The 2023 MLB season was none too kind to the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies finished the year with the third-worst record in the Majors and ranked at or near the bottom in many different categories. With that said, let’s recap the Colorado Rockies’ 2023 season.
The Offensive Numbers
There weren’t many positives for the Rockies in 2023, as Colorado finished the year with 103 losses and the worst record in the National League. Still, there were a few.
Arguably the biggest one was the rise of INF/OF Nolan Jones. The Rockies acquired Jones — a toolsy figure with tantalizing power, but someone who couldn’t crack the Guardians roster — this past offseason, and his bat flourished in Colorado.
Jones hit .297/.389/.542 and posted a 20-20 campaign in his first season in the Rocky Mountains. Given how young he is and his tools, Jones figures to be a key piece of the Rockies’ rebuild.
Then, there’s catcher Elias Diaz. After a below-average campaign in 2022, Diaz hit .267/.316/.409 with 40 extra-base hits — a career-high for the 32-year-old — and earned his first All-Star appearance.
On the pitching side of things, reliever Justin Lawrence proved to be a highly effective reliever. Lawrence struggled in 2022, but leveraged his sinker/slider combo to success and saved 11 games for Colorado this season.
He did hit a rut after the All-Star break and lost the closer’s gig but it’s hard not to see this season as a success for the 28-year-old.
Pitching in Coors Field is never easy — especially for Colorado pitchers who call the stadium home and play half their games there. The Rockies’ pitching staff ranked at the bottom in multiple categories in 2023, including ERA and wOBA. And, Colorado pitchers owned the second-worst Hard Hit% (41.2%), behind only the Diamondbacks.
No regular starter for the Rockies had an ERA below 5.00, although LHP Kyle Freeland posted an ERA+ of 100 thanks to the hitter-friendly confines.
Chase Anderson owned an ERA of 5.42 and got shelled in the first half, but did have a solid second half (3.44 ERA, 27 K in 36.2 IP) and his low Hard Hit% could make him an option for the Rockies next season.
But outside of Freeland, Anderson, and Justin Lawrence, it was tough going for Rockies pitchers.
As far as the lineup went, OF Jurickson Profar could not replicate his success in San Diego in Colorado and was ultimately DFA’d in the summer. Young outfielder Brenton Doyle flashed pop but also posted the ninth-worst Whiff% rate (35.7%) in the game (min. 750 swings).
Then, there’s Kris Bryant. The former NL MVP was limited to just 80 games and his .680 OPS was far below his career norm.
What to Look For in 2024
The Rockies have a number of very intriguing young hitting prospects, including Zac Veen, Jordan Beck, and Adael Amador. It’s not improbable to think that those three, as well as Yanquiel Fernandez, could get looks at some point in 2024. However, the Rockies’ future hopes will rely on their pitching.
We know that Colorado will be short-handed in that regard to start 2024, much like they were in 2023. Right-hander German Marquez underwent Tommy John in May of this year, so don’t expect him back to begin the year.
Colorado’s fortunes probably wouldn’t have changed had the Rockies had Marquez been healthy for most of the year. But, his loss didn’t help. The Rockies pitching at the moment is thin and with not much outside of Marquez and Freeland on the MLB roster, the development of prospects like Chase Dollander and Gabriel Hughes will be critical to the team’s future success.