2019 Colorado Rockies Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
I realize this is becoming a broken record talking about teams who didn't do squat financially this offseason (other than the Padres so far), but at least the Colorado Rockies have an excuse: They were saving their money to make sure one of the greatest third basemen in MLB history didn't hit free agency next summer.
The Rockies and Nolan Arenado agreed on an eight-year, $260 million extension that actually begins immediately and wipes out the $26 million he was set to earn after arbitration this year. It includes a no-trade clause and a player opt-out after the 2021 season.
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This is great news for those of us who root for smaller-market teams. Arenado got more per year than Manny Machado did with San Diego, but Arenado should have because he's a better player. I'm quite sure he could have gotten more as a free agent next winter, even with the way business his run in MLB these days. Arenado should spend his entire career with the Rockies, just like franchise icon Todd Helton did. Easy to see Arenado going into the Hall of Fame in the early 2030s in a Rockies hat.
That wasn't the only major business the team took care of this offseason, inking Manager Bud Black to a three-year extension. The former big-league pitcher was entering the final year of his original contract, which called for a mutual option for 2020. Under Black, the Rockies are 178-147 with two postseason berths as a National League Wild Card.
Colorado opens the season March 28 in Miami.
Rockies Projected Lineup
Last year, Colorado won 91 games and finished 162 tied with the Dodgers for the NL West title. L.A. hosted the tiebreaker and won it 6-0. The Rockies did upset the Cubs 2-1 in the Wild-Card Game at Wrigley but then were swept out of the NLDS by the much deeper Milwaukee Brewers. Still, a fantastic season and the first time in franchise history the Rockies reached the playoffs in back-to-back years.
Per usual, the Rockies were one of the better offenses in the majors and per usual the home/road splits were striking. At home, the Rox were third in runs scored and away they were 20th. Sure, most teams hit better at home than away, but the Coors Field factor is always going to accentuate those splits with this franchise.
The lineup all revolves around Arenado, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star (and freaking amazing defender) who has led the National League in home runs three times, including 2018, when he hit .297 with 38 bombs and 110 RBIs. That's four straight years of at least 37 dingers and 110 RBIs. No one is worth $260 million, but Arenado is close.
Underrated second baseman DJ LeMahieu left in free agency for the Yankees. Long-time Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez also is gone (some talk he could still be re-signed). So is Gerardo Parra. Thus, the projected lineup looks to be: OF Charlie Blackmon, OF David Dahl, 3B Arenado, SS Trevor Story, 1B Daniel Murphy (new addition, but way past his prime), OF Ian Desmond, 2B Ryan McMahon and C Chris Iannetta. Top prospect Brendan Rodgers, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, could take over at second sooner rather than later.
Rockies 2019 Projected Rotation & Closer
Could this team's strength actually be pitching? That might be a stretch, but it's no longer the huge gap between lineup and pitching staff that it used to be. The Rockies finished with a team ERA of 4.03 last year, 12 th in the majors.
Lefty and Denver native Kyle Freeland became a legit ace in going 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA and 173 strikeouts. German Marquez is criminally underrated and was 14-11 with a 3.77 ERA and 230 strikeouts.
Southpaw Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis are solid back-end guys. What the Rockies need is Jon Gray to finally live up to the hype as the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, one spot after Kris Bryant. The stuff is there for Gray, but he regressed in 2018 with a 5.12 ERA in 31 starts. If he can break out, this could be a darn good group.
Closer Wade Davis is back, but he was rather shaky at times last year despite his 43 saves as he blew six of them, had six losses and a 4.13 ERA. Stellar set-up man Adam Ottavino left and that will hurt.
Rockies Futures Odds
At 5Dimes , Colorado has a win total of 84.5, with both options at -115. The Rockies are +195 to make the playoffs again and -250 to miss. They are +500 to win the NL West, +1400 for the pennant and +2500 to win the franchise's first World Series.
Rockies 2019 Predictions
With the behemoth and super-rich Dodgers in the division, the NL West isn't very realistic even if L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw misses a while with some shoulder trouble. FanGraphs projects 81 wins for the Rockies, but I think this club can win around 86 and compete for another Wild-Card spot. Lean "over" 84.5.
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