Rockies star Nolan Arenado says Colorado's disappointing season makes it feel 'like a rebuild'
It's been a frustrating 2019 season in Denver
Back on June 20, the Rockies edged the Diamondbacks in 10 innings and moved to a season-best six games above .500. They were in wild-card position at the time, which put in them in line to make the postseason for a third straight year -- unprecedented in franchise history.
Since that 2019 high point, however, the Rockies have utterly crumbled. They've gone 19-45 since that win over Arizona -- a stretch that includes a 6-19 mark in July -- and they now find themselves in last place in the NL West and 15 games out of playoff position. Among NL teams, only the Marlins have a worse run differential than the Rockies minus-102.
Not surprisingly, the Rockies haven't done anything particular well in 2019. They rank fourth in the NL in runs scored and OPS, which is a roundly unimpressive figure for a team that plays its home games in Coors Field. Turn to wRC+ or, an advanced metric that measures all phases of production at the plate and adjusts them for ballpark and league environments, and the Rockies this season rank ahead of only those aforementioned Marlins.
On the other side of the ball, the Rockies rank 14th out of 15 NL teams in Defensive Efficiency Rating, which is the percentage of balls in play that a defense converts into outs. The bullpen has been an issue for much of the season, and the rotation has collapsed during the ongoing rough stretch. Right now, German Marquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, and Tyler Anderson are all on the IL. To frame it another way, last season just seven different Rockies made starts (and one of them, Jeff Hoffman, made only one). In 2019, however, 11 different pitchers have made starts for Colorado, and we've still got almost a month of regular season to go. As a unit, the Colorado rotation is presently lugging around an ERA of 5.96 and an of 5.20. The Coors Effect is duly noted, but it doesn't explain away an ERA of almost 6.00. Need more? Freeland, Hoffman, Anderson, Antonio Senzatela, Peter Lambert, and Chi Chi Gonzalez this season have combined to make 78 starts, and of that group Lambert has the lowest ERA at 6.63.
If these paces hold, then the Rockies will finish in last place for the first time since 2015 and register their first 90-loss campaign since that same year. These struggles occur not long after franchise third baseman Nolan Arenado inked a $260 million contract extension with Colorado. Arenado is a Rockies lifer who endured those team struggles before their 2017 and 2018 playoff appearances. As you would expect, he's frustrated.
"This is something nobody expected," Arenado told Nick Groke of The Athletic. "We didn't expect it to be like this. But it is. There's no running away from it. It is what it is."
Arenado went on to say, "It feels like a rebuild."
It's not, though. The Rockies made no moves of consequence leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, and they still have seven long-term contracts in tow -- including Arenado's and Charlie Blackmon's. So the hope for Arenado and company is going to be that the Rockies add reinforcements this coming offseason and try to contend in 2020. Given the current baseline, though, that seems like a big ask.
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