Fantasy Breakdown: Colorado Rockies for 2021

A preview of Colorado Rockies' lineup, rotation, and bullpen for 2021.

As we prepare for the season ahead, the Pitcher List staff will be creating profiles for every fantasy-relevant player for 2021. Players will be broken up by team and role through starting pitchers, bullpen, lineup, and prospects. You can access every article as it comes out in our Player Profiles 2021 hub here.


At A Glance

Almost the entire Rockies’ team took a step back in 2020. The three-headed monster of Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado all faced drop-offs from their usual performances. With Arenado being traded, the biggest question the lineup faces is how this will impact Story and Blackmon.

As for the pitching staff, the Rockies’ starting rotation for 2021 figures to look awfully similar to the one it trotted out in 2020 – and, to be frank, the one it played in 2019 as well. And that isn’t necessarily a good thing. While Germán Márquez is a respectable staff ace with strong stuff and fantasy relevance, what follows him is a mix of guys with pedigrees, but middling stuff, and the penchant for unreliability. Add to that the Coors factor, and the deeply competitive nature of the NL West in 2021, and you have a recipe for a big ‘No Thanks’ from a fantasy perspective.

Their bullpen was also flat-out terrible. Their 6.77 ERA was the second-worst in the league and their 5.56 FIP was the third-worst. They had the second-lowest strikeout rate and the third-highest HR/9. Although, they are getting Scott Oberg back and have added a good arm in Robert Stephenson, the Rockies bullpen in 2021 will still be a massive disappointment.



By Samuel In


Projected Lineup




Trevor Story (Shortstop)

2020: 41 R, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 15 SB, .289/.355/.519 | SS #3

2021 ADP: 11.37 (SS #3)


After winning a Silver Slugger award each of the past two seasons, Story failed to complete the three-peat in 2020 after the explosion of division-rival Fernando Tatís Jr. This had more to do with Tatís Jr.’s excellence than any sort of slump or major weakness from the Rockies’ shortstop. Compared to other shortstops, Story still finished fifth in OPS with .874 and tied for fourth in home runs with 11. In fact, Story saw improvement in certain parts of his game. His 9.3% walk rate was the highest of his career and his 24.3% strikeout rate was the lowest of his career. He even snuck in an NL-leading 15 SB’s.

However, the 28-year-old shortstop did not have his best season at the plate. He saw a small drop in power, averaging 21.4 AB/HR in 2020 compared to 16.5 the past two seasons, and his BA, SLG and OPS were all the lowest they’ve been since 2017. One thing to keep an eye on in 2021 is how well he hits the offspeed. His xBA on the offspeed dropped from .299 in 2019 to .232, and his exit velocity dropped from 91.8 MPH to 85.0 MPH, suggesting that he’s making a lot of soft contact on these pitches.

But again, by no means was Story a bad player in 2020. If my best critique of Story is that he failed to put up Silver Slugger numbers, then the young shortstop doesn’t have much to worry about. Will he be the best hitting shortstop again in 2021? I can’t guarantee that. But will he be in the top tier? That’s a question I can answer with more confidence.


Josh Fuentes (First Base)

2020: 14 R, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB, .306/.320/.430 | 1B #50

2021 ADP: 488.51 (1B #46)


2020 might be the season Fuentes gets his first opportunity to be an everyday first baseman in the MLB. After sharing the role with Daniel Murphy this season, Fuentes will most likely start at the position unless Bud Black decides to move Ian Desmond back to first base. The 27-year-old first baseman has played a total of 54 games in the MLB and has failed to show any signs of power. Although in his most recent stint in the minor leagues he averaged a home run every 23.6 AB’s, he has only averaged a home run every 30.6 AB’s in the majors.

Fuentes had a respectable slash line in 2020, but some of that can be attributed to luck. Despite hitting for a .306 BA, his xBA was only .253. His WOBA was also 59 points higher than his xWOBA.

Another interesting note about Fuentes is that although both his home runs in 2020 came off of LHP, he gets on base more against RHP. He had a .328 BA and .348 OBP against RHP compared to .258 and .265 against LHP, respectively. This could be a cause for concern as it might lead to Black subbing in Desmond (should he return for the 2021 season), a notoriously good hitter against lefties, at first base against LHP’s. All in all, Fuentes is a good investment in later rounds. He’s currently going as the 46th first baseman off the board which is low given his potential to be an everyday starter, especially if Desmond doesn’t come back in 2021.


Ryan McMahon (Third Base)

2020: 23 R, 9 HR, 26 RBI, 0 SB, .215/.295/.419 | 2B #38

2021 ADP: 257.90 (3B #29)


The once top-100 prospect took a step back in 2020. McMahon saw drops in his entire slash line and his .206 xBA and 34.2% strikeout rate ranked in the bottom 8% and 5% of eligible hitters, respectively. He had an especially difficult time hitting breaking balls, seeing his xBA on such pitches drop from .269 in 2019 to .101 in 2020.

However, one thing the once-first-baseman has going for him is the ability to hit for power. He had the sixth-most home runs among second basemen with nine last season and in 2019, his 48.0% hard hit percentage and 91.9 MPH exit velocity placed him in the top eight percent in the MLB. So, when he’s making contact, he’s hitting the ball hard. The raw power is there, he just needs to make more consistent contact.

With 2020 being only his second full year in the majors, McMahon might show growth in pitch recognition and his ability to hit breaking balls as he sees more pitches. As someone who can play second base along with the corner infield positions, McMahon could be a solid pick for depth in later rounds.


Brendan Rodgers (Second Base)

2020: 1 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, .095/.095/.143 | 2B #106

2021 ADP: Undrafted (2B #49)


There’s little reason to consider drafting Rodgers. In his 21 plate appearances in 2020, he struck out in six of them. In his 102 plate appearances in his career, he only has three extra-base hits. He also has 0 stolen bases in his career, so it’s not like he’s blazing fast either.

I personally don’t think he remains the starter for long. I think what’s more likely is having McMahon move over to second after a month or two and seeing Colton Welker get called up to play the starting third base role.


Elias Díaz (Catcher)

2020: 4 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 0 SB, .235/.288/.353 | C #46

2021 ADP: Undrafted (C #46)


With Tony Wolters gone, Díaz looks to takeover everyday catching duties for the Rockies. Díaz has hovered around being an average to slightly below average catcher for most of his career. Other than 2018 where Díaz hit for an uncharacteristic line of .286/.339/.452, Díaz has put up WAR numbers of  -0.1, -1.0 and 0.0 since 2017.

But, if we look at the difference between 2018 and the rest of his career, one thing the Rockies’ catcher did well in 2018 was hit the breaking ball. His .300 xBA on breaking balls was the highest of his career, surpassing his previous high of .252, and hitting five of his 10 home runs that season on such pitches. Díaz did get a little unlucky last season on the fastball, hitting .216 on the pitch despite having an xBA of .285, but he will most likely again be an average catcher.

Although Díaz is currently slotted into the starting catcher role, with so much room to improve at the position, there’s no certainty he’ll hold onto this job. That being said, he isn’t worth drafting in most leagues.




Raimel Tapia (OF)

2020: 26 R, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 8 SB, .321/.369/.402 | OF #45

2021 ADP: 293.51 (OF #79)


Tapia had his best season in 2020. Despite only hitting a single home run in 184 AB’s after hitting one every 47.3 AB’s in 2019, Tapia set career highs in AVG, OBP and OPS. He saw his BB to K ratio increase from 1:4.8 to 1:2.7 and stole eight bases in 51 games after only stealing nine in 138 games in 2019. All this to say that Tapia’s greatest strengths will be his ability to get on base and score runs. Likely leading off in the lineup, he’ll have Story, Blackmon and Arenado hitting behind him. That should lead to him accounting for a whole bunch of runs for the Rockies.

One thing to be wary about regarding Tapia is the amount of weak contact he makes. His 85.3 MPH exit velocity and 2.0% barrel percentage were in the bottom 6% of the MLB in 2020. Some of this works towards Tapia’s advantage as he is able to run out weak contact, but it is definitely a risk factor as his .252 xBA was a full 69 points below his actual batting average.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is Desmond’s return. Should the veteran outfielder return, Tapia might have to compete for AB’s. But, if Tapia is able to get consistent AB’s, he’ll be a solid pick in later rounds considering his ability to get on base and the firepower of the rest of the Rockies’ lineup.


Charlie Blackmon (OF)

2020: 31 R, 6 HR, 42 RBI, 2 SB, .303/.356/.448 | OF #23

2021 ADP: 92.20 (OF #26)


Like his teammates Arenado and Story, Blackmon also had a down year for his standards in 2020. Blackmon saw his OPS drop to .804, the lowest it’s been since 2015. However, what’s most concerning isn’t his slash numbers, but the weak contact he was making. From 2019 to 2020, his barrel percentage dropped from 8.3% to 4.9% which contributed to a similar drop in hard hit percentage from 40.3% to 29.7%. These numbers ranked among the bottom 25 and 11 percent of MLB hitters, respectively. All this is to say that although his slash numbers were still respectable, there is reason to be concerned looking forward to 2021.

The positive to all this is that despite these concerns, Blackmon still managed to put up the 11th-most RBI’s in the MLB and had a strikeout rate in the top 24% of hitters. So if the Rockies’ offense as a whole is able to bounce back, Blackmon could have even more opportunities to drive in runs. Blackmon has also been the mark of consistency throughout his career, never hitting below .287 or less than 17 home runs ever since winning a starting outfield job in 2014. He’s probably a safe bet to be an above-average outfielder, but I wouldn’t bet on him being elite in 2021.


Ian Desmond (OF)

*2019: 64 R, 20 HR, 65 RBI, 3 SB, .255/.310/.479 | OF Rank N/A

2021 ADP: Undrafted (OF #132)


Desmond sat out the 2020 season, partly for social justice reasons, and it’s still unclear whether he’ll play in 2021. Even if he does return to the diamond, it’s unclear what to expect from him. When he was last seen playing for the Rockies in 2019, he was a typical “hit the ball hard and strikeout a decent amount” type of hitter at the plate. His hard hit percentage, exit velocity and barrel percentage ranked in the 71st, 80th and 73rd percentile, respectively while his 24.7% strikeout rate ranked in the 30th percentile among MLB hitters. Also, although his slash lines hovered around his career averages of .263/.315/.479, his underlying statistics were actually very strong. His xBA and xSLG were .273 and .481, respectively, a huge step up from his career averages of .245 and .403. He also has always hit lefties really well with a career .810 OPS that’s 91 points higher than his OPS against righties. One sharp decrease though was in his stolen bases, as he only compiled three after averaging 20 per season from 2010 to 2018.

Until it’s confirmed that Desmond will play in 2021, he’s probably undraftable in most leagues. However, should he play, he’s a nice sleeper pick as an outfielder in deeper leagues. It is worth noting though that even if Desmond does rejoin the team in 2021, there’s no guarantee he’ll be an everyday starter with the Rockies also having other options on their team.


Garret Hampson (OF)

2020: 25 R, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 6 SB, .234/.287/.383 | OF #72

2021 ADP: 268.42 (OF #72)


In 2018, Hampson was ranked the fourth-highest ranked prospect in the Rockies organization by MLB.com. However, since arriving to the big leagues, he hasn’t consistently lived up to that potential. He offers little at the plate, but should still get playing time purely due to his speed and ability to play the field. He ranked in the 99th percentile in sprint speed and 69th percentile in outs above average. With the ability to play all three outfield spots and second base, Hampson works as a utility player for the Rockies. The problem is, he doesn’t make contact often and when he does, he doesn’t hit the ball hard. His 32.6% strikeout percentage ranked in the bottom 6% of the league and 23.4% hard hit percentage placed him in the bottom 2%. With his speed, he’ll be able to run out some infield singles and steal some bases, but his bat as of yet has not developed the way many thought it would.



Watch List Considerations


The Rockies’ bench isn’t very deep. There are only a couple names that could possibly make a lasting impact this season. Sam Hilliard (OF) is a player that played in 36 games last season. But he struggled to hit above the Mendoza line with a BA of .210. 25-year-old Dom Nuñez (C) might fill in at catcher if Díaz can’t produce. Nuñez has only played 16 games in the MLB, all of which came in 2019. He hit two home runs in 43 PA and hit for a slashed .179/.233/.410. But perhaps the most interesting piece might be Colton Welker (3B) who could take up a starting role now that Arenado has been traded. Welker has yet to play in the big leagues, but is currently the seventh-ranked prospect in the Rockies organization according to MLB.com.


*2019 statistics were used for those players who did not play in 2020.


Starting Pitchers

By Daniel MacDonald


Germán Márquez (Locked In Starter)

2020: 4-6, 81.2 IP, 73K, 3.75 ERA, 1.26 WHIP | SP # __

2021 ADP: 179.0 (P# 66)

Repertoire: 52.3% Fastball, 24.8% Curveball, 17.2% Slider


At 25 years old, Germán Márquez has developed into that most rare and precious thing – an ace in the Colorado Rockies rotation. In four full seasons in the Rockies staff, he has defied the Coors Field odds, and grown into a reliable starter – capable of posting an ERA below the 4.00 threshold, and keeping home run and fly ball events to a (comparative) minimum. Last year’s 9.4% HR/FB ratio does suggest that he may have benefited from some un-Coorsy luck, but there’s also something to be said for keeping ground ball rates at or above 50%, which he manages to do.

Playing at Coors means that Márquez will never be in consideration for staff ace in fantasy, as his ERA will never consistently dip below 3.5. But he has the ability to strike batters out, and if the Rockies are a good team, he can be counted on for 12+ wins. In his current ADP, he is being drafted below guys like Marco Gonzales, Tyler Mahle, and the injured Mike Soroka. It’s hard to imagine he won’t return more value than those 3 on the balance of the season. You could do a lot worse for a #4/5 starter in your rotation. A big caveat will be the challenge that the uber-competitive NL West is likely to represent.


Kyle Freeland (Locked In Starter)

2020: 2-3, 70.2 IP, 46 SO, 4.33 ERA, 1.42 WHIP | SP # __

2021 ADP: 586.5 (P# 233)

Repertoire: 33.5% Fastball, 23.9% Changeup, 23.8% Slider


To say that Kyle Freeland’s 2019 season was a disaster would be unfair to the disaster industry. Entering the season as the staff ace, after having posted 17 wins and a miraculous 2.85 ERA in 2018, there was thought that he was the future solution to an eternal problem. 2019’s fall from grace could’ve been the end of Freeland, but he bounced back in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. While his numbers weren’t (and are unlikely to ever again be) at the 2018 level, they were respectable enough to confirm his position in the club’s rotation moving forward. His strikeout numbers (5.86 K/9, 15.1 K%) are never going to confuse him for a flamethrower, but he’s able to induce ground balls, and his diverse pitch mix features some strong off-speed offerings (CB 0.9 PVAL; CH 4.0 PVAL). If he can regain some sort of deception on his fastball (18.5 PVAL in 2018), he can tap the levels that Marquez offers at the top of the rotation.

Freeland is unlikely to go drafted in standard 12-team leagues, and will be one of those pitchers you should tag for your watchlist. Because of his current role in the rotation – and because the Rockies are weak in the bullpen – he’ll get plenty of opportunities from the outset. If he is able to capitalize on those opportunities, you’d best be ready to capitalize on his waiver wire availability.


Antonio Senzatela (Locked In Starter)

2020: 5-3, 73.1 IP, 41 SO, 3.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP | SP # __

2021 ADP: 522.5 (P# 208)

Repertoire: 56.0% Fastball, 23.5% Slider


Antonio Senzatela is a tough pitcher to project. For all intents and purposes, his 2020 was a success. Positive record, ERA below 3.5, kept baseballs in the park. He managed to bring down his opponent’s batting average, and had the best WHIP in the rotation. But be wary of what lies beneath. Like Freeland, Senzatela isn’t a strikeout pitcher; unlike Freeland, however, he doesn’t have a clever mix of effective off-speed stuff. Senzatela pitches with a fastball-heavy mix, and while his fastball did improve in velocity to 94.5 AVG in 2020, it is hardly a pitch to write home about. His best pitch on PVAL is his slider, which he introduced 24.5% of the time in 2020. If he is able to maintain some deception with that pitch, he could find sustained success. Color us skeptical that will happen, though.

Like Freeland, Senzatela will very likely go undrafted in your 12-team. His ADP of around the 200th pitcher selected means that he will be a matchup-dependent streaming option in 2021. And with the NL West shaping up to be a tough division, we’re not exactly sure there will be many weeks in which that’s a particularly juicy option.


Jon Gray (Locked In Starter)

2020: 2-4, 39.0 IP, 22 SO, 6.69 ERA, 1.44 WHIP | SP # __

2021 ADP: 504.2 (P# 202)

Repertoire: 49.4% Fastball, 29.2% Slider, 13.1% Changeup


Once thought of as the future of Colorado Rockies rotation, it’s very likely that 2021 represents the last chance at the OK Corral for Jon GrayNow 29 years old, Gray finds his position in the rotation on unsteady footing. An injury cut short his 2020 campaign, but it was hardly shaping up as one for the record books. An ERA above 6.0 will get you that. There isn’t much in his underlying metrics to suggest a huge bounce-back is in order, and the steady rise in opponent hard contact numbers would suggest that the friendly confines of Coors Field may well be getting to him.

Gray is actually being drafted on the fringes of 12-15 team leagues, ahead of his rotation mates Senzatela and Freeland. This is not wise. He should not be a consideration in your draft, and should only be considered in the event that he defies the odds and comes back with efficiency beyond his first dozen-or-so starts.


Watch List Considerations


Jeff Hoffman – Once thought of as the ace-of-the-future, the now-27 year old Hoffman has never made it there. He will contend for the #5 spot, but shouldn’t even remotely enter your draft-day psyche

Ryan Castellani – A 24-year old with a dodgy minor league pedigree, Castellani seems penciled in as the #5 for opening day. He’ll struggle in that spot.

Ryan Rolison – Keep your eye on this one. The topmost pedigree of Rockies minor league starters, and a purportedly excellent pitch mix. Could see some spot starts in 2021.


Relief Pitchers

By Kyle Horton


Bullpen Roles


Daniel Bard (Closer)

2020: 6 SV, 2 HLD, 24.2 IP, 27 K, 3.65 ERA, 1.30 WHIP | RP # 24

2021 ADP: 348.07 (P# 137)


Daniel Bard was the feel-good story of a dreadful 2020 season. After not pitching in the big leagues since 2013 and retiring in 2017, Bard signed a minor league deal with the Rockies and made their 2020 Opening Day roster. He threw 24.2 innings with a 16% K-BB%, ERA- of 71, and FIP- of 77. His fastball averaged 97.1 MPH and had 99th percentile ranked spin. His changeup held hitters to a .124 wOBA and averaged 35.3 inches of drop, 5.1 inches more than the average changeup. As evident by his low K%, none of Bard’s pitches are elite at getting whiffs. Additionally, he gave up a lot of hard contact in 2020, placing him in the bottom 6% of pitchers by hard hit rate. Bard is expected to be the Rockies closer and his save chances should be plentiful, but don’t expect him to have a long leash if results don’t go his way.


Mychal Givens (Setup)

2020: 1 SV, 6 HLD, 22.1 IP, 25 K, 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP | RP # 115

2021 ADP: 571.13 (P# 246)


The Rockies traded for Mychal Givens at the 2020 deadline. Between the Rockies and Orioles, Givens posted an ERA- of 73, FIP- of 116, and a 4.31 SIERA. He saw a career low in ground ball rate and a career high in HR/9. However, Givens did a decent job of inducing weak contact and was about average at getting whiffs. His uptick in HR/FB over the past two seasons is a bit concerning, since his home park will be hitters-friendly Coors Field. This Rockies bullpen isn’t very spectacular, but Givens will still be one of its better arms. He should see hold opportunities and should be the next man in line for closer duties.


Robert Stephenson (Setup)

2020: 0 SV, 1 HLD, 10.0 IP, 13 K, 9.90 ERA, 1.40 WHIP | RP # 335

2021 ADP: 595.20 (P# 312)


An offseason acquisition from a trade with Cincinnati, Robert Stephenson looks to be one of the center pieces of the Rockies bullpen moving forward. One quick look at his Baseball Savant page will tell you that this guy has the stuff. Unfortunately, Stephenson missed most of 2020 due to a mid-back strain and only logged ten innings on the mound. In 2019, he held hitters to a .196 xBA, was in the top 2% of the league by hard hit rate, and was a whiff machine (30.2% K rate). He has a filthy slider that misses bats half the time and a fastball that can sit at 95 MPH. I’m a bit worried about how the slider will play in Coors, but a healthy Stephenson may be the best arm out of the bullpen. Look for him to get plenty of hold chances and rack up the strikeouts.


Yency Almonte (Setup)

2020: 1 SV, 4 HLD, 27.2 IP, 23 K, 2.93 ERA, 1.12 WHIP | RP # 58

2021 ADP: 600.07 (P# 362)


Yency Almonte was the Rockies’ best bullpen arm in 2020, posting a 57 ERA- and 73 FIP-. He struck out 20.4% of hitters and induced grounders at a 56.3% rate. His best and primary pitch is his slider, and he threw it 44.8% of the time last season. Although it didn’t see as many whiffs as his changeup, it held a put away rate of 29.6%. Almonte may not be the best source for strikeouts, but he should be able to reproduce a low ERA and WHIP, while logging a lot of innings.


Scott Oberg (Setup)

2020: Did not pitch | RP # N/A

2021 ADP: 599.13 (P# 348)


Scott Oberg missed all of 2020 with a blood clot in his throwing arm. However, 2019 Oberg was very good. He struck out 26% of hitters while turning in a 2.25 ERA and 13 SV+HLDs across 56 innings. The expectations for Oberg in 2020 aren’t crystal clear yet, but seeing how he is now a veteran in that bullpen, he should be back to getting regular innings. At this point we know what we will probably get from Oberg’s performance. He can get some strikeouts and does a nice job of keeping the ball in the ballpark, but he will never be an elite arm.


Carlos Estévez (Relief)

2020: 1 SV, 6 HLD, 24.0 IP, 27 K, 7.50 ERA, 1.75 WHIP | RP # 303

2021 ADP: Undrafted (P# N/A)


Carlos Estévez didn’t do much worth writing about in 2020. His stats speak for themselves and his Statcast percentile rankings are ice cold blue. Estévez gave up a TON of hard contact last season and hitters held a .413 wOBA against him. Hitters made hard contact nearly half the time. However, Estévez was still league-average in strikeouts and has good fastball velocity. I would stay away from him until he proves he made an adjustment.


Tyler Kinley (Relief)

2020: 0 SV, 4 HLD, 23.2 IP, 26 K, 5.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP | RP # 176

2021 ADP: Undrafted (P# N/A)


Tyler Kinley has just three seasons in the big leagues and has played for three different teams. 2020 was his first season with the Rox, where he pitched to a 3.99 FIP and 4.18 SIERA. By pitch mix, he is a bit similar to Stephenson. He has a slider and changeup that can both get a ton of whiffs and a mid-90s fastball. Kinley’s biggest problem is his command. Last season, he was in the bottom 15% of pitchers in walk rate. Kinley may see innings as one of the first guys out of the pen in early innings, but his command will probably hold him back from any high leverage situations.


Jairo Díaz (Relief)

2020: 4 SV, 3 HLD, 20.0 IP, 17 K, 7.65 ERA, 2.25 WHIP | RP # 294

2021 ADP: 596.03 (P# 318)


Jairo Díaz had a similar season to Estévez. He had solid fastball velocity, but gave up way too much hard contact. Hitters produced a .597 xSLG against him and found barrels 12.5% of the time. Díaz is another pitcher to stay away from until he proves to be successful.


ADP data taken from NFC ADPs. Pitcher rankings are currently combined. When SP and RP positional rankings will be updated when made available.

2019 Positional Rankings from Razzball’s 12-team Player Rater (ESPN)

Photos by Jennifer Linnea/Flickr, Leslie Plaza Johnson & Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)

Samuel In

Samuel is a lifelong San Diego Padres fan with a deep appreciation for small market teams, YouTube and random conversations. You can share in all his misery on Twitter at @Samuel_Out.

One response to “Fantasy Breakdown: Colorado Rockies for 2021”

  1. BB says:

    Jeff Hoffman was traded to the Reds (for Robert Stephenson) on Nov. 25.

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