Photo courtesy of milehighsports.com
By Ross Sutton
The Rockies had a good year in 2017, as they went 87-75 and made the playoffs as the second wild card team in the National League. Unfortunately, they lost to the Diamondbacks by a score of 11-8 in the wild card game. The Rockies were one of the only clubs willing to shell out big money for talented free agents this offseason as they signed relief pitchers Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee to three-year deals early in the offseason. The Rockies also re-signed outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to a one-year deal for $8M and signed catcher Chris Iannetta to replace Jonathan Lucroy, who signed with the Athletics this offseason. Other players that signed elsewhere in free agency this offseason include pitchers Pat Neshek, Tyler Chatwood and Greg Holland and first baseman Mark Reynolds still has not signed with a team. The Rockies’ moves were the biggest story in the beginning of the offseason as they gave Davis, Shaw, and McGee 3-year deals worth $52M, $27M, and $27M, respectively. This large investment in their bullpen should pay dividends for the Rockies, as they have a young group of starting pitchers that will benefit from having an elite bullpen supporting them.
On paper, I would say that the Rockies have improved since last year. They now have one of the best bullpens in the league and the young group of starting pitchers should be able to take a step forward in their development. The strongest part of the Rockies team is their offense, which has been one of the best in the league over the last few seasons. The two catalysts of Colorado’s offense are third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielder Charlie Blackmon. Arenado has had 130+ RBIs in each of the last three seasons and Blackmon has hit over .320 in the last two seasons so these two are clearly key to the Rockies’ success. I think the investment in the bullpen will translate into success for the Rockies in 2018 and the offense should be as good as it has been in years past. Therefore, I predict that the Rockies will finish the season with a 89-73 record and will be competing against the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Cardinals and possibly the Giants, Mets, or Phillies for a wild card spot. I believe that they will be better than these other teams and will clinch one of the two wild cards spots in 2018 but I don’t think they will be able to keep up with the Dodgers, Cubs, or Nationals later in the playoffs.
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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