The Colorado Rockies season is over. Mercifully.

It’s been over mathematically for a while and pragmatically for quite a bit longer but now that not another inning will be played, we can begin the autopsy of a frustrating and disappointing campaign.

We have an entire offseason to dive into the details of each player, each position, each area of need, and each potentially intriguing transaction. 

So let’s begin with a general overview using the tried-and-true method of an oddly satisfying phrase from the title of a movie everyone loves to reference but probably hasn’t seen. That’s right, it’s time for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

Might be tempting for some to just write “N/A” here and move on. It was that kind of season. But there are a handful of objectively good things worth pointing out.

First, Daniel Bard had a phenomenal season. He was one of the best relievers in MLB with only Edwin Diaz and Emmanuel Clase having cases for having been better. In fact, it was one of the best relief pitching seasons in Rockies history. Pretty cool.

Also, I think it’s fair to say that Brendan Rodgers finally emerged, even if he isn’t yet a star player. He, to the surprise of many, has been a star defender giving him a very high floor moving forward, much like his infield teammate Ryan McMahon, both of whom should be in line for some Gold Glove attention.

Rodgers ends the season with an OPS+ of 97, roughly league average, and while everyone involved is hoping for more in the future, that too is a big step forward for this fundamentally important player to the franchise’s future.

C.J. Cron had a great year on both sides of the ball and Charlie Blackmon made his way up a few of the all-time Rockies leaderboards which is always fun.

The final few months of the season also brought bits of excitement from young players poised to make their mark next year. Ezequiel Tovar, Michael Toglia, Elehuris Montero, Sean Bouchard, and even relievers like Justin Lawrence and Jake Bird may well hold the keys to starting to turn this thing around.

The biggest good news of the season, though, may actually be the Rockies farm system ranking jumping from 24th on MLB Pipeline to ninth. 

The Bad 

Just about everything else? Kyle Freeland recovered with a pretty good second half, but it would be hard to call his season a roaring success when he has a career ERA+ of 114 and posted a 103. The rest of the rotation was a massive disappointment.

German Marquez was below league average for the first time in his career with a 93 ERA+ and a 5.00 raw ERA. Antonio Senzatela was uneven and now seriously injured. Austin Gomber spent much of the year in the bullpen. Chud Kuhl… cooled off. Jose Urena and Dinelson Limet showed promise but also why their former teams seemed fine letting them go.

Furthermore, almost all of Colorado’s prospect pitchers were hurt for much of 2022. So we may arrive at Spring Training with Ryan Rolison and Peter Lambert in the mix, and guys like Helcris Olivarez and Chris McMahon not too far behind… or not. And even if they are healthy, it’s hard to know what to expect from them at this point.

The bullpen ended the season with the worst ERA (4.82) in MLB, the sixth worst WHIP, and posted the third fewest strikeouts. And that’s including Bard without whom these stats would have to go on an entirely different chart.

It was a mess out there.

The Ugly

Speaking of messes, for the first few months of the season the club couldn’t field the baseball to save their lives. Despite the fact that they should probably have three guys on their infield get GG nominations, and the shortstop and catcher both measure out to league average, the defense cost this team way too many games.

It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly why but the emergence of Rodgers and the inclusion of Tovar and Toglia give all the reason to believe that this may have just been one of those oddities without explanation.

Injuries are ugly and there isn’t usually much you can do about them but of course this is where we mention Kris Bryant signing a mega contract and then only playing in 42 games. For now, this isn’t anyone’s fault and if Bryant can have a healthy 2023 much of these particular complaints will subside but if it goes the other way this is an ugly element of this year that will only get uglier with time.

Then there’s the lack of transactions. Also ugly.

Far too much can be made in the modern era of making moves just for the sake of making moves. Look no further than a trade between the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers involving Josh Hader that was seen as a win/win at the time but from a production standpoint has been a lose/lose. 

Still, the Rockies doing positively zilch at the deadline with several assets they could have moved, that are unlikely to return next year, is just ugly. 

This is where the team stands now.

They are without their leader and who knows if he can ever return to the player he once was. The rotation that was lauded by those who were in the know is now in shambles. And the front office feels caught between a mandate to compete and having the proper resources to do so.

But there is talent here on the horizon.