3 reasons why the Colorado Rockies will be better than expected in 2022
So what is the Colorado Rockies floor? What is the ceiling?
There are a lot of assumptions that come with predicting how the baseball season will turn out. For a quick guess at how good the Rockies will be, let’s keep it simple. We will use fWAR. In theory, a single fWAR means a single win. So we should compare last year’s numbers and historical numbers to give a very rough, most likely inaccurate, guess at how much better or worse the Rockies could be in 2022. Using the expected starting lineup for 2022 and comparing that to the lineups from 2021. This data is normalized to 162 games, compared to the total position fWAR in 2021, and also the best and worst adjusted fWAR produced by each of the players. Not so surprisingly, assuming every player will have either their best or worst seasons creates a wide range. How wide? Oh, only 43 games. Let’s break it down.
Simply put, the Colorado Rockies ceiling and floor have shifted positively by about 1.5 games but had this 2022 roster played in 2021, they would have actually lost one to two games more than they did in 2021. Why? Well, the main reason is not the loss of Trevor Story, he and Kris Bryant actually had similar seasons according to fWAR, but losing Jon Gray. Kuhl simply was not as good as Gray last year. Kuhl has the potential to be good at Coors Field, but he hasn’t played there yet. Batting fWAR looks improved going into the season coming season, simply the starting pitching risks not being as potent. What are the actual numbers, though?
The 2021 Colorado Rockies finished the season 74-87 with a team position WAR of 23.5. Had every player on that squad matched their best seasons on record, the team would have gone roughly 103.5-58.5. Had that squad matched their worst seasons on record, they would have gone roughly 60-102. Those two have a median right at 82-80. Had the Rockies not had the first two months of the season that they had in 2021, this would seem like a reasonable final record for them to have ended up with.
If every player on the 2022 Colorado Rockies matches their best seasons, the team would roughly go 109-53. This seems extremely unlikely. If the 2022 squad matches their worst seasons, they would go roughly 63-99. That’s right, with these moves, unless there is a massive collapse in the starting squad, it is extremely unlikely that the team will lose 100 games like so many seem to claim online. This 2022 range’s median lies at 86-76, squarely in the playoff race. Do I believe this will happen? Almost certainly not. It shows, however, that the Rockies are far better than people give them credit for. I won’t go as far to say that they are good, but if they win less than 70 games, I will eat a napkin.
The Colorado Rockies went 55-53 to end the season last year after an awful first two months. The team the Rockies have today is very similar to the team that took the field every day last season. Trevor Story and Jon Gray are gone, and that truly hurts. Not all is lost though, this season could surprise.
The Colorado Rockies have made competitive offseason moves. Do I think they are a playoff team? No. They probably need at least one more relief pitcher and another outfielder (Michael Conforto, maybe?) to even think of that new Wild Card spot. They definitely aren’t winning the division, but they aren’t the worst team in baseball like so many people are trying to claim. You can build a team around Kris Bryant, and I think trading for Grichuk might be the first step to doing just that. I do not think this team is worse than last year. I may literally eat my words, but I think this is a 75-win team that has the potential, if literally everything detailed in this article goes right, to surprise come October.
Note: Data for this article was found using Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, and Fangraphs