Rockies’ 2020 report card sums up confounding, disappointing season

The Rockies’ strange, confounding and hugely disappointing season ends Sunday in Arizona with a game against the equally bad and disappointing Diamondbacks.

Before the 60-game, pandemic-shortened season began, I predicted the Rockies would finish 29-31. I didn’t think owner Dick Monfort and general manager Jeff Bridich had done nearly enough to improve on last year’s 71-91 team.

But when the Rockies opened with an 11-3 record, I jumped on the bandwagon and changed my mind, saying the Rockies would win 36 games. As The Who famously sang: “Won’t get fooled again.”

With that confession and vow out of the way, I present my report card for the 2020 Rockies:

MVP: Shortstop Trevor Story played with energy and passion every time he took the field. His .882 OPS led the team, as did his 11 home runs and 14 stolen bases. He was unquestionably the Rockies’ most valuable player.

MDP: I think star third baseman Nolan Arenado would agree that he was the Rockies’ most disappointing player. His shoulder hurt worse than he ever let on, so kudos to Arenado for trying to stick it out, but his .175 average with runners in scoring position, while batting in the heart of the order, really hurt his team.

CPY: Reliever Daniel Bard is the comeback player of the year, not just with the Rockies but in all of baseball. He came to spring training simply trying to prove he could still pitch after seven years out of the majors following a paralyzing case of the yips. Bard didn’t just make the team, he became an effective closer, posting a 3.65 ERA and saving six games in six chances.

MCS: The Rockies’ most confounding statistic was, unequivocally, their .245 batting average with runners in scoring position, tied for the worst in franchise history (2011). Manager Bud Black pointed to this stat as the biggest reason why the Rockies failed to make the postseason.

MIP: Left fielder Raimel Tapia was the Rockies’ most improved player. Or perhaps a better way to put it is that Tapia finally got enough consistent playing time to prove what he could do. He took over the leadoff spot and ran with it, hitting .309 with a .361 on-base percentage. He’s still a little rough in the outfield but he made big strides.

MIS: Right-hander Antonio Senzatela stands as Colorado’s most improved starter. He lost more than 20 pounds, got in excellent shape, and evolved from a fastball thrower with an OK slider into a mature pitcher. Despite a disappointing finale Friday night, he finished 5-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 12 starts. “Senza” had a 6.71 ERA last season.

MDS: The bullpen’s 6.81 ERA stands as the most distressing statistic. It was the second-worst in the majors behind the Phillies’ 7.17. Opponents hit .300 against Rockies relievers and that just won’t cut it. It’s distressing because it looks like a difficult fix.

MSP: Josh Fuentes always played with exuberance and confidence but as a 27-year-old rookie he became Colorado’s most surprising player. He was raised on the left side of the infield but he took ownership of first base and bumped veteran Daniel Murphy from the starting spot. Fuentes fielded at a Gold Glove level and hit .315.

MFP: Second baseman Ryan McMahon was 2020’s most frustrating (and frustrated) player. His eight home runs and 24 RBIs showed that he can still be a dangerous hitter, but his high strikeout rate (34%) and inconsistency were major disappointments after his breakthrough 2019 season.

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