The 2017 season did not end the way the Rockies may have hoped it would. They had a successful regular season and finished the year with a 87-75 record. They would than clinch the 2nd NL Wild Card spot where they would face their division rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2017 NL Wild Card Game. The Rockies ended up losing the game by a score of 11-8 and the Rockies were teeing off in early October. They are now coming into the 2018 season with one of the best offenses in baseball, a player at the hot corner who has one of the best gloves we have ever seen, but have a hole that separates them from being good to great. This hole is of course, the starting rotation.
The Rockies starting rotation last season was good, but was nothing special and does not have a name that jumps out at you. The rotation is led by Jon Gray, a righty from Oklahoma who impressed last season finishing with a 10-4 record, but is by no means a true ace. Gray is complimented by one of the feel good stories of 2017, Kyle Freeland. Freeland is a home town boy from Denver who last year during his rookie season, took a no hitter into the 9th for the team he grew up loving. I like him to build off a solid rookie season and think this kid will only get better with time. The Rockies also have veteran Chad Bettis, and a southpaw from Las Vegas in Tyler Anderson, but both have had an tendency to struggle and have shown signs of inconsistency. You can start to see a ongoing theme with this Rockies rotation and the fact that they are inconsistent and don’t have a star on their staff scares me. It also concerns me because Coors Field is the most hitter friendly ball park in the world and professional hitters will jump all over you if you give them an inch in this thin air palace. I think the production of this starting rotation will be the key decider on if this Rockies team will return to the playoffs this year or not and right now, if I was a betting man, I would bet against them.
This is where this team gets dangerous, by way of their sensational defense and downright deadly offense. The Rockies skill players are led by a top 10 player in all of Major League Baseball, Nolan Arenado. Arenado is a superstar and is one of the more under appreciated players on the planet. The fact that he has not won the NL MVP yet in his 5 year career is an absolute farce and I think his 6th season will be the charm. Arenado had a monster 2017 campaign and finished the season with a gold glove award under his belt and a pretty .309 BA that included 37 homers and 130 runs batted in. The Rockies know they can count on Arenado to have a huge season year in and year out and like I said, I am predicting him to bring home the NL MVP in 2018. This Rockies offense is not fully dependent on Arenado however. They also bring out one the better pure hitting CF in the game, Charlie Blackmon. The bearded man that plays center had an historic 2017 season, one in which he batted .331, collected 213 hits, drove in 104 runs and hit 37 homers. It seems like Blackmon and Arenado alone would be a hassle for pitchers to face all summer long and they are, but this Rockies lineup just keeps coming at you. They have a .300 hitter in DJ LaMahieu who can also flash the leather like he is in a super hero movie, Trevor Story, a Texan who has only played one full season but has shown his power in a mighty way and Gerardo Parra, the Venezuelan who can drive in runs by the boat load. This Colorado Rockies lineup is deep and dangerous from top to bottom and pitchers will have to find a way to contain them early in games or this ball club is going to win a lot of games this season.
Overall I think this team is really talented. I think their defense is stellar and offense is uncanny, but due to a lackluster starting rotation, I do not think this year’s team is built for October. Last year they could get away with having mediocre arms because the NL Wild Card race was extremely weak and that will not be the case this year. I have this team finishing with a 83-79 overall record and have them finishing just outside of a playoff spot. This is of course, unless they can sign a big time arm during the middle of the summer and before the trade deadline and who knows, we could be seeing a guy like Noah Syndergaard wearing purple by the end of 2018.