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The Rockies are Stuck in the Middle

Image result for nolan arenado
 by jenniferlinneaphotography 

The Rockies won 6 more games than their run differential would say if they won 85 games like the Pythagorean Win-Loss says they should then they would not have made it to the playoffs. The Colorado Rockies had some serious losses, which affect run differential in a strong way like an 11 run loss to Houston on August 15th. But, this analysis is accurate; watching the Rockies play all season, they were a solid 85 win team. The lineup was streaky, some days they would break out and score double digits and some days they almost get no-hit by Jordan Lyles. I can say the same about every other part of the team honestly, there was little consistency in the team from month to month or even week to week. The Dodgers had a few unexpected rough patches that enabled the Rockies to maintain pace with them at various points of the season, as well as San Fransisco and San Diego not contending and Arizona taking a serious dive in September that has forced them to enter a retooling.

The Dodgers are once again a dominant powerhouse who expect to coast to the division title. Arizona and San Fransisco are actively selling off players to rebuild their farm systems and San Diego is preparing for their young prospects to debut very soon. The Rockies though, they seem to still be figuring out their long-term plans. There is a lot at stake now, with their top prospect nearing the majors and the best player in franchise history is heading to the free market next season.

Nolan Arenado has become easily the best player on the Rockies, as well as one of the most expensive to keep. Next season, assuming he hits the free market it is likely the then 28-year-old will sign a deal around the amount that Manny Machado receives this offseason, perhaps even more. Sadly, it isn’t likely that if he hits the free market he will return to Colorado since the lights of New York, LA and Boston could be too bright for him to refuse. 

This puts the Rockies in a weird place, they have top 100 prospects Colton Welker and Ryan McMahon who can play third base. They are of course, not Nolan Arenado and losing the bat and the glove that he has will no doubt impact the team.

All this, though, will not happen until the end of the 2019 season, so what about the teams’ plans for the next season? Well, there have been clear signs they want to grow and that they want to keep Nolan Arenado in purple pinstripes. There were rumors of the Rockies acquiring either Edwin Encarnacion or Carlos Santana, but they eventually lost out on both of those players at the same time in a way only the Rockies could. This is a major setback, limiting their options at first base to Justin Smoak via trade or Logan Morrison. Perhaps they can sign controversial figure Daniel Murphy or ideally, Jed Lowrie who has been a consistent performer for the Oakland A’s with an OPS+ of 120 in his last two seasons. It appears now that the Rockies are willing to start Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon regularly at 2B. Both players have potential, Ryan McMahon was the #2 prospect in the Rockies farm system but have not had long-term success in their brief stints in the Majors, where they did not have regular playing time.

Right now, with two major targets off their radar, the Rockies appear to be willing to gamble on 2019, hoping that their homegrown options can flourish with regular playing time. There is also top prospect Brendan Rodgers nearing the Major Leagues, so signing someone at second base could block Rodgers’ entry into Colorado, something the Rockies have been exceptionally good at the last couple of years. They could also make a splash and include him in a trade for a catcher named JT Realmuto, he has been talked about a little bit as a potential trade option for teams. They have a lot of possibilities for him,, hopefully they do not make the same mistake they have with other players who have been blocked from playing by under-performing veterans 

The 2019 Rockies have the potential to be a good baseball team. Adding a power bat to the lineup would give them a giant boost. If David Dahl and/or Raimel Tapia has a breakout season, the team would become very well rounded and their rebuild will be an even bigger success. The rotation seems to be ready to rebound, with Kyle Freeland and German Marquez coming off impressive seasons. The bullpen, if it has one more strong arm can sustain a lead, could very well be a threat. Until some more moves are made, though, the Rockies are stuck in the middle.

Ilan C.S

I am a freshman at Cleveland State University. I was born and raised in New York City, though I adopted the Rockies as my team after having a fondness for them throughout my childhood thanks to Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez. As much as Rockies fandom is painful, I love to represent the purple pinstripes!

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