Everything considered — ownership, front office leadership, on-field performance — there may not be three organizations in worse shape than the Colorado Rockies right now. Following a couple of strong years led by Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon back in 2017-2018, the Rockies dwindled down to a paltry 68-94 record last season, last in the NL West. With a handful of messy contracts, lack of young talent, and a tough division headlined by Los Angeles and San Diego, 2023 projects to be another tough go at Coors Field.
Expectations for 2023
If the offseason moves (or lack thereof) are any indication, this is not a team serious about contending next summer. Fangraphs currently has the Rockies projected for the fewest win in the majors next season (65); the ZiPS-alone was only a little more generous with a 66-win projection.
Projected Roster Per Roster Resource:
- Yonathan Daza - CF
- Kris Bryant - LF
- Ryan McMahon - 3B
- C.J. Cron - 1B
- Charlie Blackmon - RF
- Brendan Rogers- 2B
- Sean Bouchard -DH
- Elias Diaz - C
- Ezequiel Tovar - SS
Brian Serven (C)
Elehuris Montero (1B/3B)
Harold Castro (INF/OF)
Nolan Jones (INF/OF)
Germán Marquez - RHP
Kyle Freeland - LHP
Jose Ureña - RHP
Austin Gomber - LHP
Connor Seabold - RHP
Daniel Bard - RHP
Pierce Johnson - RHP
Dinelson Lamet - RHP
Lucas Gilbreath - LHP
Justin Lawrence - RHP
Brent Suter - LHP
Nick Mears - RHP
Jake Bird - RHP
Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers are solid young players, and if he can stay healthy, Kris Bryant has obvious talent and can be a difference-maker. Kyle Freeland and German Marquez lack the strikeout upside needed to pitch in a place like Coors Field, but they are palatable at the top of the rotation. Daniel Bard, who closed out 34 games last season, was somehow not moved at the Trade Deadline — he would have been one of the top relievers exchanged — and instead they signed him to an extension.
It’s hard to say anything is really a strength of this roster, though. It is so bad that a combination of Kris Bryant and Sean Bouchard in left field ranks 15th overall in Fangraphs’ Depth Charts projections, and that’s the best positional rank these Rockies have achieved. Ryan McMahon has the best overall projection — still below 3 WAR — but he’s one of just a few guys on this roster that seem likely to produce at an average rate.
As noted before, FanGraphs has Colorado projected for the fewest wins in the league. The lineup is lacking, especially after the first few spots, and the rotation is probably one of the five worst in the sport. The bullpen isn’t great, either. Everything is just a mess. To be clear:
- Catcher: worst projection in MLB
- First base: worst projection in MLB
- Shortstop: bottom 10 projection in MLB
- Center field: bottom 3 projection in MLB
- Right field: worst projection in MLB
- DH: bottom 3 projection in MLB
- Rotation: worst projection in MLB
- Bullpen: bottom 10 projection in MLB
There are teams that have torn it down to the studs, and most of those teams still don’t look as hapless on paper as the Rockies.
Reinforcements from the Farm
The Rockies placed 12th in Keith Law’s recent organization rankings, headlined by Ezequiel Tovar and Zac Veen. Tovar got a cup of coffee with the club last fall and figures to be the starting shortstop. Most of the talent in the system remains on the position player side, with a majority of the top-10 having ETAs of 2024 or 2025.
Braves history/outlook against Colorado
Coors Field has been a house of horrors for the Braves over the years. However, the Braves swept the Rockies in early June last year as part of their 14-game winning streak and took two out of three at home in late August. In 2023, the Braves will host the Rockies for four games in mid-June and travel out west at the end of August.
The Braves went 6-1 against the Rockies last year, but were 2-4 against them as recently as 2021. If the Braves actually take the season series from them this year, it’ll be the first time they manage to have back-to-back winning seasons against them since the 2011-2014 stretch.