Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of a series of predictions regarding the Colorado Rockies heading into the 2018 season. You can see other predictions from Rox Pile’s team of writers by clicking here. There are plenty of other opinions and forecasts.
Rox Pile asked each writer to answer four questions. See below for JD’s answers…
Who will be the biggest surprise for the Rockies in 2018?
The biggest surprise of this season for me will end up being Carlos Gonzalez. After declining a deal worth more than 15 million last year, CarGo got cold at the wrong time, and ended up being stuck with reportedly a 5 million dollar deal. Especially after last year, pretty much everyone has assumed Gonzalez has been figured out by National League pitchers, and doesn’t have enough in the tank to be a solid starter.
However, CarGo looked a lot better towards the end of the season, and seemed to at least show hope of being a serviceable player. Gonzalez will have little to no expectations coming into the season. I have faith that, with the gorgeous lefty swing of his, CarGo will surprise all and once again be a solid right fielder come playoff time.
Who will be the biggest disappointment for the Rockies in 2018?
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The biggest disappointment the Rockies will face will be Jon Gray. I’m not at all saying Jon Gray is a bad pitcher, or will have a horrible season. I certainly think he will be alright. Unfortunately, Gray has been given these huge expectations to be the Rockies’ ace and consistently compete with the best pitchers in baseball. And, to be fair, he did that for a number of starts last season. I just know how future pitching stars usually get hammered when pitching at Coors Field. I think a lot of people are setting these huge expectations for a pitcher who really only needs to be solid for an offensive team.
Will the Rockies be buying or selling at the 2018 trade deadline?
Hopefully the Rockies will have a really good season and will buy at the trade deadline. However, even if they have a disappointing start, they won’t sell. Colorado has built a very good young team. If the trade deadline comes and the Rockies are not looking like playoff contenders, the best option will still be to hold on to their pieces and aim to do better next season.
The best-case scenario, however, is the Rockies are leading the division or are close, and can make moves to move them up into the elite teams in the league.
What should be our season expectations for the Rockies in 2018?
The Rockies will start off well, as they always do, but will ultimately get cold in June and July as a result of overusing their bullpen. Still, the Rockies will finish somewhere around 85-77 and will once again lock up a position in the playoffs.
Ultimately, the five playoff teams, in order, will be the Nationals, Dodgers, Cubs, Rockies and Diamondbacks. This means the National League will once again be dominated by the West, and Colorado will face Arizona once again in the Wild Card contest.
This time, with home field advantage, the Rockies will win a close 8-7 game. This will be followed up with a series against the 100+ win Nationals. While the Rockies will steal a game, Washington will prove far superior and win the series 3-1.
All in all, the Rockies will take another step forward and show progress. However, they will still be stopped relatively early and exit the playoffs in roughly the same spot.
Note: You can see our other predictions by clicking here.