The Colorado Rockies’ Offense Has Fallen Off A Cliff
Following the unceremonious trade of franchise player Nolan Arenado, people assumed the Colorado Rockies’ offense was going to experience some regression in 2021. Unfortunately, some regression was an understatement. They have regressed considerably and this may not even be rock bottom.
The departure of Nolan Arenado and the $50 million the Rockies paid to send him to the St. Louis Cardinals has had an immeasurably negative impact on the Rockies organization. The heart of the team was gone and now their usually reliable offense has plummeted in productivity.
Historically, the Rockies have always had relatively weak pitching and relied on high powered offense in their hitter friendly hitting environment to be competitive. Their pitching staff has amassed the sixth highest team ERA and fourth highest FIP in the league, but it’s their offense’s struggles that are magnifying an already ugly situation.
Presently, the Rockies have the league’s worst offense in terms of wRC+. Even worse, is they have the sixth worst wRC+ at home this season, which goes against their typical narrative.
The main issue with the Rockies has been soon-to-be free agent Trevor Story’s slow start. He will be returned from the IL yesterday, but has only posted an 90 wRC+ in 51 games this season and he has not approached his typical power numbers so far this season.
As of yesterday, he has only posted a .166 ISO which is around 50 points lower than his lowest career mark. The departure of Nolan Arenado and a similarly power sapped Charlie Blackmon, have left Story unprotected in a thin lineup. Furthermore, Story is struggling to take control of the Rockies’ offense.
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Charlie Blackmon has only posted a .135 ISO so far which would be his third worst career mark. Even worse, is that Blackmon has actually struggled considerably at home, which goes against his traditional home/road splits. Still, Blackmon has been the Rockies best offensive player in terms of wRC+, but there are no reinforcements throughout the line up to protect him.
Following a hot start where Ryan McMahon bolted out to the Major League home run lead, he has struggled to find consistency. He presently holds a 98 wRC+, but over the past two weeks he has been struggling. Over the past 14 days he has posted a .238/.306./.310 slash line for a 58 wRC+, but hopefully he can return to form and help lengthen the Rockies line up.
Presently C.J. Cron and Charlie Blackmon are the only two Rockies regulars who have a wRC+ over 100, but making matters worse, is none of their offensive prospects seem to be panning out.
Raimel Tapia, Brendan Rodgers, and Garrett Hampson have not only struggled to develop consistency, but they also show fatal flaws in their games which may be indicative of low ceilings for all three players.
Despite his tools, Raimel Tapia’s lack of plate discipline seems to be one of the main issues stunting his offensive growth. Over his career, Tapia has never posted a wRC+ over 100 and the season he posted his highest BB%- 2018- he posted a career low .200 batting average. In the COVID shortened 2021 season, Tapia posted a career high 96 wRC+, which sort of negated his career high .321 batting average.
Over 17 games Brendan Rodgers has posted a 105 wRC+ and the Rockies are hoping the 2015 third overall pick can finally turn a corner in his age 24 season. Although he has only had a couple of cups of coffee in the Major Leagues, this is Rodgers’ most promising start thus far in his young career.
Finally, switch hitting speedster Garrett Hampson is enjoying the best season of his career thus far, but has only posted an 88 wRC+ this season. Hampson has played above replacement level due to his excellent defense and base running, but has not been able to take advantage of Coors Field’s huge dimensions and has only posted a 66 wRC+ over 115 home games.
With Trevor Story’s impending free agency, the reinforcements do not seem to be appearing on the horizon any time soon for the Colorado Rockies. Although there was a lot of criticism about the Rockies paying $50 million to the St. Louis Cardinals to take their franchise player, that will actually save the Rockies some payroll money long term. Unfortunately, the Rockies’ player development system has not inspired much confidence that high draft picks and trading assets for prospects will yield long term benefits. It certainly will be an uphill climb for the Rockies to return to relevance.