Skip to main content

Colorado Rockies: What’s new, 2024 season predictions and breakout prospects to watch

Colorado Rockies
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Preview: 30 Teams in 30 Days

The Colorado Rockies were one of four teams, and the only National League squad, to finish with 100+ losses in 2023, going 59-103. They’ll also be picking third in the 2024 MLB Draft this summer, exactly where they would have been even before the draft lottery was implemented. Even though they finished with a better record than the A’s and Royals, they’ll still be selecting ahead of both clubs come draft time.

Last season the Rockies had the worst offense by wRC+, finishing with a 78 (100 is league average) and the worst ERA in baseball at 5.68. The A’s weren’t too far ahead of Colorado with a team ERA of 5.48, and when you account for park factors, they actually ranked 25th among all 30 teams. Their offense also put up 721 runs, ranking 18th, which at the end of the day is the name of the game.

Nolan Jones had a breakout rookie campaign after coming over in a deal with the Cleveland Guardians last off-season. The 25-year-old hit .297 with a .389 OBP, went 20/20, and had a 135 wRC+, finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting. He struck out nearly 30% of the time, which isn’t ideal long-term, but the season he had in 2023 is certainly something Rockies fans hope he can build upon.

Reliever Jake Bird threw the same exact number of innings at home as he did on the road (44 2/3), but he thrived away from Coors, posting a 2.82 ERA while his home mark was just over three runs higher. The 2018 fifth rounder may be someone to keep an eye on if he can fix those splits just a bit. Even with the struggles at home he was exactly league average with a 4.33 ERA, but his 3.55 FIP suggests there may be some room for improvement. Bird led all Rockies pitchers in fWAR last season with 1.5.

The Rockies are in a tough division, but they’re attempting to climb back into the mix with the rest of the NL West. Let’s take a look at some of the moves the team has made, their outlook for 2024, and one player to keep an eye on this season.

Colorado Rockies additions and subtractions

colorado rockies
Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

While Bird led the pitching staff in fWAR last season, Brent Suter was second at 1.3 wins, and he has signed on with the Cincinnati Reds for 2024. After pitching in the toughest place to pitch in 2023, he’ll now be in just the third-toughest. Suter’s 3.38 ERA (3.18 FIP) a year ago was the best on the club outside of Blair Calvo, who tossed one scoreless inning.

In addition to Suter, the Colorado Rockies will also be without Chris Flexen (White Sox) and Chase Anderson (FA). In total, the Rockies will be losing one WAR from the trio, with Flexen racking up -0.5 last season while Anderson provided 0.2. Suter will be the big blow.

To help bolster their pitching staff, the Rockies have brought in Jalen Beeks off waivers, traded for Cal Quantrill, selected Anthony Molina in the Rule 5 Draft, and signed Dakota Hudson. They also brought in veteran backstop Jacob Stallings after a down year.

Beeks finished 2023 with a 5.95 ERA with the Tampa Bay Rays, which is a career high. The previous year he posted a 2.80 ERA out of the bullpen in 69 innings, so Colorado sees him as a bounce back candidate. He primarily changes speeds, offering a 90 mile per hour change-up and a 94 mph fastball which account for 89% of his pitch mix. His expected stats on every single pitch were better than what he produced, which could lead credence to the Rockies’ hope that the righty will return to form in 2024.

Quantrill similarly struggled last season, posting a 5.24 ERA with Cleveland, but he holds a 3.83 ERA for his career. Part of the reason for his down year was that his off-speed pitches didn’t provide the same value in 2023 that they did in 2022. Two years ago he ranked in the 81st percentile in off-speed run value per Baseball Savant. Last year he ranked in the ninth percentile, going from a +3 run value to a -3. Part of the reason for this is because his changeup just didn’t move quite as much as it had in the past, going from nearly an inch of movement above average to nearly an inch below. Opposing batters hit .344 against the change with an expected batting average (xBA) of .355.

Anthony Molina, 22, made it to Triple-A for the first time in 2023 and posted a 4.37 ERA across 55 2/3 innings. While his strikeout rate wasn’t terribly high at 19.7%, his walk rate is enticing as a Rule 5 pick at 7.1%. Molina will need to stay on the Rockies’ 26-man roster for the full season or be offered back to the Rays.

Dakota Hudson signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with the Rox in early January after spending six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. While his career started off strong, the past two years he has posted ERAs of 4.45 and 4.98. He’s a contact pitcher that posted a 51.5% ground ball rate last season, but also struck out just 12.7% of the hitters he faced while walking 9.6%. He’s another buy-low addition for the club.

Finally, there is Jacob Stallings, 34, who will be the backup to All Star Game MVP Elias Díaz. While Stallings had one of the worst offensive seasons of his career, batting just .191 with a .278 OBP and a 57 wRC+, he can still be of use to Colorado. While Díaz smashed right-handers last season (.298 average, 95 wRC+), he struggled big time against southpaws, batting just .185 with a 41 wRC+. While Stallings wasn’t stellar, he did hit a little better against lefties at .213 with a 71 wRC+.

Colorado Rockies 2024 outlook

Colorado Rockies
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies finished with the third-worst record in baseball last season, and while they have made some interesting additions, they’re also banking on a number of players to bounce back to their career numbers while playing in the most hitter-friendly environment in baseball. In terms of WAR, they’re adding a little to the roster through these additions with the five players projected to accumulate 2.2 wins between them with Quantrill (0.8) and Hudson (0.6) leading the charge. With the subtractions from the roster, Colorado has netted 1.2 additional WAR in projections via FanGraphs.

Colorado is projected at 60.5 wins in 2024, and the only team below them is the Oakland A’s at 57.5. They may end up a little better than that win total this coming season, but it will depend on whether or not these new additions perform like the Rockies are hoping they will.

The NL West is a tough division, and even if they had signed a couple of big-time free agents, they’d still likely be projected towards the bottom. The Mile High Mashers are still building things up heading into this season, but hopefully before long they’ll be able to start competing again.

Colorado Rockies player to watch in 2024

Colorado Rockies
Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Jones burst onto the scene last year, and this year the Colorado Rockies have another interesting bat that will be getting a longer look in the big leagues in Hunter Goodman. He got into 23 games with Colorado last season and hit .200 with a .247 OBP and a home run while striking out 31.2% of the time, but he could be a big bat in the middle of their lineup if he produces like he did in the minors.

In 91 games in Double-A, Goodman hit 25 home runs and 24 doubles. 59% of his hits went for extra bases. He played in just 15 games in Triple-A, hit .371, and a whopping 65% of his hits went for extra bases. He also struck out around 25% of the time at each spot, which is more manageable.

FanGraphs has him projected to be the team’s starting right fielder heading into 2024, and they also have him leading the team in home runs with 24, besting Jones by one. The Rockies #12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline has the tools to have a pretty solid season for the Rockies as they continue to climb.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: