The Rockies lost 91 games in 2019, and they haven’t signed a single major league free agent, but Chairman and CEO Dick Monfort predicts a 94-win season in Colorado, per The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman. That would be a franchise high for the Rockies, who thrice have won 90 games but never exceeded 92. And of course, they have yet to capture their first NL West crown. Let’s stick with the Rockies…
- Monfort cites the 2007 to 2009 Rockies as precedent for his projection, who sandwiched a pair of playoff teams around an 88-loss unit in 2008. The core of the Rox’ 91-win team from 2018 remains largely intact (for now) with Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon leading the offense, while Jon Gray, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland front the rotation. Of course, questions abound for that group, from performance to health to Arenado’s recent comments about the team. The Rockies were a top-10 unit by measure of runs scored even in 2019, so a turnaround isn’t impossible. Significant, wholesale improvements from the pitching staff would have to figure heavily in a turnaround after the staff ranked 29th in the majors with a 5.58 ERA in 2019.
- Daniel Murphy will be a key player to watch in 2020, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Murphy seemed like a great fit for Coors Field heading into 2019, but an injury slowed the start of his season and the offensive numbers never really surfaced. Murphy doesn’t bring a plus glove at first base, so his contribution needs to come with the bat. A .279/.328/.452 line was his lowest mark across the board since 2015.
- Of the young players, Sam Hilliard has a chance to break into the everyday lineup, per MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. The lefty masher put up a 1.006 OPS in 27 games last year, an impressive audition. He’s a candidate to take the strong end of a platoon with Ian Desmond in left. Hilliard will have to prove he can make enough contact to see his name on the lineup card daily, but with his combination of speed and power, the physical gifts are there.