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Colorado Rockies 2019: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado

Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado

The Rockies won 91 games last season. They’re coming off consecutive appearances in the postseason for the first time in the team’s 26-year history. While they are clearly on the rise, the Rockies, swept by the Brewers in the Division Series last year, are looking to go deeper into October this year and very well might — if the offense improves.


They set franchise lows last year with their .256 average overall and .225 mark on the road. They had a .322 on-base percentage, the second lowest in franchise history, and a plus-35 run differential, the worst of any of the teams in the postseason. GM Jeff Bridich said the offseason priority was to improve the offense. To that end, the Rockies signed Daniel Murphy to a two-year, $24 million deal and will have him play first base. Murphy will add a veteran presence to both the lineup and clubhouse and has been very successful in the postseason. His arrival will free up versatile Ian Desmond to move from first base to, in all probability, center field, where he has ample experience. The lineup will revolve around third baseman Nolan Arenado and shortstop Trevor Story, who provide middle-of-the-lineup power and exceptional defense.


Young starters Kyle Freeland and German Marquez made huge strides last season and will anchor a rotation that should be more formidable if talented Jon Gray, who has power stuff, can be more consistent. The bullpen will be better if Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw rebound from poor seasons. Regardless, Scott Oberg and Seunghwan Oh, key parts of the relief corps last season, will help weather the loss of free agent Adam Ottavino. 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Rockies

“If anyone can challenge the Dodgers, this is the team. This is their last year before Nolan Arenado hits free agency, and they’re in win-mode. They’ve spent a lot of bad money here — Ian Desmond, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee — so it was nice to see they still had room to sign Daniel Murphy. That’s a great pickup — he’ll play some second, play some first and absolutely rake at Coors Field. Good luck facing Charlie Blackmon, Murphy, Arenado and Trevor Story. That’s as good a top four as you’ll find in the game — although it does fall off quickly after that. Their starting pitching carried them at times last year. Kyle Freeland was a master on the corners, and German Marquez really came into his own. I don’t think Jon Gray can ever be the No. 1 they hoped for; he’s just too inconsistent for me, and hard to trust in big games. They paid a lot of money to Wade Davis, and he looked really good down the stretch; he stopped walking people and dominated.”

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Beyond the Box Score

Very Average For the first time in their 26-year history, the Rockies did not have a player hit .300 last season. The team leader was Nolan Arenado with a .297 average. Nine Rockies players combined to win 11 National League batting titles before 2018. During that span, the Rockies had 61 seasons in which a player hit .300, including five in 1996.

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Road Warriors

The Rockies set a franchise record by going 44–38 on the road last season. It was just the third time in club history that the Rockies had a winning record on the road. They went 41–40 away from Coors Field in both 2009 and 2017. Their three winning seasons on the road are among the five seasons the Rockies have reached the postseason, always as a Wild Card team. 


Solid at Home The Rockies went 47–34 at Coors Field, their most wins at home since 2010 (52), but they got there the hard way. After an eight-game losing streak at home ended June 19, the Rockies went 36–14 (.720) at Coors, the best home winning percentage in the NL in that stretch.  

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Good Story Trevor Story last season joined Francisco Lindor in becoming the first shortstops in major league history with at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 stolen bases. Story is the third Rockies player to reach those plateaus, joining outfielders Ellis Burks in 1996 and Larry Walker in 1997. Story’s 85 extra-base hits enabled him to become the third shortstop to lead the National League in that category, joining Hall of Famers Ernie Banks (1955, 1957-58, 1960) and Honus Wagner (1903-04, 1907-09).


Up and Down When he succeeded, Jon Gray was exceptionally good. And when he struggled, Gray was very poor. He went 12–9 with a 5.12 ERA in 31 starts. In his 12 wins, Gray had a 1.94 ERA. In his nine losses, Gray’s ERA was 10.94. Gray was involved in 10 no-decisions and had a 5.60 ERA in those outings. 


Dominant Lefthander Kyle Freeland limited left-handed hitters to an average of .185 (29-for-157) and held them to a .100 average (5-for-50) in the second half of the season with no extra-base hits allowed.


Superstar Arenado finished a career-high third last season in voting for the National League Most Valuable Player. It was the third straight year Arenado has finished in the top five in voting for the award. He was fifth in 2016 and fourth in 2017. Last year, he became the second player in major league history with at least 35 doubles and 35 home runs in four consecutive seasons, joining Albert Belle (1993-1996). 


Projected Lineup

LINEUP

LF  Charlie Blackmon (L)
CF  Ian Desmond (R)
1B  Daniel Murphy (L)
3B  Nolan Arenado (R)
SS  Trevor Story (R)
RF  David Dahl (L)
C   Chris Iannetta (R)
2B  Ryan McMahon (L)

BENCH

C    Tony Wolters (L)
INF  Garrett Hampson (R)
OF   Raimel Tapia (L)
OF   Noel Cuevas (R)

ROTATION

LHP  Kyle Freeland
RHP  German Marquez
RHP  Jon Gray
LHP  Tyler Anderson
RHP  Antonio Senzatela

BULLPEN

RHP  Wade Davis (C)
RHP  Scott Oberg
LHP  Jake McGee
RHP  Seunghwan Ho
RHP  Bryan Shaw
LHP  Chris Rusin
RHP  Chad Bettis
LHP  Mike Dunn

2019 PREDICTION

2nd NL West