Projected WARMarket Value
Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market
- Charlie Blackmon, CF
- DJ LeMahieu, 2B
- Carlos Gonzalez, RF
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Gerardo Parra, LF
- Trevor Story, SS
- Ryan McMahon, 1B
- Chris Iannetta, C
- Jon Gray, RHP
- Chad Bettis, RHP
- Tyler Anderson, LHP
- German Marquez, RHP
- Kyle Freeland, LHP
- Bud Black
“There are a few things that have to happen for the Rockies to fulfill raised expectations. First, the Rockies need their three core position players — Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and DJ LeMahieu — to turn in quality seasons again. They’ll need Trevor Story to combine an approximation of his 2016 year at the plate with his 2017 defense at shortstop. Ian Desmond will need to bounce back to at least a league average player, and at least two of their three young position players — David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, and Raimel Tapia — will need to begin reaching their abundant potential.
And, finally, the still-green members of the Rockies’ rotation will need to at least repeat their 2017 performances in order to allow the sturdy bullpen to do its thing.
Some of these needs are safer bets than others. The core three have demonstrated remarkable consistency over the years. Even if Blackmon returns a little closer to earth in 2018 (just as LeMahieu did after his career best season in 2016), the Rockies can still count on him to be a major contributor. Desmond’s bounce back from a miserable 2017 is also a pretty safe bet (the bar is low).
A lot relies on the most volatile of players: young players, and young pitchers in particular. Of the position player trio, only Dahl has shown that he can handle major-league pitching consistently, but he’s also shown that he’s injury prone. Tapia and McMahon have much wider ranges of possible outcomes. From the pitching side, Kyle Freeland and Germán Márquez both turned in excellent rookie seasons. The Rockies will need a lot of high quality innings from them.”
The first word you associate with Nolan Arenado is energy. He twitches and sways in the batter’s box as he waits for the pitch. He paces and kicks dirt in the infield in between pitches even more than the usual antsy infielder. He pumps his fist and yells and shows his emotions. Sometimes he even swings so hard that his helmet falls off. Those things alone would make Arenado fun to watch. Add on the fact that he’s one of the best players in baseball, and Rockies fans truly have the chance to see something special each night they watch.
It starts with his defense. There are over-the-shoulder catches, diving plays in either direction, seemingly impossible throws from seemingly countless angles that all hit the first baseman right in the chest, and even throws to first from his rear end. Arenado is also among the elite with his bat. What has made him especially fun on offense is his ability in the clutch. Set aside the rational arguments about that word and think of one of those guys who never seems shook by the moment. Arenado has done it enough times in big spots that fans believe he’ll do it in the most important moments.
If the question is why he’s fun to watch, that’s a pretty good answer — and Rockies fans will hope that he continues to have those opportunities in a playoff race in 2018.
—Hayden Kane, Purple Row
—Hayden Kane, Purple Row
The Rockies won an NL wild card spot in 2017, and they made just one major change to their lineup, bringing in Chris Iannetta, who had a successful stint catching with the D-Backs. That leaves a lot of pressure on the pitching staff, because Colorado’s lineup didn’t so much help them earn a wild card as it was the reason they nearly lost out on the spot to the Brewers. A strong full campaign from the returning Carlos Gonzalez instead of just one half of that player would go a long way, as would a repeat performance from Iannetta, and either a rebound from or less playing time for Ian Desmond. The young rotation has already handled carrying the load once, and could do it again.
Or the Rockies young rotation is having too much asked of it, and with no meaningful lineup upgrades from the winter around to help share the weight of it all — Chris Iannetta and Jonathan Lucroy were the same hitter a year ago, and Lucroy has the better history as a backstop — the Rockies find themselves on the periphery of the National League’s races all season long.