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Monday, October 02, 2023

Inside Colorado’s three decades of mediocre baseball

Link goes to the introductory piece of a four-part, good, extensive look at the Rockies.

While certainly nowhere near the most important issue, it’s worth noting one consistent strength of the Rockies: They’re in an area where people like to be outdoors, are good at finding entertainment, and the team does a good job of making Coors Field attractive (clean, family friendly, affordable, etc.). So this line from a fan in Part 1 aptly captured how this typically not-good team typically does well in attendance.

“The Rockies are more concerned with making the summer about a ‘pleasurable and inexpensive family experience,’” said Mark Findley, a longtime Rockies fan and former baseball coach at Loveland and Fossil Ridge high schools. “The ballpark is the star attraction and it’s like, ‘come and drink at the state’s best outdoor bar.’

“If the Rox win, great. If they lose, it’s, ‘Oh well, they tried hard and we had fun at the ballpark.’ ”

The whole series is well done.

NaOH Posted: October 02, 2023 at 10:30 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: colorado rockies

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   1. NaOH Posted: October 02, 2023 at 10:32 PM (#6143239)
If anyone needs a paywall workaround:
   2. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 02, 2023 at 11:30 PM (#6143254)
Looking from the outside, it seems the Rockies still don't understand their park effect fully - they "get it" on the pitching side, but not the hitting side. They were 18th in runs scored this season but dead last in OPS+.
   3. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: October 02, 2023 at 11:36 PM (#6143256)
The humiditor may have mitigated the issue, but before that... I don't believe it is possible to consistently succeed in an extreme hitters' park. The baseball season is too long; it grinds down your pitchers too hard.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 03, 2023 at 11:21 AM (#6143301)
Looking from the outside, it seems the Rockies still don't understand their park effect fully - they "get it" on the pitching side, but not the hitting side. They were 18th in runs scored this season but dead last in OPS+.

This is exactly right. The Rockies talk themselves into thinking someone like CJ Cron is a star because he hits .281 with 29 homers, when in reality that's what any decent self-respecting first baseman should hit in Coors. If they had a truly good first baseman, he'd hit 40 homers every year. Or they let someone like Gerardo Parra play corner outfield for a few years because he can at least hit .280 in this park, so his numbers don't look too bad, when in reality he's killing the team. Elias Diaz hit .267 with 14 homers this year, which is OK for a catcher, but the Rockies kept hitting him cleanup.

The other organizational problem is that they have never paid any attention to a batter's walks or by extension OBP. They were 26th in walks drawn this year, and they had guys with K/W ratios like 111/15, 166/25, and 151/22 on the team. The last Rockie to draw even 80 walks in a season was Todd Helton in 2009! Their best young hitter, Nolan Jones, is willing to take ball four, which is a nice change; it's probably not a coincidence that he came up in another organization.

They also had a remarkable number of injuries to the pitching staff this year, losing two rotation starters to Tommy John surgery and another to a fractured skull. Plus their ace lost a couple of weeks after separating his non-throwing shoulder. The Rockies absolutely don't see it this way, but the pitching staff is in better shape than the offense.

   5. kubiwan Posted: October 03, 2023 at 12:30 PM (#6143316)
If you had asked me to compare the Rockies to their expansion siblings in Miami, I would have thought Colorado would have a pretty big regular-season advantage. But the Rox have an overall .465 winning percentage, while the Marlins are at .462, so only a half-win per season.

FWIW, the D-backs are at .486 and the Rays are at .490**, so a definite advantage to the 1998 cohort.

They were at .399(!) in their first decade, .548 since.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 03, 2023 at 03:23 PM (#6143348)
Neither the Rockies nor the Marlins have ever won their division. The Rockies do lead in postseason appearances, 5-4.

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