Monday, June 19, 2023

Newsletter Excerpt, June 19, 2023 -- "NL West Notes"


This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider.

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Colorado Rockies

This last division round-up might have run two days ago had I been able to think of anything to say about the Rockies. There’s not a more faceless team in baseball right now. The Royals have Bobby Witt Jr. and some trade pieces. The Nationals have that really young up-the-middle core. Hell, the A’s are interesting for all the off-the-field nonsense.

The Rockies? They’re bad, but not historically so. Despite not being a contender. they have one of the oldest lineups in baseball. Their best player is a plus defensive third baseman who isn’t Ke’Bryan Hayes. Their best pitcher is a soft-tossing lefty who does it with smoke and mirrors. Their three highest-paid players are on the IL. So is their only 2022 All-Star. So is the scruffy face of the team. Their star rookie, who is actually a plus contributor, has an 81 OPS+. Last year’s feel-good story has a 21% walk rate. Every time I look up the Rockies are claiming someone off waivers who I didn’t know was still active. The best thing they’ve done this year is get 65 innings of good work from two 33-year-old left-handed relievers.

Be bad. We understand bad. Be entertaining. Before they started soaking the baseballs in milk, at least Rockies games would be carnivals. Who doesn’t like a 12-11 contest with a bunch of lead changes? Have an identity. The Rockies’ identity right now is as the last MLB franchise still stuck in the 20th century, running baseball ops off a library of dog-eared Street and Smith’s annuals and warily eyeing the dust-covered Apple IIe someone bought at a yard sale.

In a sport that allows 40% of the league into the playoffs, it’s hard for any team to be all that far from contention. The Rockies, though, are as far from it as any team in the sport. I’d honestly rather be an A’s fan than a Rockies fan right now. They’re completely lost.