2018 Rockies: As Usual, Starting Pitching to Make or Break Colorado

jon gray rockies

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 6:02 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018 6:02 PM UTC

The Colorado Rockies have one of the most valuable players in MLB in Charlie Blackmon entering a contract year. But Mark Lathrop doesn't think one player can make a team as he looks at the key pieces in Colorado for 2018.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we take a look at the Colorado Rockies of the NL West. The Rockies were much better than expected in 2017 and their 87-win season cleared their season win total by 6.5 games. Their win total has been increased to 82 for the 2018 season at Bovada, just a modest increase over their 2017 total.

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🐺 @MrGrayWolf22 was savage last night: https://t.co/nCsx51Vzoc pic.twitter.com/g9A7E5EzEK

— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) March 20, 2018
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Pitching Staff

The Rockies rotation is anchored by the former 3rd overall pick, Jon Gray. He had injury issues in 2017 that limited him to 110.1 innings pitched, yet he still put up 3.2 WAR in what was essentially half a season. That is one of the reasons that Gray is only projected to put up 3.9 WAR in 2018, but also the reason to think there is some upside there. German Marquez is also a starter with electric stuff and some upside, and I will be looking to back him away from Coors Field, where his repertoire is well above average. In the bullpen, Wade Davis has come over from the Cubs to step into the closer’s role. Davis had the best strikeout rates of his career last year, but also the worst BB/9 rate of his career. Jake McGee signed an extension with the Rockies after putting up a 2.93 FIP in 2017 and will be an important cog coming out of their bullpen as well.

Lineup

Charlie Blackmon put up a monster season for the Rockies in 2017 and is one of the reasons the team exceeded their season win total. His 6.5 WAR was earned over a Herculean 725 plate appearances, as Blackmon picked up 213 hits on the season. Blackmon figures to bat leadoff again in 2018, so he will get as many at bats as possible in a contract season. A controversial figure in the Rockies lineup will be Carlos Gonzalez, who had a hot September last year and still was below replacement level. There are some interesting bats waiting in the wings that Gonzalez is blocking with his one-year, $8 million contract. Setting the table for those two will be DJ LeMahieu once again, another aging player on a one-year contract. LeMahieu has put up an average above .300 for three years in a row and is as consistent as they come.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

The rotation after Gray and Marquez is going to be quite an adventure, especially at home. Tyler Anderson is returning from an injury-plagued season, Chad Bettis had cancer last year and returned admirably, and Kyle Freeland’s ground-ball tendencies could play well once he’s able to put in full-time innings. Not exactly a list of names that I would tell anyone to wager on to exceed expectations once again in 2018.

Current Win Total: 82Best Line Offered: Bovada
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