Betting on this right now would simply be an attempt to capture value before the line moves once the lockout is lifted and the Colorado Rockies make (or don’t make) free agent moves, so let’s look through some of those scenarios.
A case for the under in wins when betting on the Colorado Rockies
The case for the under is pretty simple: No Jon Gray, no Trevor Story. The Rockies may be able to overcome some of the missed offensive production from Trevor Story by having guys like Brendan Rodgers step up further, but that may be tough. Rodgers already posted the same wRC+ in 2021 as Story (100) and he’ll need to stay healthy throughout the season.
You’ll also need continued production from C.J. Cron, Elias Diaz, Connor Joe, and Ryan McMahon, but there are questions with each hitter and if their 2021 success can continue. Expecting the same production next year may not be realistic for each.
The bigger impact, in my opinion, will be Jon Gray’s missing presence in the rotation. I have faith that the Rockies’ top three (Germán Márquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela) will continue to be successful. I’m iffy on if Austin Gomber will continue to be a solid number 4 in the rotation, mostly because he’s young and the league will have a bit more of a book on him pitching at Coors.
After that, who’s in the five spot? Gomber was a great fifth starter and that really made the Rockies rotation strong from one to five. But with him moving up, and the league having a book on him, I’m not certain how strong of a number four he’ll be. If he’s not there, I have no faith that the Rockies will have a solid number five starter. Missing that production at least once every five games is going to be detrimental and a near automatic L when that spot comes up. And it’s not like the Rockies are going to sign a good pitcher to fill this spot.
Also, we can’t really expect the Rockies to sign an impactful free agent that’s going to bump them over this number, right? Story will be gone, Gray will be gone, and the likelihood someone impactful signs is low. The under is more than appealing.
A case for the over in wins when betting on the Colorado Rockies
The best case for the over is simply looking at how last season went compared to the expectations. The Rockies’ win total in 2021 was set at 63.5 and they surpassed that number by 10 wins. I had a lengthy list of reasons as to why I liked the under then, so who’s to say all these bad signs I’m listing out really mean anything?
After all, the Rockies have been a very, very bad team in only a few select seasons. Otherwise, they’re generally middling. With that in mind, 72 wins doesn’t seem too hard to accomplish. And that’s especially true if they play as well at Coors in 2022 as they did in 2021. Improvements should be expected on the road as well. The Rockies had the fifth-worst road record in the league at 26-54, their worst road record since the 2014 season. Even a slight improvement should mean better results and a young roster should have learned from last season’s struggles.
As for free agent signings, the Rockies have seemingly always aimed towards 2022 for years as a make-or-break season whether that involved Nolan Arenado or not. They didn’t make some rebuilding trades at the deadline last season when they probably really should have, but that signifies that they’re going to go for it in some capacity. A splashy signing may buy Bill Schmidt a bit of a grace period with fans, so he’s likely going to try and do something to show fans he’s really willing to go for it.
Prior to the lockout, the Rockies were linked to Kris Bryant, so if they’re able to land him then they’ll easily be able to replace the production missed from Trevor Story leaving. That makes some of the other problems go away and 72 wins seems more than achievable.
Overall I think the best move here, if you’re looking to bet this now, would be to bet the under. I have too many concerns about the rotation’s status with Gray’s departure and that’s going to be a major downfall. There’s also no guarantee that the Rockies do sign someone like Kris Bryant that will boost this win total up (and who’s to say Bryant isn’t just using the Rockies as leverage to sign a better deal?).
Take the under and see if the win total drops a few when Story signs elsewhere and the Rockies sign no one of value. If it does drop a few, say to 68.5 or so, then take the over and hope to middle.