Key Player: Ian Desmond
Ian Desmond has to be their key for me. You know you’ll get your production from Blackmon, Arenado, and D.J. LeMahieu. You’ll likely get your 30+ homers from Trevor Story. The question stands as to who fills in Mark Reynolds’ production. Ian Desmond should be that guy based on the contract he was given. Desmond needs to perform for their offense to be as lethal as it was last year. If he doesn’t be ready for the Rockies to start looking towards the guy mentioned next.
Prospect to Watch: Ryan McMahon
Ryan McMahon can play pretty much anywhere on the infield corners. His best opening is that first base spot. If Desmond struggles, or CarGo struggles and they need to put Desmond in the outfield, McMahon would be the guy they call upon. McMahon hit .355 with a .986 OPS last year in both AA and AAA. He is in contention for a bench spot on the opening day roster as well. He’s the number two overall first base prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and the number 41 rated prospect overall. Brendan Rodgers is really good as well, but likely wouldn’t get called up until June, if he gets called up at all. McMahon is my bet for any prospect of theirs to make a significant impact in 2018.
Projections For 2018
PECOTA has the Rockies at 78-84 in 2018. Most fringe teams tend to out-play their PECOTA projections, and I actually like this Rockies team for roughly 80 wins. However, I don’t see them making the playoffs again. That would mean no sophomore slumps for their starters, and an injury free season, which is always a rarity. I like this team more than most do, but I don’t see them making the postseason.
Why they Won’t Win the West
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are too good, and the Giants are likely better. They’ll be better than what they were last year, and despite a solid bullpen, I’m not convinced the Rockies rotation will be able to replicate the success they had in 2017. Just a reminder, they didn’t have a pitcher log more than 180 innings. A lot of innings on bullpen arms will eventually catch up. We’ll see what happens, but I just don’t think they’re remotely good enough to compete atop the division.