The 2018 Rockies were a good analogy for life: they were at times the most fun and exciting thing, sometimes they were brutally infuriating, and other times they made me sad. This makes both baseball and life the beautiful, complicated thing that it is. Sometimes Bryan Shaw made you want to throw your phone at the wall and other times Ryan McMahon made you cry tears of joy while you and thousands of others celebrated with their tweets. Sometimes, with a team like the 2018 Rockies, it is important to take a step back and remember that even though we love the amazing game of baseball, it is just a game. The entire world is not falling apart because Jon Gray fell apart, the entire world is not going to fix itself because the Rockies offense woke up.
After a good rest, calming down my anger from the NLDS, I realized I need to be proud of the team for making it that far. After years of having the bitter feeling of losing, this young new pitching core put the Rockies in the forefront of Colorado sports, where they should be. Kyle Freeland is hopefully a generational talent, already one of the best pitchers in franchise history and had the best performance of any Rockies pitcher in history. German Marquez has been a sight to behold, proving that Colorado can and should have Cy Young quality pitchers. Scott Oberg, after being sent down to AAA became the quality pitcher the Rockies needed, helping them through a lot of tough situations. Let’s not forget about the renaissance of Adam Ottavino, who should be Reliever of the Year.
The glaring weakness, no matter how poor the bullpen got for the Rockies, was the offense. Trevor Story had a breakout year, becoming one of the best at his position in the process, but that was the only consistently bright spot in the Rockies offense. Nolan Arenado had a slightly streaky season that was not just quite up to what we expect from the best third baseman in baseball. Besides that, the truly glaring flaws that must be corrected in the offseason lie at Catcher and First Base. There have to be upgrades over Ian Desmond (81 WRC+, -0.7 fWAR) and the various catchers Chris Iannetta (0.4 fWAR, .730 OPS), Tony Wolters (.577 OPS, .261 wOBA) and the brief cameos from Tom Murphy and Drew Butera. When we go back to look at the 2018 Rockies, this is what will stand out when discussing its shortcomings and how lucky they were.
When I think about this team, a wave of emotions crashes down. I can remember times when I almost threw my phone across the room in anger, times where I collapsed out of relief, and times when I jumped for joy. That is what keeps me loving baseball and loving the Rockies: every game is a new adventure waiting to be completed. Losing this year hurt, especially by such a wide margin in the NLDS, but next year could be even better. As much as I hoped the Rockies would make it to the playoffs in March, I truly thought they were a .500 team. Well, that “.500 team” still won 91 games, so it could be worse. I am both dreading the start to 2019 and counting down the seconds to it. Prove everyone wrong again, Rockies. I dare you.
Featured Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenzbie/29704120578 (Jennifer Linnea Photography)