It’s the holiday season and that means chestnuts are roasting by the open fire, candy canes are being hung on trees and milk and cookies are getting ready to be left out for Santa (all mentioned foods are brought to you by Jeff Bridich’s $1,000 snack collection).
It also means super original holiday themed articles are going to be written by your favorite Sabermetric Skeptic, and as a predictably bad gift giver, I am forced to oblige.
Last week I asked you on Twitter to tell me what kind of Christmas themed take I should give on certain aspects of the Colorado Rockies. You chose between whether that take should be a Present, a Stocking Stuffer or whether it should be Coal. With that said, let’s get straight to opening up these gifts:
The Colorado Rockies and Hitting: Present
Colorado’s lineup has been extremely top-heavy the past few seasons. Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado continue to anchor the top end of the lineup while the rest has been a struggle to keep consistent. But there’s hope!
With a full season of consistent plate appearances under his belt, Ryan McMahon is poised to help bolster this lineup’s strengths in 2020 and beyond. With sporadic opportunities in 2017 and 2018, he improved his wRC+ nearly 20 points to 88 in 2019.
A lot of that is thanks to a strong second half (sans September/October). One stat that exemplifies a huge improvement was his HR/FB%. In the first half of 2019 that sat at 14.9%, but in the second half it jumped all the way to 40.5%. For frame of reference, Christian Yelich led all qualified hitters last year with a HR/FB% of 32.8%. McMahon still needs to cut down on his K%, but he’s trending in the right direction.
Let’s not look past Garrett Hampson‘s turnaround either. Adjusting to his toe tap in the 2nd half last season was one of the main reasons he took a wRC+ of 18 in the first half and turned it into a wRC+ of 96 in the second half (mainly bolstered by a wRC+ of 119 in September/October). If he performs any bit similarly in 2020, he’ll be able to get fairly regular at bats at 2nd and in the outfield and help provide a speedy spark to this lineup.
Other notes are the fact that we’ll be able to see more of Sam Hilliard and his 138 wRC+ in 2020 and hopefully a healthy Brendan Rodgers will have the opportunity to make an impact as well (nevermind the fact that a healthy David Dahl helps to improve this lineup tremendously too). If the young guys come through, this lineup can finally break out of its slump and become more thoroughly competitive instead of continuing to stay top heavy.