Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 - Colorado Rockies

Now for the other team in that Matt Holliday trade; the Colorado Rockies

Record: 74-88
Pythagorean Record: 74-88
Third Order Standings (from BPro): 77-85
My Prediction: 83-79
Over/Under: Under 83.5 - Correct

The Rockies fell pretty far after making it to the World Series in 2007. "Ace" Jeff Francis saw his strike-out rate fall from 6.9 to 5.9 and his ERA ballooned to 5.01 (4.97 tRA, 96 tRA+) from 4.22 (4.14 tRA, 117 tRA+). Aaron Cook came back healthy after missing some time in 2007 and made the All-Star team with his groundball repertoire and 3.96 ERA, 4.21 tRA, 112 tRA+. After his very impressive second-half and post-season work, Ubaldo Jimenez took his place amongst the best young pitchers in baseball. The walks are still high (4.7 per nine), but 7.8 K/9 and 54.4% groundball rate make up for a lot of ills. 3.99 ERA, 3.94 tRA, 117 tRA+, and almost 200 IP in his first full season in the bigs gives the Rockies a nice piece to build their rotation around. There were some quality arms in the pen (Taylor Buccholz with a 2.17 ERA?), but the back of the rotation was so bad that they actually brought in Livan Hernandez to give them an 8.03 ERA after his 5.48 ERA work in Minnesota.

It's not a Rockies team without offense (even though theirs was actually only a little better than average). The recently departed Matt Holliday led the way (.321/.409/.538, 25 HR, .417 wOBA, 123 wOBA+), with Brad Hawpe (.283/.381/.498, 25 HR, .388 wOBA, 114 wOBA+) and Chris Iannetta (.264/.390/.505, 18 HR, .400 wOBA, 118 wOBA+), now that he finally got a decent chance to be the starting catcher, being the big secondary contributors. Todd Helton and his $16.6 MM salary walked a bunch (.391 OBP) but missed time and had no power (.388 SLG). Garrett Atkins stopped walking (.328 OBP despite a .286 BA) and played his usual bad defense and might be on the way out of town with Ian Stewart (.259/.349/.455, .347 wOBA) producing well in limited time. Oh, and despite being fast (68 SB) and a pretty good fielder, Willy Tavarez is an awful hitter (.251/.308/.296, .296 wOBA, 88 wOBA+). New Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez should probably take Tavarez's job, with Ryan Spilborghs (.313/.407/.468, .398 wOBA, 118 wOBA+ in 233 AB) taking over for Holliday in left.

The Rockies have some upside and the NL West is a pretty bad division, so I'm not counting them out for next year. Heck, if Troy Tulowitzki hadn't gotten hurt (and been bad the time that he did play - .263/.332/.401 and wOBA down from .374 in '07 to .331, and his fielding was down (thought still good) from the crazy level of performance he showed last year) then maybe they would have made a little more noise this year.

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