Colorado Rockies 2019 Season Preview
2018 Record: 91 – 72
Projected 2019 Record: 82 – 80
2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook
Does anyone else remember when the Rockies struggled to win over 70 games in a season? Funnily enough that was only a few years ago. It now seems that just half a century later, the Rockies are really starting to get their footing in the West. They fell just short of first place in the NL West in 2018, but still managed to put up a solid 91 – 72 record.
As a result, they managed to nab the second wild card spot and defeat the Chicago Cubs to go onto the NLDS. However, they were then met by a tough Brewers team who knocked them out of the playoffs and ended their hopes of returning to the World Series for the first time since 2007.
Despite their 2018 playoff loss, manager Bud Black hopes that the Rockies’ success last year will carry on into 2019. And while the 2019 team doesn’t appear quite as strong as the 2018 version, a playoff berth is still very much in the picture.
The Rockies come into 2019 with a team that has experience, grit, and heart. However, no baseball team is without some issues that need to be addressed before the season starts.
First off, how will the Rockies improve their offense? Of course, they have Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado, but a solid core of the lineup does not make up for the fact that they lack strength towards the bottom. On top of that, the Rockies lost DJ LeMahieu to the Yankees and failed to make any big acquisitions during the offseason.
Also important is how the pitching staff will fare, primarily Jon Gray. Gray had a solid 2017 but was shaken in 2018, finishing with an ERA over 5.
And how will the Rockies bullpen do without star reliever Adam Ottavino? He may have been their biggest loss this offseason.
Critics surely had their doubts about the young southpaw. But any doubts surrounding Freeland were crushed last season. He put up some incredible numbers in 2018: 17 – 7 with an ERA of 2.85. If the Rockies really are to have a shot at returning to the playoffs, he will need to be on top of his game once again.
Another young Rockies pitcher will likely be the number 2 guy in the rotation this season. At just 24 years old, German Marquez is looking to continue to establish himself as a prominent young talent in the MLB. He went 14 – 11 in 2018 with an ERA of 3.77. He struggled, however, in both 2016 and 2017 and was unable to post an ERA under 4.30.
Anderson will be playing in his 4thMLB season in 2019, all of which he has played with the Rockies. He hopes to regain his footing after a rather unimpressive 2018 season. He went 7 – 9 with a 4.55 ERA over 32 starts. Rockies fans hope those numbers will get better.
After showing promise in 2017, Jon Gray did the exact opposite in 2018. He gave up hit after hit, and while he did finish with a winning record of 12 – 9, his ERA was sky high at 5.12. If he is to come back in 2019, he will need to keep the ball down and eliminate the number of walks he surrenders.
Most likely rounding off the Rockies starting rotation will be Chad Bettis. While he is the pitcher with the most years of experience in this rotation, his career hasn’t been all that impressive. He has a whopping career ERA of 5.01 and has not yet had a season with an ERA under 4.00. The Rockies hope 2019 can be a turnaround year for the 29-year-old righty.
The Rockies are beginning to realize that a good bullpen really does make a difference in a team’s overall season performance. In this sense, it is definitely hard to see Adam Ottavino leave. He put up astounding numbers last year and will unfortunately be taking his talents to the Yankees.
As a result, the Rockies will need to turn to Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, and Jake McGee to hold down their relief core. While none of the three had astounding seasons in 2018, they all hope to bounce back in 2019 and look to make up for the big void left by Ottavino.
It appears that the 2019 Rockies offense is going to be quite similar to that of 2018. Despite the addition of Daniel Murphy and loss of LeMahieu, it is likely that nothing will change. And this might not be a bad thing.
Let’s start with the heavy hitters. No one really dares question the talent of Nolan Arenado. He has consistently been one of the top major leaguers, both offensively and defensively, since his debut in 2013. He has put up some incredible numbers over the last few years, normally hitting over 35 homeruns and knocking in over 100 RBIs. And the best part is that he’s only 27. You also can’t forget about the other young Colorado stud, Trevor Story. At just 26-years-old, Story has shown impressive power throughout his first 3 MLB seasons. During these three years, he has already hit 88 home runs and knocked in 262 RBIs.
Adding a bit more experience to the team is Charlie Blackmon. Blackmon has been with the Rockies for all 8 of his MLB seasons. He consistently hits for both average and power. Throughout his time in Colorado, he has established himself as a real staple of the Rockies lineup.
Also important is Ian Desmond. While Desmond struggled to rack up hits in 2018, he almost always a crucial part of the lineup and will surely look to regain his form in the 2019 season.
Lastly, don’t forget to take your eye off of catcher Chris Iannetta or new addition Daniel Murphy.
Projected Starting Lineup:
- Charlie Blackmon
- Daniel Murphy
- Nolan Arenado
- Trevor Story
- David Dahl
- Ian Desmond
- Chris Iannetta
- Garrett Hampson
Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers
German Marquez – For those high on German Marquez, we are looking at a small sample size. He was excellent in the second half, and now we look to him carrying that over for a full season. He also pitches half of his games in Coors, so yeah there is going to be some risk. The ceiling is there, the floor is average, but the ADP is high, and that is the scary part of taking him so highly in drafts. His increased velocity and electric stuff could help negate the Coors air, but we need to wait to see long term.
Kyle Freeland – Kyle Freeland over performed last season with a subpar HR/FB rate and other favorable peripheral stats. He is not a strikeout arm, and had an xFIP over four. He isn’t a bad arm, and will have some decent starts, but you are better off getting him very late in drafts and using him sporadically. Expect the ERA to come up, and because of the lackluster strikeout numbers, you will have to have a strategy with him.
Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters
Nolan Arenado – Nolan Arenado brings everything you want from a five pick, outside of stolen bases. He has consistently hit 100+ runs and RBI in three straight seasons. He also has hit 35+ homers in four straight. Arenado is going to bring you all the stats you need, and is a deserving top five pick again.
Charlie Blackmon – Charlie Blackmon isn’t going to steal much anymore, but has 30 HR upside and is going to chip in with a ton of RBI and R in this lineup. He should flirt with 15 SB, and is a strong outfielder start your fantasy roster with.