Colorado Rockies: Predictions for the 2019 Season
By Aaron Hurt
Editor’s Note: In the day’s leading up to Opening Day, we here at Rox Pile will be doing some of our predictions for the Colorado Rockies for the 2019 season. Today, we have the predictions of one of our contributors, Aaron Hurt.
The marathon that is the Major League Baseball season is about to get underway. That empty void in life will finally be filled again with baseball games that actually matter. Which means its prediction time.
For the Colorado Rockies, expectations are high after reaching the divisional round of the playoffs and were a tie-breaker game away from their first ever NL West Championship. So for 2019, here are my three keys for them to make another playoff run, my most surprising/disappointing player, and finally, my season prediction:
It goes without saying but any injury to one of the Rockies’ core players could be catastrophic. In 2018, they avoided such injuries but more importantly, the starting pitching staff stayed healthy. For the first time since 2009, the rotation had four pitchers who started 30+ games in a season. They were very fortunate that their pitching depth was not seriously tested and they hope for more of the same this season.
Also, the Rockies need David Dahl to finally stay off the newly-named Injured List and reach his full potential. Thus far, Dahl has been unable to stay healthy early in his career but the Rockies are hoping that a player who has only played in 140 games in 3 seasons can replace veterans Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez.
Take Advantage of a Weaker Division
Earlier this offseason, I wrote that this season could come down to how well they play in the 57 games against the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Padres. The Diamondbacks had a fire-sale this offseason, the aging Giants are another year older, and the Padres, even with the signing of Manny Machado, is still a bad team.
Also, the Dodgers are not as deep as they were last season, so if the Rockies can improve on their 41-36 record against the West, they have a chance at winning their first ever division championship.
The Bullpen Must Improve
After spending $106 million on relievers Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, the Rockies had hoped they had formed a shutdown bullpen in ’18. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The bullpen finished the season 26th in majors with a 4.62 ERA.
If it wasn’t for the emergence of Adam Ottavino and Scott Oberg, that number would have been a lot worse. Not only do the relievers have be better this season, they have to find a way replace Ottavino who departed for the Yankees this offseason.
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Most Surprising Player
Those who have followed my articles will know that I love to hate on Ian Desmond. With a big contract, comes big expectations, and he hasn’t lived up to them. So, it may surprise many that I believe Desmond will finally turn things around in a Rockies’ uniform.
Does that mean he will hit .300 with 25+ HR and 100 RBI? No, but by focusing on playing only one position, raising his average 30 points to .270 and cutting down on the strikeouts, should increase his production and would be a welcomed surprise to the lineup.
By the way, this doesn’t mean I will not bash him when time calls for it.
Most Disappointing Player
In 2018, the Rockies crowned a new franchise strikeout king as German Marquez struck out 230 batters. He finished the season with a solid 14-11 record with a respectable 3.77 ERA. What many have forgotten was that he was not good in the first half of the season.
In his first 19 starts, he went 8-8 with a 4.81 ERA before exploding to a 6-3 record with a 2.61 ERA in his final 14 starts.
Expectations for Marquez to continue that success may be too high and even though I see him having a solid season, I don’t see him living up to those lofty expectations.
Sadly, I believe that the Rockies will once again miss out on winning the NL West. The Dodgers’ pitching is just too good and the Rockies didn’t do enough in the offseason to address some of their needs. I believe that the pitching will regress from last season’s success but the offensive will improve enough to lead them to 87 wins and their third consecutive Wild Card birth.
NL Division Winners: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers
Wild Card: Rockies, Phillies
World Series: Cardinals over the Red Sox