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The Rockies were awful with the bases loaded in 2022

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, December 26, 2022

Look, I know it’s the holidays and it’s a time to rejoice and spend time with family to get away from the harsh truths of reality. But we also need to talk about the Colorado Rockies, and harsh truths were a theme in 2022.

So let’s keep this short and sweet: the Rockies were absolutely abysmal with the bases loaded in 2022.

This excellent graphic by Jay Cuda breaking down each MLB team’s league-rank based on every bases-occupied situation sent me down a proverbial rabbit hole. The image is pretty straight-forward for the Rockies, showing the team performed competently in most situations…except for bases-loaded where you see more red than a blood sample.

The lineup ranked 25th or worse in every category except walks drawn (18th) with the bags chucked, resulting in an anemic 71 runs scored in 111 plate appearances. They were one of two teams to not hit a grand slam last season (the Washington Nationals being the other) and produced a 51.3% GB% in this situation, resulting in more GIDP (8) than sacrifice flies (7) on the season.

All of this resulted in a .606 OPS over 111 plate appearances, firmly in the bottom-five of baseball. But the real icing on the cake was their 56 wRC+, which was second-worst in the league ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies who produced just a 36 wRC+ in 131 PA’s.

Those Phillies reached the World Series, though, so a wild variance in such a small sample is not meant to represent a team’s overall success. Rather, it’s an odd rate of failure from the Rockies that was such an outlier it sticks out in team history.

Rockies five worst bases-loaded seasons

Year OPS LG Rank wRC+ LG Rank PA LG Rank
Year OPS LG Rank wRC+ LG Rank PA LG Rank
2022 .606 26th 56 29th 111 25th
2010 .668 26th 63 28th 164 12th
2011 .658 19th 67 23rd 163 7th
2005 .699 20th 69 22nd 152 18th
2008 .736 16th 75 24th 167 17th

FanGraphs search parameters only go back to 2002, so while this doesn’t provide a complete history of the Rockies, it shows that 2022 was the worst performance the club has put forth with the bases-loaded. And this was by a fairly large margin, as their OPS was over fifty points worse than their next-worse campaign of 2011.

This was not the case in recent seasons, as Colorado posted a respectable .885 OPS and 111 wRC+ in the 2021 season — along with a highwater mark of 11 grand slams — and even sat at the top of the league in 2019 with 1.008 OPS and second-best 135 wRC+.

But there have been some notable subtractions from those lineups, and the front office is trying to build their offensive identity around different faces moving forward. The first step of that process came last year, and when asked about the shortcomings of the team that finished 68-94 GM Bill Schmidt pointed to poor situational hitting as a main reason.

“We have to play the game better than we do, and that really comes back to situational hitting,” Schmidt said. “That means getting on base, getting the guy over, and getting the guy in.”

As Noah Yingling pointed out in his September column at Rox Pile and the graphic by Jay Cuda illustrate, this blanket statement wasn’t entirely true. The team generated a considerable number of opportunities with runners in scoring position and performed adequately overall with runners on-base…except when they were loaded.

But the good news is they almost certainly will have better luck in 2023 if they just put the ball in the air more often. Their LD% (20.5%), MED% (50%) and Hard% (35.9%) all stood around average-or-better in terms of single-season performances since 2002, and their BB% (6.3%) and K% (21.6%) didn’t stand out as egregious either.

But their GB/FB of 1.82 was the second-worst mark in that era and this was the only recorded season where they didn’t hit a grand slam. It will take a lot of bad luck for the team to be that lousy in 2023, and as long as they emphasize lifting the ball more often there’s no reason to expect they will.

With even the slightest improvement, it feels safe to assume they’ll score four runs on one swing for the first time since September 10, 2021. So that’s something to look forward to as we approach the new year.

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Source: Mets, Carlos Correa ‘working through’ medical issue | ESPN

After Carlos Correa’s 13-year, $350 million agreement with the San Francisco Giants started to fall apart due to concerns with his physical, Correa and agent Scott Boras quickly turned around and agreed to a 12-year, $315 million deal with the New York Mets.

That contract is now also in question due to concerns over the shortstop’s medicals, although it appears the two sides are working to resolve the difference. The issues stem from a plate in Correa’s right leg, which was part of a surgical repair of his fibula after he fractured it sliding into a base in a minor league game in 2014.

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