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Colorado Rockies 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Colorado Rockies 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

Colorado Rockies 2021: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

The Rockies stumbled to a 26–34 record in pandemic-shortened 2020 and avoided last place in the NL West by one game. More offense is a must if the Rockies are to improve. That may be tough after trading their best player, Nolan Arenado, to the Cardinals over the offseason in a cost-cutting measure. The Rockies do have another star remaining on the left side of the infield in Trevor Story, though, who at 28 should be entering his prime.

The Rockies' talented young rotation is a foundation necessary for success. But their bullpen was woeful last year and must become significantly better.

Whatever unfolds on the field will do so against the backdrop of Arenado's departure. He expressed the desire to play for a contender and before last season proclaimed that he had been betrayed by GM Jeff Bridich. Will Story, who will make $18.5 million this year and can be a free agent after the season, remain with the team long-term? The Rockies' biggest drama in 2021 might occur off the field.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Rockies

"They expect to contend, but that's sort of been their problem — they always seem to overrate what they've got. They had three starters who controlled the games last year in German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, and Kyle Freeland. Every year, though, it seems like one of their guys really stumbles, and last year it was Jon Gray. Their offense has some real standout guys, of course — Trevor Story is a presence. He's a terrific shortstop with a strong arm; some guys are slicker, but he's got the grit and athleticism you want to see, and he hits the ball so hard. Raimel Tapia really surprised me; I thought he'd expand the zone against lefties, but he didn't, and he's turned himself into a nice everyday player. Charlie Blackmon really fell off after that great start, but you know what you're getting. This is a team that needs to be honest with itself — they're not going to contend, and they probably need a fresh set of eyes to give an honest self-evaluation and start over."

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Beyond the Box Score

Limited ROI After the 2017 season, the Rockies committed $106 million on three-year contracts for relievers Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, and Wade Davis, none of whom made it through last season. Shaw and McGee each signed for $27 million and were both released July 17 during the second spring training. Davis, who received a $52 million deal, missed five weeks with a right shoulder strain, went 0–1 with a 20.77 ERA in five games, and was released Sept. 21.

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2021 Athlon Sports Baseball Preview

Southpaw shortage

The Rockies used two left-handed relievers all season and none in September. James Pazos and Phillip Diehl, the two lefty relievers they used, each appeared in six games. Pazos' ERA was 16.88 and Diehl's was 10.50.


Power outage Rockies catchers ranked last in the National League with two home runs, both by Elías Díaz on Sept. 15 and Sept. 26. Drew Butera and Tony Wolters did not homer. The three catchers made a total of 225 plate appearances, also combining for eight doubles and a .285 slugging percentage that was the worst in the National League.


Hot start Charlie Blackmon finished with a .303 average. He batted .500 (34-for-68) in the first 17 games of the season, becoming the fifth player in the last 50 years to bat .500 through his first 17 games and first since Barry Bonds in 2004. But from that point on, Blackmon batted .216 (33-for-153).


Coors ace Antonio Senzatela went 3–0 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts at Coors Field, improving his career record there to 21–9 with a 4.94 ERA in 46 games, with 34 starts. His .700 winning percentage at Coors Field is the second highest by a Rockies starter at home (minimum 30 starts), trailing only Jorge De La Rosa (53–20, .726).


Not exactly clutch Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, the Rockies' two best hitters, combined to hit .191 with runners in scoring position. Arenado batted .175 (10-for-57) in those situations with a .559 OPS. Story's average with RISP was .207 (12-for-58) with a .523 OPS.


Home-road symmetry Daniel Bard faced 53 batters at home and allowed one home run. He also faced 53 batters on the road and allowed one home run. Both were solo homers and came in the ninth inning — by Anthony Bemboom of the Angels at Coors Field on Sept. 11 and by Cody Bellinger at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 22 to win the game for the Dodgers.

Projected Lineup

LINEUP

LF     Raimel Tapia (L)

2B     Brendan Rodgers (R)

RF     Charlie Blackmon (L)

SS     Trevor Story (R)

3B     Ryan McMahon (L)

1B     Josh Fuentes (R)

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CF     Sam Hilliard (L)

C      Elias Diaz (L)

BENCH

C      Dom Nunez (L)

UT    Garrett Hampson (R)

OF    Yonathan Diaz (R)

INF   Chris Owings (R)

1B    C.J. Cron (R)

ROTATION

RHP     German Marquez

LHP     Kyle Freeland

RHP     Antonio Senzatela

RHP     Jon Gray

LHP     Austin Gomber

BULLPEN

RHP     Daniel Bard (C)

RHP     Scott Oberg

RHP     Mychal Givens

RHP     Carlos Estevez

RHP     Jairo Diaz

RHP     Yency Almonte

RHP     Robert Stephenson

RHP    Jordan Sheffield

2021 Prediction: 5th in NL West