2021 Roster Review: Colorado Rockies by Paul Sporer November 1, 2021 74-87 (4th in Division; 21st in MLB) [PREVIOUS REVIEWS] SP Wins: 42 (15th) RP Wins: 32 (21st) Saves: 33 (26th) 1+ Save: 4 (Daniel Bard 20, Carlos Estévez 11, Robert Stephenson, Lucas Gilbreath 1) 100+ Ks: 5 (Germán Márquez 176, Jon Gray 157, Austin Gomber 113, Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland 105) .260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 5 (Brendan Rodgers .284, C.J. Cron .281, Raimel Tapia .273, Charlie Blackmon .270) 65+ Runs: 6 (Trevor Story 88, Ryan McMahon 80, Blackmon 76, Cron 70, Tapia, Garrett Hampson 69) 65+ RBI: 4 (Cron 92, McMahon 86, Blackmon 78, Story 75) 10+ HRs: 9 (Cron 28, Story 24, McMahon 23, Elias Díaz 18, Rodgers 15, Sam Hilliard 14, Blackmon 13, Hampson 11, Dom Nuñez 10) 5+ SBs: 5 (Story, Tapia 20, Hampson 17, McMahon 6, Hilliard 5) BEST BUY: C.J. Cron For the first time since 2017, Cron won’t be changing teams. After five teams in five years (LAA, TBR, MIN, DET, COL), he finally found a team to appreciate his plus bat (career 113 wRC+; 119 since leaving LAA). Of course Colorado would sign the 32-year-old to a multi-year deal given their love of older players, but in this case I really don’t mind it as it’s an affordable $14.5 mil for the two years. He is a solid bet for .270/25/90 with some real upside thanks to his home park. ON THE RISE: Brendan Rodgers Injuries have slowed the ascent of the #3 overall pick from 2015, but he started to show his upside in 2021. He missed the first 44 games of the season and didn’t do much in his first 10 games back, but from then on he reeled off a .295/.334/.497 line with 15 HR and 49 R/RBI in 380 PA. He will have as much playing time as he can handle, half of his games at Coors Field, dual eligibility (2B/SS), and a fair fantasy price (in the pick 130-180 range). OFF THE RADAR: Connor Joe The 29-year-old journeyman hit .285 with 8 HRs in 211 PA this year and if they keep him around, there is some nice deep league value or injury fill-in upside for shallower leagues here. He had solid plate skills (19% K/12% BB) in line with his minor league work (17% K/13% BB) and that alone can drive success in Colorado, even with mediocre power. HOT TAKE: Sam Hilliard has a 30 HR/15 SB season. The power and speed skills for this are already in place, so for this to come through he needs to improve his contact ability to earn more playing time. He has a career 35% K rate in 439 major league PA and while that doesn’t rule out a full-time role (see also: Gallo, Joey), Colorado hasn’t seen him as such to this point. Even shaving it down to a still high 28-31% mark would be enough to make an impact, especially if it was joined with a BABIP boost (career .286, mostly driven by a hideous .245 on the road). ICYMI: Their five primary starters all had ERAs at 4.60 or better: Kyle Freeland 4.33, Germán Márquez 4.40, Antonio Senzatela 4.42, Austin Gomber 4.53, and Jon Gray 4.59. I know a 4.60 ERA isn’t awesome, but it is impressive for all five Rockies arms to finish below that mark given their home park. IF THE DH RETURNS: C.J. Cron would likely fill the role most often with Connor Joe get more reps at 1B (14 gms there in ’20) with prospect Michael Toglia factoring into the 1B/DH mix in the summer.