Do the Colorado Rockies have the worst offense in baseball history?
It’s 2007. The Colorado Rockies have reached the World Series after having, arguably, the most rounded offensive team in franchise history.
They have eight players with 300 or more plate appearances on the season with a batting average of .288 or higher with on-base percentages of .342 or higher. Six of those eight players also have a slugging percentage of .479 or higher as well.
The comparative stats that adjust for ballpark in the era of 2021 say, even while being a bit too harsh on the Rockies, that those same six players above have an OPS+ of 109 or higher and, for the team as a whole (excluding pitchers), they have an OPS+ of 102.
If you were to tell a fan or even a baseball reporter or a front office executive that 14 years later that the Rockies would have the worst offense in franchise history, it may not be surprising. After all, some team in 29 years has to have the worst offense.
But the worst offense in modern baseball history? No, there’s no way. You would have been told that you need to be in an insane asylum.
Why? Well, Coors Field. In 2007 and still even somewhat today, there are people who believe that the Rockies play well at home due to Coors Field when, in reality, it looks like that the Rockies just haven’t figured out how to play on the road (aka at sea level) consistently.
That has come to a peak in 2021 as the Rockies have a road record that’s so bad, it’s almost unbelievable if you haven’t watched or listened to the games.
The Rockies are 4-22 on the road as they enter the month of June but they are above .500 (16-12) at Coors Field.
If the Rockies would be able to have that record on the road as well, they would actually have the fourth-best record in the NL. Coincidentally, though, they’d still be in fourth place in the NL West as all the teams with a better overall winning percentage in the NL reside in NL West.
Do the Colorado Rockies have the worst offense in modern baseball history?
David Schoenfield of ESPN posed that question recently so let’s look at the numbers.
As we discussed in this article earlier today, the Rockies have a wRC+ of 74 and an OPS+ of 80. Both of them are dead last in MLB.
Even at Coors Field, the Rockies have a wRC+ of 88, which is 25th in baseball among teams playing at home. On the road, they have a wRC+ of 58, which is, far and away, the worst in baseball. Only two other teams are below 80 wRC+ on the road.
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On the road, the Rockies have already been shutout 10 times, which means that they are the first team in 100 seasons to get shut out that many times in their first 55 games of a season. And Schoenfield also notes that the Rockies are the first team to get shut out 10 times in any stretch of 25 road games since the 1963 Houston Colt .45s (now the Houston Astros), who were in the second year of their existence.
As Schoenfield also notes too, before Sunday’s 4-3 road win against Pittsburgh, the Rockies were hitting .197 with 12 home runs, averaging less than two and half runs per road game.
If you exclude their 14 run outburst in Arizona on May 1, the Rockies have scored 45 runs in their other 24 road games, which averages out to 1.88 runs per game. In addition, the only Rockies hitting above .254 on the road are Chris Owings, who is 1-for-1, and pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, who is 3-for-10.
So it has been a team-wide effort to be the worst offense on the road.
With that 74 wRC+, the Rockies have put themselves very close to being in very bad company of the worst offenses in baseball history.
- 1. 1920 A’s: 67
- 2. 1963 Mets: 69
- T-3. 1909 Braves: 70
- T-3. 1950 Pirates: 70
- T-5. 1965 Mets: 71
- T-5. 1930 Red Sox: 71
- 7. Four teams tied at 72
wRC+ (and OPS+) tends to be a bit harsher on the Rockies that it probably should be so do the Rockies have the worst offense in baseball history? Probably not.
But do they have the worst offense in baseball in 2021? So far, absolutely. It’s not even a question of whether or not they are the worst offensive team on the road.
It’s also not a question of whether or not this is the worst offense in Rockies history or whether or not they are among the worst offenses in all of baseball in the last few decades.
However, they still have two-thirds of the season to turn that around … but don’t hold your breath expecting them to become the 1927 New York Yankees on the road (or at Coors Field) this season.