The Colorado Rockies are four series’ into their 2023 season. They are 5-8, having already dropped a few winnable games on shaky defense and poor back-of-the-rotation pitching.

So, with a bit of a sample size under our belts, let’s take a look inside the numbers at three things the team has done well so far and three that they have… y’know… not.

Here are three ups, and three downs:

UP: Freeland & Marquez

The best of the good news actually starts where it matters most, with the top two on the mound. Both in the short and long term, there is nothing more important for this club than Kyle Freeland and German Marquez getting themselves right and so far, so good.

Freeland has been tremendous, pitching 18.2 innings and allowing just a pair of runs for a 0.96 ERA after three starts. He has walked five and struck out 11, so not especially overpowering peripherals, but he also has looked about as comfortable on the hill from pitch to pitch as he has since 2018. This is the best start to a season in his career.

Marquez, meanwhile, hasn’t been quite as dominant in terms of preventing runs, sporting a 4.41 ERA but most of that damage came on three pitches against the Dodgers, two of which were actually decent, and his strikeout to walk ratio has been excellent at 13 to just two. Considering that so far he has faced the Padres, Dodgers, and Cardinals, all of whom have All-Star heavy lineups, these numbers are quite impressive.

These two cannot save the Rockies season on their own but if the club wants to turn things around in the next couple of years they are going to need them to captain this ship as it sets sail in a new direction.


DOWN: The Rest of the Rotation

Austin Gomber and Ryan Feltner have flirted with mediocrity but fallen just short and Jose Urena has been truly dreadful. He looked much better in his third start, going five innings and giving up three, but still has a 9.90 ERA and essentially lost two ballgames all by himself.

His second outing of the season was one of the worst we have seen in a while and the Rockies options in terms of replacing him are incredibly limited, especially now that Marquez will need a brief IL stint.

Gomber and Feltner have had their promising moments but haven’t put together a single solid outing yet meaning that whenever their top two guys aren’t on the mound, the Rockies are playing catchup from the first pitch of any given game.

Antonio Senzatela can’t return soon enough.

UP: Justin Lawrence

Reliever Justin Lawrence has been absolutely incredible in the early going. 

In 7.1 IP he has allowed just a single earned run, struck out 8, and walked three. That gives him a silly ridiculous ERA+ of 442. He has emerged as the primary set-up man, especially in the absence of Daniel Bard, and was even trusted to close a game out in a non-save situation, a test he passed with flying colors.

Pierce Johnson has also filled in nicely despite an ERA that looks rough early on (7.71) all those runs were scored in games Colorado was already losing. He is three for three in save opportunities. Along with Brent Suter (8.1 IP, 2.16 ERA) and Brad Hand (3.2 IP, 2.45 ERA) the Rockies has launched with a solid plus-side of the bullpen.

DOWN: Power Outage

This team is still in search of some pop. The offense in general has been a bit underwhelming with a few exceptions but apart from C.J. Cron and Ryan McMahon, who have hit a combined seven dingers, the Rockies have not been able to hit many homers yet with the entire rest of the team combining for an additional seven.

Famously, Kris Bryant is still searching for his first at Coors Field but he is also still searching for his first of the season despite beginning on a healthy hit streak. The lineup has four players (Elias Diaz, Charlie Blackmon, Elehuris Montero, and Brian Serven) who have an OPS+ over the league average of 100.

UP: The Catchers

You may have noticed that among that group of names were both of the Rockies catchers who are off to nice starts at the plate. Serven hasn’t gotten a ton of time but has made the most of his seven plate appearances by providing three hits including a double and an RBI for a batting average of .429. 

Diaz meanwhile is hitting .342/.419/.579 with two home runs and seven RBI. He has walked four times and struck out nine making him the most consistent hitter in the lineup by far. 

Small sample size caveats apply but it has long been a hope that one or the other of these guys could blossom into being an above average MLB catcher and maybe that’s starting to happen.

DOWN: Bullpen’s Backend

While the plus-side guys have been largely excellent, the minus-side guys have not. Ty Blach and Connor Seabold have both been knocked around in games where a comeback might’ve been possible if not for the gas on the fire. Jake Bird has really struggled and let a couple of games get completely out of hand. And perhaps most disappointingly, Dinelson Lamet has given up five runs and walked four in just 5.1 IP. 

So the team can win when their starter leaves the game with the lead but is almost certainly doomed to fail (right now) when they don’t.

The Rockies are off to Seattle for a three-game set before returning home for three against the Pittsburgh Pirates.