Colorado Rockies: 2017 Season Review and Offseason Preview

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 16: Nolan Arenado
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 16: Nolan Arenado /
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What Went Right

The Colorado Rockies had two players who could finish in the top 10 in NL MVP voting. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon has been getting better and better with each passing year. He’s been a regular for four seasons and has gone from two seasons as a two-win player to a four-win player last year to this year’s 6.5 WAR season.

He’s improved his on-base percentage and slugging percentage in each of the previous three seasons. At one time he looked like a 20-HR guy who would steal 30-40 bases. Now he’s a 37-HR guy who stole 14 bases.

Third baseman Nolan Arenado has also improved each year of his career. This season, he didn’t quite get to the 40-HR level he’d reached in the two previous seasons, but 37 big flies and 130 RBI are impressive enough.

Arenado had the best on-base percentage, and slugging percentage of his career and his fielding at third continues to be among the best in the game. He also had a walk-off homer and hit for the cycle against the Giants on June 18.

How you judge the other Colorado Rockies hitters depends on your point of view. If you prefer traditional stats, you might like the 24 homers and 82 RBI of shortstop Trevor Story or the 95 runs scored of second baseman DJ LeMahieu,ignoring the Coors Field effect.

If you believe in Fangraphs WAR, you’ll find that Story was worth 1.3 WAR and LeMahieu was worth 1.8. That made both below average players (2 WAR is average). Story’s .308 on-base percentage brings him down, and LeMahieu’s .409 slugging percentage limits his value in large part because they get to play their home games at Coors Field.

The most valuable starting pitcher on the Rockies was Jon Gray, who was 10-4 with a 3.67 ERA (3.18 FIP) in 110.3 innings. In the history of the franchise, Gray’s 3.67 ERA is the 10th best of any starting pitcher with 110 or more innings in a season.

This season got off to a rough start, where he suffered a stress fracture in his foot early in the year and missed ten weeks, coming back strong and was effective down the stretch. Gray is the clear ace on this team. He had the best strikeout rate, second-best walk rate, and best rate of home runs allowed of any starter.

German Marquez (11-7, 4.39 ERA, 4.40 FIP) and Kyle Freeland (11-11, 4.15 ERA, 4.69 FIP) led the team in innings pitched and kept them in games with a chance to win. Having ERAs over 4.00 doesn’t look impressive, but keep in mind the NL as a whole had a 4.34 ERA and Marquez and Freeland had to pitch roughly half their games at Coors.

In the Colorado Rockies bullpen, Greg Holland got all the publicity for his comeback season, and his 41 saves, but lefties Jake McGee (3.61 ERA, 2.93 FIP) and Chris Rusin (2.65 ERA, 3.64 FIP) were also very good. Pat Neshek came over in a July 26 trade and was excellent from the right side over the last couple months of the season.