2015 Colorado Rockies Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
by Alan Matthews - 2/11/2015
There's something to be said for patience in a Major League Baseball franchise, but Colorado Rockies ownership overdid that when it came to former General Manager Dan O'Dowd. The Rockies last made the playoffs in 2009, losing that NLDS that year in four games to the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then? 73 wins, 64 wins, 74 wins and last year 66.
O'Dowd was finally forced out last October after 15 years in which the Rockies had only four winning seasons. Senior vice president Bill Geivett also followed him out the front office door. It was clear the Rockies had to start fresh in the front office because the team was losing fans by the thousands at Coors Field. Jeff Bridich, who had served as the team's senior director of player development since 2011, takes over as the GM. He has plenty of work to do.
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The Rockies have perhaps four of the best offensive players in the National League in shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, third baseman Nolan Arenado and first baseman Justin Morneau. But as usual the pitching is a problem. No big-time free-agent hurlers are going to Colorado and watch their numbers balloon. So the team has really focused on drafting pitchers and it has two highly-touted prospects in Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray -- it's just they aren't really ready to help yet.
Expect another losing season, and Manager Walt Weiss should be concerned about his job security because it wasn't Bridich who hired him.
Rockies 2015 Projected Lineup
No team is more Jekyll & Hyde in home/road splits than the Rockies, but that's not exactly anything new. Obviously, the thin air of Denver boosts Colorado's offensive stats in a big way at home. In 2014, the team ranked first in the majors by far with 500 runs scored at home (next-best was 387), a .322 average (No. 2 was .282) and 119 homers (No. 2 was 107). On the road, the Rockies were last with 255 runs, second-to-last with a .228 average and middle of the pack with 67 dingers.
Charlie Blackmon will lead off, and he hit .288 with 19 homers and 72 RBIs in 2014. He should be followed by Gonzalez and Tulowitzki, two of the best hitters in baseball when healthy. They just never are. Both were rumored on the trade block this offseason, but the Rockies want to sell high on them when healthy. Tulo was in a Mets rumor nearly every other day. CarGo struggled last year, hitting only .238 in 70 games so his value is really low right now. Tulowitzki hit .340 with 21 homers and was an MVP leader before shutting it down after 90 games. Both say they are healthy now. We'll see how long that lasts. Tulowitzki is +3000 to lead the majors in home runs while Gonzalez is +4000.
Morneau will hit cleanup, and he won the NL batting title last season at .319 while adding 17 dingers and 82 RBIs. It was easily his best season since 2010 with the Twins. Arenado, still a vastly underrated player and a Gold Glove third baseman, will hit fifth. He was limited to 111 games last season but had 18 homers and 61 RBIs. Outfielder Corey Dickerson (.312, 24 homers, 76 RBIs), catcher Wilin Rosario (.267, 13 HR, 54 RBIs) and second baseman D.J. LeMahieu (.267, 5 HRs, 42 RBIs) round out the lineup.
The biggest position player loss was outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who lasted only 49 games last year but was hitting .332 when shut down. The 2013 NL batting champion signed with the Mets. Colorado didn't add anyone of note to the lineup.
Rockies 2015 Projected Rotation & Closer
Colorado had the worst ERA in the National League at 4.44 last season, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen again. Jorge De La Rosa is a solid pitcher, but he shouldn't be the ace of a staff. The team gave him a two-year, $25 million extension after last season. In 28 starts, De La Rosa was 13-10 with a 4.26 ERA. Oddly, he was better at Coors Field. De La Rosa won nine of his 13 starts at home in 2014 with a 3.19 ERA over 79 innings. His 44 career wins at Coors Field rank as the most all-time. De La Rosa's .759 winning percentage at home is also second-best among all active big-league pitchers since 2008. Huh.
He will be followed by Jhoulys Chacin, Kyle Kendrick, Jordan Lyles and Tyler Matzek, at least to start the season. With two 24-year-olds penciled into the rotation in Lyles and Matzek, the team wanted more experience so it didn't have to rush Gray, Butler or new addition David Hale (Braves). Thus, Kendrick was signed about a week ago to a one-year, $5.5 million deal. He was 10-13 with a 4.61 ERA in Philadelphia last season. What's more concerning is he allowed 25 homers in 32 starts and being a fly-ball pitcher isn't wise at Coors Field.
LaTroy Hawkins, in his 21st season, will be the closer, and he already has said he will retire after 2015. He has exactly 1,000 career appearances, just the 16th pitcher in big-league history to hit that mark. Hawkins had 23 saves and a 3.31 ERA last year. He's a likely trade candidate to a contender that needs bullpen help around the deadline.
Rockies Futures Odds & 2014 Trends
Only World Series and pennant props out thus far team-wise, but that should change in a few weeks. At Sportsbook.ag, the Rockies at +12000 to win the World Series and +6000 to win the pennant. Colorado was 82-80 against the runline last season and 79-70-13 "over/under.' On the moneyline, the Rockies were -2790 units for the year.
Rockies 2015 Predictions
FanGraphs projects the Rockies to finish 76-86 and fourth in the NL West. I see no way they finish higher than fourth because the Dodgers are, well, the Dodgers, San Francisco certainly will be competitive and the Padres are much, much better. The real question is whether Tulowitzki and/or Gonzalez are with the team after the July 31 trade deadline. Obviously, that would affect any wins projections. If all the hitters stay healthy, this team could sniff .500, but that's not likely. It's time for the new GM to deal Tulowitzki, and perhaps a few others, for some younger pitching after a very quiet offseason.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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