Colorado Rockies 2019 Betting Odds, Preview: What Happens at Coors …
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- The Rockies made the postseason for the second consecutive time last year, led by the recently re-signed Nolan Arenado and some surprise pitching performances.
- If they want to get there again, they'll need at least another bullpen arm or two and starting pitcher to break out like Adam Ottovino and Kyle Freeland did last year.
- They'll also need to improve on offensive performance on the road, as they've consistently ranked towards the bottom of the league in road OPS over the past five years.
Original analysis published on Mar. 1.
Nolan Arenado will be in Colorado for a long time, but that may be the only thing Rockies fans have to cheer about this season.
After six consecutive losing seasons, the Colorado Rockies made the playoffs for a second consecutive year in 2018. Odds are against them making it to October for a third straight year, but weird things can happen when you’re the only team that plays thousands of feet above sea level.
- Record: 91-72 (+17.1 units), 87-76 ATS (+2.4 units)
- Over/Under Record: 67-86-10 (Fewest overs in MLB)
- Preseason World Series Odds: +4750
- Win Total: 81.5
- Most Profitable Starter: Kyle Freeland (23-10, +12.6 units)
The Rockies were a very profitable team and ended the year on an 8-2 run that forced a Game 163 vs. the Dodgers. Though they lost that, they did surprise most folks by beating the Cubs in Chicago in the Wild Card Game.
With a Pythagorean record of just 85-78, though, they were the second-luckiest team in baseball. That’s a big reason why their win total is considerably lower than 91 this year despite playing in the weakest division in the National League.
Also note that the Rockies games went over their run total the fewest of any team in baseball. At just 33-46-2, Coors Field was right at the bottom of the league in terms of worst ballparks for the over.
- World Series Odds: +2500
- Division Odds: +450
- Win Total O/U: 84.5
- Playoff Odds: Make +210, Miss -260
The Rockies’ World Series odds are in the third tier, with the first being the super contenders such as the Yankees, Astros and Red Sox, and the next containing many of the teams in the NL East and NL Central. They’re currently tied with the Mets, Rays and Athletics, and of the four, I’d have to say I like the Mets the most.
At +450, I wouldn’t blame anyone for taking Colorado to win the division. If the Dodgers falter, which could happen given Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen’s trajectories, the Rockies would be the team that could topple them. Here’s a fun fact that I didn’t even realize: the Rockies have never won the NL West. They’ve made the playoffs five times, but all via a wild card spot.
- Additions: Daniel Murphy, Mark Reynolds (minors), Brett Nicholas (minors), Chi Chi Gonzalez (minors)
- Subtractions: Carlos Gonzalez, D.J. Lemahieu, Adam Ottovino, Gerardo Parra, Matt Holiday, Drew Butera, Mike Tauchman, Tom Murphy
- Potential Lineup
- Charlie Blackmon – RF
- Nolan Arenado – 3B
- Daniel Murphy – 1B
- Trevor Story – SS
- David Dahl – LF
- Ian Desmond – CF
- Chris Iannetta – C
- Ryan McMahon – 2B
- Projected Rotation
- Kyle Freeland
- German Marquez
- Tyler Anderson
- Jon Gray
- Chad Bettis
- Prospect Watch: Brendan Rodgers (No. 10, IF), Garrett Hampson (Unranked, 2B),
- Key Injuries: Chris Rusin (Back, early 2019), Antonio Senzatela (Heel, early 2019)
- MVP Candidates: Nolan Arenado (+700), Trevor Story (+3000), Charlie Blackmon (+4000), Daniel Murphy (+30000)
- Cy Young Candidates: Kyle Freeland (+1800), German Marquez (+4000), Jon Gray (+10000), Tyler Anderson (+10000)
Player to Watch: David Dahl
With Carlos Gonzalez out of the picture, David Dahl should have a chance to be the every day right fielder in Coors. CarGo’s production had really dropped off the past couple of years, as he managed a road OPS well below .700. You wonder why he remains unsigned …
Anywho, back to Dahl. Since 2015, he’s dealt with a laundry list of injuries that has kept him from contributing at a consistent level, including a lacerated spleen, broken foot, fractured rib and back spasms.
During his stints with the Rockies in 2016 and 2018, he’s had interesting results:
- 2016: 63 games, .315 average, 7 homers, .859 OPS, .833 road OPS
- 2018: 77 games, .273 average, 16 homers, .859 OPS, .597 road OPS
The Coors argument didn’t look like a factor after his 2016 season, but certainly did last year. Obviously, you’re going to expect any hitter to do better at Coors than they do on the road, but the Rockies can’t have these guys doing absolutely terrible for half of their games. More on that a bit later.
If Dahl can stay healthy and put up a full season’s worth of work, he’s definitely a candidate to put up some big numbers. A nice little fantasy player if you ask me.
I’m intrigued to see if he is more than that, though. The Rockies have had only a few players who’ve been able to hit well away from home. Until they find some more, they’ll continue to be more of a pretender than a contender.
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Pitcher(s) to Watch: The Bullpen
Last year, the Rockies added Wade Davis and Bryan Shaw in an attempt to bolster their pen. Nobody wants to pitch in Colorado so it’s not often you see the Rockies add notable pitchers via free agency.
However, it was Adam Ottovino — a man with an ERA north of 5.00 in 2017 — who stole the show last year. Davis was just so-so, while Shaw … well, Shaw didn’t make the transition from Cleveland to Colorado very well. A 5.93 ERA and a -0.3 fWAR … yikes!
Other than Ottovino, the bullpen was just not that good. Of seven relievers with 50+ innings under their belt, there were as many guys with an ERA below 4.00 as there were with an ERA above 6.00 — two a pop (Ottovino and Scott Oberg, Shaw and Jake McGee).
Everyone except Ottovino will be back this year and they’ll need at least one guy to step up and help fill his shoes.
We’ll have to see if Oberg can repeat his 2.45 ERA, but I’d almost guarantee he won’t, as his 1.84 BB/9 was much lower than his career average in both the majors and minors.
One mid-season addition from last year that will need to help out is Seung Hwan Oh. The 36-year-old former Cardinal and Blue Jay has been very effective since coming to the majors in 2016, including during his time with the Rockies last year. In more than 200 big league innings, he’s posted a K/9 of 10.24 and BB/9 of just 2.17 — both very important indicators of success, especially for someone that will be pitching in Coors Field.
I’m not a huge backer of the Rockies, but I can see why some people would be. They had something happen last year that doesn’t usually happen to a Rockies team — the pitchers were good.
Freeland and his 2.85 ERA came out of nowhere. German Marquez and his 10.56 K/9 came out of nowhere. Ottovino’s career year came out of nowhere.
But who will come out of nowhere this year, and which of their pitchers will be able to repeat their success from last year?
Freeland’s sub-8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 suggest he can’t. Marquez and Jon Gray, who can both strike a lot of guys out, are probably the bets bets for success, but you never know what a Rockies’ pitcher will do.
My other major concern is that this team has really struggled to hit on the road. This has been an issue for years and years.
Last year, the Rockies’ road OPS as a team was just .665 — fourth worst in the majors. Over the past five years, they’ve never ranked higher than 24th in the majors in terms of road OPS. Cumulatively, they rank 29th over the past five years at .671, ahead of only the Padres.
A lot of people whine when folks bring up the Coors Field argument, but over the past five years, only Arenado and Troy Tulowitzki have posted a road OPS over .800, and both have done so just barely.
Other big bats of theirs like Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon have been just average, while CarGo and D.J. Lemahieu have been well below average.
I do like that they’ve brought in a proven hitter from elsewhere in Daniel Murphy, but they need the whole squad to take a step up away from Coors this season if they want to contend. You don’t see any other contenders regularly ranking at the bottom of the league in hitting in half their games, do you?
All odds via Westgate SuperBook as of Mar. 1
Transactions accurate as of Mar. 25. Free agents deemed subtractions until they re-sign