The Colorado Rockies have now lost 11 of their last 17 games, and with each loss, the chances of a playoff run go steadily down. While the Rockies are nowhere near out of it- at 28-25, they are .5 games behind the Dodgers in the race for a wild card spot- they unfortunately look like the same old Rockies. After starting the season 8-7 on the road, they’ve won just four of their last 15 games away from Coors.
It’s long been the case that the Rockies have to be just decent on the road to make a playoff run because they are so good at home. In 2007, the World Series year, they were 51-31 at home (including a win over the Padres to sew up a playoff spot) but just 39-42 on the road. In 2009, another playoff year, they were 51-30 at home and 41-40 on the road. The point is that the Rockies don’t have to be special on the road to be successful, and at the beginning of the year it seemed as if they were good enough away from the high altitude to make a playoff run. Now, after 11 losses in 15 road games, that isn’t the case, and it’s looking more and more like another year without the playoffs.
That’s not necessarily unexpected, and this year has still been a happy surprise, but it might be time to make some small moves with the future in mind.
All of this was meant to lead to Corey Dickerson, and I thought this was a great time to bring this up, since Dickerson just had his first career three walk game. That’s my first point. Corey Dickerson has a great approach at the plate. He sees a ton of pitches, and his 4.19 pitches seen per plate appearance ranks 32nd of 315 total hitters with at least 75 plate appearances. Dickerson is also just 25 years old, and he’s a tremendous hitter.
It’s been a small sample size (84 total plate appearances), but Dickerson has been just as good if not better on the road than he has at Coors. Dickerson’s wRC+, which is a good stat to use here because it includes ballpark effects, is 181 (81% above league average) on the road and 164 at home. He’s also a lefty who hits to all fields, as shown in this spray chart (courtesy of Fangraphs). As you can see, he actually hits it the opposite way more often than pulling it.
Dickerson also seemingly energizes his teammates and especially fans. He’s a fun guy to watch, both because he hits so well and because he’s a young player who has a future with this team. He has power, he has a good approach, he’s young, he hits for average, and he hits to all fields. What else do you want the man to do?
I don’t know how the Rockies are going to get Corey Dickerson more playing time, but it needs to happen. To put it bluntly, this team probably isn’t making the playoffs, and it doesn’t make sense to keep playing a guy like Michael Cuddyer over him. Yes, Cuddyer is a class act and still a very good baseball player, but he’s a free agent after this year and, God forbid the Rockies extend a qualifying offer which he would surely accept, it’s unlikely that he will continue to start in future years.
Cuddyer’s the kind of guy who would be perfect trade bait, likely for a second tier prospect. With the multitude of injuries to Carlos Gonzalez, it’s also possible that Gonzalez goes on the shelf for a longer period of time and Dickerson finally gets everyday at bats. But I don’t think the possibility of more playing time later in the season is enough. I’d like to see Dickerson plugged into the lineup every day for the remainder of the year, and the only way of ensuring that is by trading Cuddyer. Well, there’s another option. Why can’t Dickerson play third base while Nolan Arenado is out?
Kidding… But only sort of, because the Rockies absolutely need to get this rising star into their lineup more often in any way they can.