The Colorado Rockies’ 2020 MLB season will begin Friday, July 24. They’ll start on the road against the Texas Rangers for a three-game set, as they’ll play their 20 interleague games against the American League West. Colorado will play a two-game midweek set against the Oakland Athletics before shifting to Coors Field for a seven-game homestand against the NL West rival San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.
Outfielder Charlie Blackmon’s status for Opening Day is in question after being diagnosed with COVID-19, while 2B/OF Ian Desmond backed out of the season amid the health concerns. Outfielder Sam Hilliard is expected to play a large role after slashing .273/.356/.649 and hitting seven home runs over a 27-game MLB stint last season. Outfielder Matt Kemp was signed to a low-risk deal late in free agency and could surprise in the hitter-friendly park out of the designated hitter role.
Pitching is once again the biggest question for the Rockies. Starting pitchers German Marquez and Jon Gray went a combined 23-13 over 53 starts last season. Marquez stands to see a significant improvement on a 4.76 ERA marred by a low 68 left on-base percentage and high 20.1 percent home run to fly ball ratio. Starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman will have another chance to take a big step forward.
The 2020 MLB schedule won’t be doing many favors for the Rockies. They’ll play 40 of their 60 games against NL West opponents – which they went 32-44 against last season. The Los Angeles Dodgers improved this offseason with the addition of OF Mookie Betts. The Arizona Diamondbacks added SP Madison Bumgarner and OF Starling Marte. The Padres added SP Zach Davies and OFs Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham.
Colorado has the fourth-best odds to win the NL West and is priced as sizable longshots along with the Giants to make the postseason. They’ll play their final 12 games of the season against divisional opponents. The closing seven games come on the road in San Francisco and Arizona from Sept. 21 through Sept. 27.
The MLB playoffs are slated to start on Sept. 29.
Colorado Rockies odds
Rockies betting breakdown
2019 Record: 71-91
Key Losses: 1B Yonder Alonso, LHP Tyler Anderson, RHP Chad Bettis, LHP Mike Dunn
Key Additions: C Elias Diaz, IF Chris Owings
1. CF David Dahl (L)
2. SS Trevor Story (R)
3. RF Charlie Blackmon (L)
4. 3B Nolan Arenado (R)
5. 1B Daniel Murphy (L)
6. 2B Ryan McMahon (L)
7. LF Sam Hilliard (L) (Backup – Ian Desmond (R)
8. C Tony Wolters (L)
Projected Rotation: RHP Jon Gray, RHP German Marquez, LHP Kyle Freeland, RHP Antonio Senzatela, RHP Jeff Hoffman, RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez
Projected Closer: RHP Wade Davis
Bullpen Strengths: Scott Oberg is a lock in the pen and could even handle some closing duties. Oberg posted a 2.25 ERA with 18 GF, 5 SV, 58 SO in 56.0 IP. Jairo Diaz could also assume some of those closing duties if needed after a decent 2019 with 63 SO & 7 HRs allowed in 57.2 IP with a 4.53 ERA. Carlos Estevez should be a key cog in relief after a career year in 2019 with a 3.75 ERA and 81 SO in 72.0 IP.
Bullpen Weaknesses: After leading the NL in Saves (43) and Games Finished (63) in 2018, Davis took a step back in 2019 with a 8.65 ERA and only 42 SO in 42.2 IP. His ERA was the 2nd highest ever for a reliever with min. 50 appearances (Athlon). Davis spent time on the DL in May and was removed from the closer role in early August. It was the fourth straight year Davis’ ERA went up. Davis is projected to regain the closing spot but could be overtaken by another arm if he struggles again. Bryan Shaw is a lock and scheduled to make $9M this year despite a 5.38 ERA with 58 SO in 72.0 IP in 2019. Jake McGee posted a 4.35 ERA and 35 SO in 45 Games, his lowest amount of appearances since 2015.
Key Stats from 2019:
- The Rockies escaped last place in the division on the final day of the season.
- Trevor Story hit 35 HRs in 2019. Story became the 1st SS to hit at least 20 homers in his first four seasons (Athlon).
- Trevor Story struck out 174 times in 656 AB in 2019.
- The Rockies went 6-19 in July, the lowest winning percentage for a month in franchise history. They also started the year 3-12, the worst start in franchise history.
- 3B Nolan Arenado hit career highs with .315 BA, .379 OBP. Arenado also hit 41 HRs with 93 SO.
- Kyle Freeland struggled at home in ‘19 with a 9.25 ERA in 10 starts.
- Wade Davis also struggled at home with an 11.10 ERA at Coors, highest ERA in MLB history among pitchers with at least 25 appearances.
- 1B Daniel Murphy had more errors (7) than homers (3) at Coors in 2019 (Athlon).
- German Marquez led all Colorado pitchers with 174 IP despite not pitching in September.
- Youngster Ryan McMahon hit 24 HRs in 2019.