless of what former Rockies may be involved.
Maybe next year
Someday the Rockies will make it to the postseason and no longer have to lament seeing former players enjoy way more success elsewhere, but until then, we can look to some old friends to form allegiances as a new era of postseason baseball begins.
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In a move that doesn’t surprise anyone, Charlie Blackmon informed Danielle Allentuck that he intends to exercise his player option for 2023. Blackmon was sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus this past week but is projected to be ready for spring training. Despite a bit of a down year, Blackmon will again try to lead the charge as the Rockies look to get back into a contention.
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On The Farm
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (COL) season concluded on Sept. 28 (Final record: 62-86)
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (COL) season concluded on Sept. 18 (Final record: 34-34)
High-A: Spokane Indians (COL) season concluded on Sept. 11 (Final record: 30-36)
Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (COL) season concluded on Sept. 20 (Final record: 42-24)
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