Colorado Rockies: Is the offense better than expected?

Apr 6, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon (24) watches his ball on a solo home run in the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon (24) watches his ball on a solo home run in the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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The short answer to the question, “Is the Colorado Rockies offense better than expected?”: Um, maybe?

The longer answer:

Last night, the combined monster that was Chris Owings, Sam Hilliard, and Garrett Hampson hit for a combined 6-for-8 night with two triples, two doubles, two singles, two walks, five runs, and five RBI, resulting in a staggering 2.3 OPS against the Madison Bumgarner-led Arizona Diamondbacks.

A similar scenario happened the night before when Ryan McMahon, Sam Hilliard, and Dom Nuñez had a 6-for-12 night with five home runs, a double, three walks, five runs, and six RBI for another astonishing 2.43 OPS night. On Opening Day, it was Owings, Hampson, and C.J. Cron providing the greatest amount of offensive output for the team.

It might seem that I am cherry-picking certain games, and, to an extent, I am. There were no huge standouts in the last three games of the Dodgers series (though every game was incredible to watch and McMahon did well throughout the entire series), but the lack of certain players’ production is more deafening than Dodgers fans that packed the stands. Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Raimel Tapia have not started the season well.

To an extent, people expected Blackmon, Tapia, and Story to be the Rockies trinity this year. So far, that is far from the case. The three have accrued a combined batting average of .164 through the first six games, all of which have taken place at Coors Field. Production, so far, has come from the young players.

Offensive production from the Colorado Rockies in 2021 has come from some other sources.

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The pleasant surprises have come from the young guys, despite their leaders and mentors slumping, they are choosing to get hot.

Owings, McMahon, Hampson, and Hilliard are the only players on the team to have a batting average above .250, currently batting .500, .381, .300, and .273, respectively. These guys have the potential to have breakout seasons this year. It is possible that they remain somewhat hot throughout the year, especially McMahon, if he has worked on his strikeout problem from last season.

Blackmon, Story, and Tapia are slumping for now, but they will hit better … eventually. They are just slumping. Story has been especially unlucky (expected batting average of .316 and xwOBA of .401, in the 92nd percentile of MLB, per Baseball Savant heading into Thursday’s game), possibly because of the new ball. I also expect the catchers to pick up a bit, though only to where they are batting around .220 instead of .150.

The question remains around these young guys is this: How hot can they stay? It is still very early in the season, but if they continue to bat as well as they have, and the starting pitching is all that we have hyped it up to be, the Colorado Rockies might be a pretty good baseball team. Now they just need to fix the defense.

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Note: Statistics were found using Baseball-Reference or calculated from Baseball-Reference Data.

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