What was the best Colorado Rockies offense ever?
Was it 1996 or 1997 when the Blake Street Bombers were at the height of their powers? How about the 2007 team that went to the World Series?
Those teams actually rank 2-4 in franchise history, according to League and Park Adjusted Stat, OPS+, while the 2014 team — which won only 66 games — ranks top.
You Wouldn’t Guess Them, But Once You Read The Names Of The Hitters For The 2014 Rocks, You Won’t All It is surprising that he can be considered the best of the group.
Troy Tulowitzki carried the team in nearly every category, except that injuries limited him to only 91 games. His 1.035 OPS and 170 OPS+ put him firmly in Larry Walker and Todd Helton territory. In fact, Helton had a career high 165 in OPS+.
Justin Morneau won his first batting title that year despite having a higher batting average in two seasons and higher OPS+ marks in four seasons in Minnesota. He slashed .319/.364/.496 with 17 home runs and 82 RBI for an OPS+ of 125.
The other former Twin, Michael Cuddyer, was hurt even more than Tullo and appeared in only 49 games but made the most of them. He slashed .332/.376/.579 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI for an OPS+ of 148.
Corey Dickerson was the second biggest contributor according to the Stat Day Journal, posting an OPS+ of 141 and leading the team with 24 home runs.
A second-year third baseman named Nolan Arenado, who had shown some promise but posted an OPS+ of only 81 in his rookie campaign, boosted it to 115. He also became a very good hitter.
The primary center fielder that year was Drew Stubbs who quietly put up 114 OPS+ while hitting 15 home runs and stealing 20 bags.
It really becomes mind-boggling when you look at the regulars of the team who didn’t contribute much to the franchise-best attack.
Charlie Blackmon was well above league average with an OPS+ of 103 in his first full year, but that season was easily the two worst for all-time Rockies; DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Gonzalez.
CarGo battled several off-field and health issues and ended up with an OPS+ of 88, 23 points lower than any he posted five years ago or two years later. In fact he was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013 and then won the Silver Slugger Award in 2015 after hitting a career-high 40 home runs. But during the Rockies’ best hitting season ever, he was at his worst.
LeMahieu, who won batting titles in both leagues, was the lowest-ranked man with an OPS+ of 75. He’s never done particularly well in the stat, but even in what he does, in batting average, he’s had his worst ever. .267, which is 28 points below his career average. So, during the season that was also at its worst, the Rockies’ offense was at its best.
Unfortunately for this group, the 2014 Rockies were terrible on the mound, combining for an ERA+ of 88, tied with the 1993 Rockies for the worst in franchise history. They included iconic names in rock history such as Jordan Lyles, Christian Bergman, Christian Friedrich, Yohan Fland and Boone Logan.
In ’96 and ’97, his second and third best offensive seasons, the Rockies posted winning records but failed to make the playoffs.
Sure he won the National League in 2007, his fourth best hitting campaign, but the next two best team OPS+ years? 2016 and 2001. 75 and 73 wins respectively.
For those wondering how the 2023 team will line up, your guess that this is too bad will be accurate as they currently sit with a team OPS+ of 88. Only six teams have fared worse in franchise history, including the shortened 2020 season and the 2021 team from just a few years ago.
So… in only one of the Rockies’ top six offensive seasons (2007) have they made the playoffs.
On the other hand, if you rank the best pitching seasons using ERA+, you’ll find that he played Rocktober baseball in five of his top seven seasons (2007, 2009, 2010, 2017, 2000, 2018, 1995) and One was the record of victory in seven.
Proving that age-old adage, that if you want to win, even and perhaps especially in the thin air and vast expanse of Coors Field, you’ve got to pitch.