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Colorado Rockies 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado

The Rockies finally became relevant last year, breaking a franchise-record-tying string of six straight losing seasons and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009. They won 87 games, the third most in franchise history, and were the second NL Wild Card team. The Rockies now have the bigger challenge of meeting high expectations, quite different from a year ago. 

For that to happen, their young starting pitchers must continue to progress by adding more innings and becoming more consistent while dealing with the rigors of the season. And the bullpen, a crucial part of last season’s step forward, must be as effective as it was in 2017. The defense should again be a huge plus for the Rockies, who will be hoping for improved offense that could come from the continued development of shortstop Trevor Story, a rebound from outfielder/first baseman Ian Desmond and more production from the catching position with the addition of Chris Iannetta.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the ROCKIES

“They’ll have their hands full trying to win a Wild Card again, but they have a chance to be really good. Jon Gray is a potential ace, a big horse with size and stuff who should be durable. Kyle Freeland and German Marquez have a great feel for pitching. Jeff Hoffman is the high-ceiling guy — he’s got a live arm; now his pitching ability has got to catch up with his stuff. Having a good bullpen last year really helped, and adding a dependable guy like Bryan Shaw makes them even better. You know they’ll hit, even though some guys have exaggerated home-road splits because everything falls in at Coors with the outfielders playing so deep. Charlie Blackmon really benefits from Coors, but Nolan Arenado is a superstar everywhere. Ian Desmond is a good rebound candidate; he’s a winning player, and his makeup is through the roof. Trevor Story seems more like a third baseman; he doesn’t have the quickness of a shortstop, and his power bat is offset by a lot of bad at-bats.”

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Road warriors

The Rockies lost six of their final eight road games but finished 41–40 on the road, just the second time they have had a winning road record in their 25 seasons. They also went 41–40 on the road in 2009, but in the ensuing seven seasons went 210–357 (.370) away from home.

Split Story

Shortstop Trevor Story hit .301/.380/.654 against left-handed pitchers but just .216/.281/.386 against righthanders. His 24 home runs made Story the only Rockies shortstop to hit 20 or more homers in each of his first two seasons in the majors.

More to the Story

Story struck out 191 times in 2017, the most in the NL last season and the most in franchise history — far surpassing the previous single-season record of 157 set by Andres Galarraga in 1996.

Strong Finish

Jon Gray allowed three or fewer earned runs in his final 13 regular-season starts, a span in which he went 7–3 with a 2.64 ERA in 78.1 innings with 16 walks and 80 strikeouts. It’s the second-longest such streak in franchise history. Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three or fewer earned runs in 14 consecutive starts in 2010.

Rookie Trio

 Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela and German Marquez each had 10 or more wins, marking the first time in franchise history that three rookie pitchers each recorded double-digit victories. Marquez also set a franchise record for a rookie with six straight quality starts, going 4–0 with a 2.95 ERA in that span from July 7-Aug. 8.

Busy Man

Reliever Bryan Shaw made at least 70 appearances in each of his five years with Cleveland, and in the past four seasons, he led the majors twice and the American League three times in appearances.

Second-half Surge

 From June 15 through the end of the season, Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu led the National League with a .335 batting average, going 114-for-340 over that span. He finished seventh in the league with a .310 average. 

Fading into Fall

The Rockies finished 87–75, breaking a franchise-record-tying string of six straight losing seasons and improving by 12 wins over 2016. But they had a 41–23 record and a two-and-a-half-game lead on June 10 before going 46–52 the balance of the season. 

Projected Lineup

CF     Charlie Blackmon (L)
2B     DJ LeMahieu (R)
3B     Nolan Arenado (R)
RF    Gerardo Parra (L)
LF     Ian Desmond (R)
SS     Trevor Story (R)
1B     Ryan McMahon (L)
C      Chris Iannetta (R)
C      Tony Wolters (L) 
INF   Pat Valaika (R)
OF    Raimel Tapia (L)
OF    David Dahl (L)
RHP     Jon Gray
LHP     Tyler Anderson
RHP     Chad Bettis

RHP     German Marquez
LHP     Kyle Freeland
RHP     Wade Davis
LHP     Jake McGee
RHP     Bryan Shaw
RHP     Adam Ottavino

LHP     Mike Dunn
LHP     Chris Rusin
RHP     Carlos Estevez

RHP     Scott Oberg