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11 Rockies

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CONTENDERS

SCOUT'S TAKE

KEY QUESTION

They're going to score, and their rotation made strides last year, but how big of a weakness will the bullpen be? Losing Adam Ottavino is big, and three bad contracts have handcuffed them: Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw and Wade Davis. Shaw used to throw his cutter mid-90s. Now it's 87, 88 and he's not commanding it well.

UNDERRATED

This is one of the best infields in the league, with Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Garrett Hampson. Hampson's got surprising pop, great arm strength and a quick release. With his instincts he could play shortstop.

ON THE CUSP

The young pitching is impressive. Peter Lambert is next in line: he's got the stuff and the acumen to one day fit into the German Márquez--Kyle Freeland conversation. He's going to start in Triple A, but I think by midseason we'll see him.

LAST LICKS

Freeland and Márquez's success wasn't a mirage: It's the Bud Black effect. He's the perfect manager there.... Charlie Blackmon is a big boy who's lost a step. He shouldn't play center.... They've made the postseason two straight years, but a lot broke right for them. That bullpen is going to be an issue.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

LAST SEASON the Rockies showed that they could win not by reprising the Blake Street Bombers, but by putting together a young, homegrown starting rotation. The keys to their run to the NL Division Series were Kyle Freeland, 25, and German Márquez, 24, who combined for nearly 400 innings with a 3.30 ERA. The surprise was that Colorado went so far without getting much from 27-year-old Jon Gray, who has the best raw stuff on the staff. Gray struggled terribly with runners on base (.885 OPS allowed) and in scoring position (.845)—so much so that he was briefly sent to Triple A in June. His underlying numbers, however, suggest that he could still be a star in the making. Gray struck out a quarter of the batters he faced last year and had quality starts in eight of 14 outings after his return to the majors. He'll be the breakout star of the Rockies' rotation in 2019.

OVER UNDER

84.5

The lineup is formidable (as usual) and, with its promising young starters, the rotation is (for once) full of upside. But a thin bullpen will make reaching 90 wins difficult again.

LINEUP

RF Charlie Blackmon

.291/29 HR/ 12 SB

1B Daniel Murphy

.299/12 HR/.454 SLG

3B Nolan Arenado

.297/38 HR/110 RBI

LF David Dahl

.273/16 HR/.534 SLG

SS Trevor Story

.291/37 HR/108 RBI

CF Ian Desmond

.236/22 HR/20 SB

2B Garrett Hampson*

.311/10 HR/40 RBI

C Chris Iannetta

.224/11 HR /36 RBI

BENCH

1B Ryan McMahon

.232/5 HR/19 RBI

OF Raimel Tapia

.200/.259 OBP/.480 SLG

* Minor league stats

FANTASY BREAKOUT

Limited by a foot injury, DAVID DAHL, 25, played 77 games in 2018. Over a full season, he has 30-homer, 100-RBI potential.

ROTATION

LH Kyle Freeland

17 W/2.85 ERA/1.25 WHP

RH German Márquez

14 W/3.77 ERA/10.6 K9

RH Jon Gray

12 W/5.12 ERA/9.6 K9

LH Tyler Anderson

7 W/4.55 ERA/1.27 WHP

BULLPEN

CL Wade Davis

43 SV/4.13 ERA/10.7 K9

RH Seunghwan Oh

2.63 ERA/1.01 WHP/10.4 K9

RH Scott Oberg

2.45 ERA/0.99 WHP/8.7 K9

MANAGER

Bud Black