Colorado Rockies 2022 Season Preview

Colorado Rockies 2022 Season Preview

by April 8, 2022 0 comments

2021 was a year to forget for the Colorado Rockies. Not only did they struggle to the tune of a 74-87 record, but they went 26-54 on the road and also let franchise centerpieces Jon Gray and Trevor Story depart for essentially no compensation in return. Although the Rockies did chip away at some movement on the open market this offseason, it remains very hard to envision Colorado competing with the Giants, Dodgers, or Padres in a star-studded National League West. 

Make sure to check out all of our other Season Previews.

Additions

As frustrating as it can be to lose two franchise stars in free agency, the Rockies made up for it by signing a strong free-agent class of their own. They have shown an admirable commitment to playing competitive baseball and will at least be fun to watch. Don’t be surprised if they post a better record in 2022 than 2021, either. 

Kris Bryant, Outfielder (Seven Years, $182 Million)

Bryant spent most of his career with the Cubs before being traded to the Giants at the 2021 trade deadline. Chicago clearly wanted Bryant, an MVP candidate, out of its division. Meanwhile, San Francisco sough another star, though they only controlled him for roughly half of a season before he departed in free agency. When all was said and done, Bryant’s 2021 campaign with .265/.353/.481 25 homers, 73 RBI, 62 walks, 135 strikeouts, and 10 stolen bases. The 30-year-old is a six-time All-Star and has asserted himself among the ranks of the best in the league.

Randal Grichuk, Outfielder (Acquired from Toronto)

In the waning days before the regular season kicked off, the Rockies and Blue Jays finalized a trade sending Grichuk to Colorado in exchange for an absolute speed demon, Raimel Tapia. Last season, Grichuk slashed .241/.281/.423 with 22 homers, 81 RBI, 27 walks, and 114 strikeouts. His max exit velocity ranked in the 91st percentile while his sprint speed was in the 76th percentile.

Subtractions

Here, you will write a quick paragraph talking about some of the team’s biggest losses during the offseason. This is a great opportunity to list players whom they traded away, but also make sure to touch on anybody they were unable to re-sign. 

Trevor Story, Second Baseman, Boston Red Sox

Story was perplexed when the Rockies failed to trade him at the 2021 trade deadline. He knew he wasn’t re-signing with Colorado long-term, and he would have enjoyed spending the second half of the season on a contending team. Similarly, the Rockies could have received significant prospect compensation by trading him rather than setting for the draft pick they received as a result of the qualifying offer process. It’s worth noting that Story did have a down season last year. He slashed .251/.329/.471 with 24 homers, 75 RBI, 53 walks, 139 strikeouts, and 20 stolen bases. He demonstrated great fluency on the basepaths, finishing the year with 89th-percentile in sprint speed. Boston will hope he can replicate his 2018 and 2019 seasons. Over those two years combined, he racked up 72 homers, 50 stolen bases, and an OPS north of .900.

Jon Gray, Starting Pitcher, Texas Rangers

The Rangers’ pre-lockout sending spree saw them issue a four-year, $56 million contract to Gray. Another player who would have made sense as a deadline-day trade candidate, the former first-round pick ended up spending all of 2021 with Colorado. When all was said and done, he spent seven seasons with the club. He struggled this past year, going 8-12 with a 1.33 WHIP and 4.59 ERA, though he did produce a much more promising 3.95 xERA. Along the way, the 30-year-old also struck out 24.9 percent of batters and walked nine percent.

Raimel Tapia, Outfielder, Toronto Blue Jays

Tapia, dealt to the Jays in the Grichuk deal, represented another big loss for the Rockies. After posting a .321 batting average in 2020, he followed up that campaign with a respectable .273/.327/.372 slash line in 2021. He also racked up 50 RBI, 40 walks, 70 strikeouts, and 20 stolen bases. His ability to avoid strikeouts put him in the 95th percentile for whiff rate and 96th percentile for strikeout rate. Meanwhile, he displayed 81st-percentile sprint speed. Tapia’s ability to put the ball in play, masterfully run the bases, and graciously defend center field will be missed by the Rockies going forward.

2022 Outlook

The Rockies still have a solid core in place. The infield looks strong with Ryan McMahon at the hot corner, budding young star Brendan Rodgers at second base, and slugger C.J. Cron at first. The biggest concern on the diamond is the fact that Colorado replaced Story with Jose Iglesias, but even he had a very strong finish to his 2021 campaign with the Red Sox. Plus, he’ll likely split reps with Rodgers and potentially Garrett Hampson, too. 

Behind the dish, the Rockies’ platoon of Elias Diaz and Dom Nunez isn’t anything special, but it’s certainly serviceable. Meanwhile, the club is set up great in the outfield, deploying Bryant, Grichuk, and Charlie Blackmon in starting roles. That leaves Hampson and Connor Joe, two players who had very strong 2021 showings, available to come off the bench or start in the event of an injury.

Pitching is going to be a concern for the Rockies. It’s hard to recruit players who want to throw in the thin Denver air, which explains why the only addition to Colorado’s Opening Day rotation is ex-Pirate Chad Kuhl. German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Antonio Senzatela all finished last season with an ERA between 4.33 and 4.42, so it’s anyone’s guess how their 2022 season will play out. Perhaps the most exciting name to watch is actually Austin Gomber, who posted a 4.53 ERA last year and is currently in line to be the Rockies’ No. 4 starter. He put together a really strong May and June in 2021, and he was also dominant at home. If he can extrapolate his success over a bigger portion of games, he could certainly contend to be Colorado’s No. 1 starter.

The bullpen is also going to be a liability this coming season, much like it was last year. However, the Rockies did add veteran reliever Alex Colome, who tallied 17 saves in 2021, so he could usurp Daniel Bard and Carlos Estevez for the closer’s role if either of them struggles again.

Prediction: 71-91

Another woeful season awaits the Rockies. They didn’t make enough offseason additions to become true contenders, nor do they have a boatload of prospects who will make an immediate impact this year. Adding Bryant was nice, but losing Story and Gray hurts pretty badly. There are a lot of question marks surrounding this team’s pitching as a whole, and these areas of concern, coupled with a very tricky slate of inter-division opponents, will contribute to the Rockies finishing roughly 10 or so games under .500. 


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Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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