The Colorado Rockies have played about 20 percent of their season entering their off day today. They are 16-15 but they are in the basement of the NL West, five games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place.
That alone is a surprise in itself (being over .500 but being in last place) but today, we will look at four good surprises for the Rockies to start the 2022 campaign.
Here are four good surprises for the Colorado Rockies in 2022
1) Chad Kuhl has been their best starting pitcher
Five weeks ago, people would have been very surprised if you would have told them that Chad Kuhl would be the best starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies through the first 20 percent of the season.
Part of that is because some of the other starters have struggled but Kuhl has pitched very well.
Even with his clunker of a start on Wednesday (4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER), he is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA. Before the start, he had an ERA of 1.82 with a FIP of 3.40 and a 0.843 WHIP. He also had an rWAR of 1.4, which was the best on the team.
2) Daniel Bard has been their best reliever
Daniel Bard was good for the Colorado Rockies in 2020 as he won the NL Comeback Player of the Year. As Colorado’s closer then, he made 23 appearances in the 60-game season with an ERA of 3.65, a 3.64 FIP, a 1,297 WHIP, and six saves.
However, he had some issues in 2021 as, in 67 games, his ERA ballooned to 5.21 and, eventually, he lost his role as closer. However, his 4.28 FIP suggested that he had some bad luck.
That luck has reversed thus far in 2022 as even with a bad outing on Wednesday (1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K), he has an ERA of 3.18. Before the outing, he had an ERA of 1.64 in 11 games with a FIP of 2.28, only one walk, and nine saves. Those nine saves are second-highest in the NL.
3) The offense has been good, in comparison to the rest of the league
Offense is down throughout the entire sport. Part of it is because MLB has deadened the baseball and part of it is because the cooler weather of the early months of the season doesn’t help offense either.
So, when you look at the raw numbers, you would probably say that Colorado’s offense hasn’t been that good. In fact, by OPS entering Wednesday, their .733 OPS was the third-lowest in franchise history (only 2021 and 2020 were lower).
But when you look at OPS+, which compares to the rest of the league, the Rockies had a team OPS+ of 103 entering Wednesday. That mark is among the best in franchise history.
Part of that is because pitchers are no longer hitting with the universal DH but it still puts them high up comparatively.
Even if you exclude pitchers, the only two times that the Rockies have had a team with a higher OPS+ was in 1997 and 2007. 1997 was the year that Larry Walker won the NL MVP and 2007 was the year that the Rockies made it to the World Series. In both seasons, their position players had an OPS+ of 104.
4) José Iglesias has been one of their best hitters
Overall, one of Colorado’s best hitters has been José Iglesias.
Iglesias is hitting .319 with an OPS of .774. Among players with at least 60 plate appearances, Iglesias’ OPS is third on the team, only behind C.J. Cron and Connor Joe.
Especially on a one-year, $5 million deal, that’s not bad production at all from a guy that will likely be a stop-gap for prospects, like Ezequiel Tovar.