Halloween seems like an appropriate time to consider some of the scary numbers the 2023 Colorado Rockies accumulated. Think of this as building on Patrick Saunders’ Sunday column, “Numbers paint an ugly picture of state of the franchise.”
It’s a kind of “A Nightmare on Blake Street” with a bunch of data monsters usurping Freddy Krueger’s lead role.
- 163 — That’s the number of home runs the Rockies hit in 2023, which ranks 27th. Yes, that’s for a team that plays half its game at the most offensive-friendly park in baseball. (Coming in first was Atlanta with 307, which means they almost hit twice as many homers as the Rockies did).
- 76 — That’s how many bases the Rockies stole last season. As the Arizona Diamondbacks have shown (166 stolen bases), the new rules give teams with speed an advantage. (The Cincinnati Reds led the league in steals with 190).
- -19.9 — Closely related to stolen bases is the Rockies’ no-good, very bad BsR ranking, which is the worst in baseball. The Rockies will need to improve their base-running going forward. (The highest BsR? 14.8 as earned by the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays.)
- 78 — This number would be the Rockies’ collective wRC+, and it’s the worst in MLB. The offensive woes here are terrifying. (In contrast, Atlanta had the highest team wRC+ at 125).
- 25.5% — The Rockies had the third-highest K% in baseball. (Minnesota’s was worst at 26.6%.) Because of the Coors Effect, the Rockies are always going to strike out more, but this is a nightmare number the team will need to bring down.
- 5.91 — You probably guessed this is the starting rotation’s ERA. Given all the injuries suffered by Rockies pitching, that this number would be high makes sense. However, it will need to be an area of focus for 2024.
- 767.0 — In addition to having a high ERA, the Rockies’ starting rotation threw the third-fewest innings of any rotation in baseball, which is not good. (Oakland and San Francisco threw fewer.) To reduce wear on the bullpen, this is an area the Rockies will address.
- 647.0 — That would be the number of innings the bullpen threw — it’s the seventh-highest in baseball. It’s a monstrous number of innings for a bullpen.
- 5.41 — All those innings took a toll, and the Rockies bullpen ended the season with the highest ERA in MLB.
- 84.1 — Meet your 2023 reliever who threw the most innings, Jake Bird. (He tied with Detroit’s Tyler Holton.) Justin Lawrence was tenth with 75.0. The Rockies will need to be more judicious in their use of relievers or risk burning out their bullpen early.
- $27 million — That’s how much the Rockies will play Kris Bryant in 2024. Hopefully, next year, Bryant will be healthy and productive. For the last two seasons, however, this has not been the case. With five years remaining, unless Bryant is able to remain healthy, this is a nightmare contract.
- $15 million — You guessed it: Charlie Blackmon’s one-year extension salary. Should the Rockies keep Blackmon on the roster? Yes because they have a young team, and Blackmon provides leadership. Is $15 million too much? Also, yes. Between Bryant’s and Blackmon’s contracts, the Rockies have limited their financial flexibility.
- 59-103 — This one’s too easy: The Rockies’ 2023 record. Is it understandable? Well, yes, given the injuries to the starting rotation and the number of rookies who were called up. Still 100 losses is a lot, and it points to some fundamental problems.
Feel free to add your own scary numbers in the comments — I’m sure I’ve missed some. Bill Schmidt and the Rockies front office will need to be busy during the offseason to avoid a 2024 sequel to the horror movie of the 2023 season.
Best Halloween Costume — Baseball Edition
This one’s a no-brainer.
What should the Rockies look to address in the offseason? Thomas Harding has some suggestions, including strengthening the starting rotation and possibly making trades. (Brendan Rodgers is again emerging as a possible candidate.) Harding also wonders what the Rockies will do about their catching and bullpen situations. After the World Series ends, expect the Rockies to be active.
Actually, the National League Champion Arizona Diamondbacks did not do a rebuild, a point David Roth highlights in this piece. As general manager Mike Hazen told the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro, “The goal was to contend the whole time. Everybody was like, ‘Oh, the Diamondbacks are going to rebuild.’ We didn’t rebuild in 2021. We stunk. That’s the facts.” That the D-backs did not do a complete rebuild allowed them to return to postseason contention faster.
Having entered the 100-loss club, the Rockies are drawing some comparisons to the D-backs; however, there are more differences than similarities between the two teams.
Truly, I realize this isn’t a D-backs fan site, but I have been struck throughout the playoffs by the differences between the D-backs’ front office and coaching staff and that of the Rockies. Jake Oliver describes a media availability Hazen had during the World Sereis. In it, he answers questions about roster building, Torey Lovullo, and a range of other issues. The contrast with the Rockies’ approach is striking.
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