Yes, the number of losses projected by the most recent PECOTA standings from Baseball Prospectus is alarming. However, there is another number that caught our attention as well … and sent just as many shivers down our spines.
In case you missed it, through nearly 1,000 Baseball Prospectus simulations, the Rockies were projected to finish 2021 with a 60-102 mark. That record would not only give the franchise its first-ever season with 100 losses but also the first draft pick in its history as well.
The PECOTA projected standings also contained another eye-popping number when it came to the Rockies, however. Through its multiple simulation, Baseball Prospectus has Rockies pitching getting absolutely bombed in 2021, giving up a Major League-high 881 runs. The next closest to that number is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who gave up an average of 860 runs in the simulation. Pittsburgh is also the team projected to be closest to the Rockies in the overall standings, finishing just one game ahead of Colorado in the “race for the bottom.”
According to BP, that runs allowed numbers is a combination of in-season runs allowed and depth chart runs allowed.
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
Last season, Colorado’s pitching staff accumulated a 5.59 ERA (allowing 327 earned runs in 526.1 innings) with 205 walks and 393 strikeouts (a number that was dead last in MLB). That was the highest ERA in the National League and the second-highest in MLB. That 5.59 ERA was the third-highest for a single season in franchise history, and the highest since a franchise-high 6.01 ERA in 1999.
However, there are two sides to the pitching coin when it comes to the Rockies. Colorado’s starting pitchers’ ERA was 4.83, making it the 10th-best in franchise history. Colorado starters turned in 28 quality starts, which ranked only behind the Chicago Cubs (30) and Cleveland (37) in the Majors.
Meanwhile, the Colorado bullpen was, as a whole, a dumpster fire. The bullpen’s 6.77 ERA was the highest for a single season in franchise history, more than a run higher than the previous worst of 5.72 in 1999.
Opponents batted .280 against Rockies pitching last season, which ranked last in the National League and only Boston at .281 was worse in all of MLB.
Yes, there is a lot of room for improvement, and it will be interesting to see what impact Flint Wallace, Colorado’s new coordinator of pitching strategies, has on the franchise. It will also be interesting to see if the Rockies can shore up a bullpen that returns many faces from the 2020 season and seems almost set before the season begins. Here’s our early look at the bullpen.
There are also questions surrounding the rotation, including if southpaw Austin Gomber, obtained in the trade with St. Louis for All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, can solidify the back end of the rotation. Check out more on the new Rockies pitcher below.
And, of course, without Arenado, defense at the hot corner will likely take a step back from previous Gold and Platinum Glove-winning levels, leading to more potential runs as well.
As always, pitching will be key for any amount of success for the Rockies. However, with a lineup that was ranked last in WAR even before losing Arenado, Rockies pitchers simply can’t live up to PECOTA projections. Otherwise, that first 100-loss season for the franchise is certainly in play.