Bounce Back Season: Can Rockies Surge After Finishing in Last Place?

Bounce Back Season: Can Rockies Surge After Finishing in Last Place?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Colorado Rockies enter the 2024 season trying to rebound from owning the worst record in the National League for the just the second time in franchise history. 

Manager Bud Black’s seventh season in the Mile High City bottomed out at 59-103 for the organization’s first 100-loss season in its 31 years in the majors. So is there reason for Colorado sports betting backers of the team to throw their money behind the Rockies this season?

BetColorado.com investigated the last-place team’s regular season performance the following year to see if the league’s worst team bounces back. The National League averages an improvement of 3.77 places in rank for the year after a team ranks No. 15. For the same criteria, the American League averages a positive movement of 4.22. 

Based on this information, the Oakland A’s should move up between 10th and 11th and Colorado Rockies should move up to 11th or 12th.

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2014-2023 American League & National League Losers

Year League, Team Record, Rank Next year, Record, Rank Rank Movement
2023 AL, Oakland 50-112, #15 ‘24: TBD TBD
NL, Colorado 59-103, #15 ‘24: TBD TBD
2022 AL, Oakland 60-102, #15 ‘23: 50-112, #15 +0
NL, Washington 55-107, #15 ‘23: 71- 91, #14 +1
2021 AL, Baltimore 52-110, #15 ‘22: 83-79, #7 +8
NL, Arizona 52-110, #15 ‘22: 74-88, #9 +6
2020 AL, Texas 22-38, #15 ‘21: 60- 102, #14 +1
NL, Pittsburgh 19-41, #15 ‘21: 61- 101, #14 +1
2019 AL, Detroit 47-114, #15 ‘20: 23-35, #14 +1
NL, Miami 57-105, #15 ‘20: 31-29, #7 +8
2018 AL, Baltimore 47-115, #15 ‘19: 54-108, #14 +1
NL, Miami 63-98, #15 ‘19: 57-105, #15 +0
2017 AL, Detroit 64-98, #15 ‘18: 64- 98, #12 +3
NL, San Francisco 64-98, #15 ‘18: 73-89, #12 +3
2016 AL, Minnesota 59-103, #15 ‘17: 85-77, #5 +10
NL, San Diego 68-94, #15 ‘17: 71-91, #11 +4
2015 AL, Oakland 68-94, #15 ‘16: 69-93, #13 +2
NL, Philadelphia 63-99, #15 ‘16: 71- 91, #11 +4
2014 AL, Texas 67-95, #15 ‘15: 88- 74, #3 +12
NL, Arizona 64-98, #15 ‘15: 79-83, #8 +7

Colorado betting apps list the Los Angeles Dodgers as the World Series favorite at +320. Atlanta is second at +450.

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Seeking to Prove Doubters Wrong

If the Rockies have a shot at hitting the average of moving up to 11th or 12 in the National League in 2024, that means winning anywhere from 67 to 76 games based on the finishers in those spots from the past three seasons. 

However, looking at the Pecota Standings from baseballprospectus.com, Colorado is a longshot to make that happen. It predicts the Rockies will have a second straight season in the NL cellar just like Oakland accomplished last year with back-to-back last-place finishes in the American League. 

The Pecota Standings look for a 57.3-104.7 finish for Colorado’s young team, and that’s the lowest projection for the entire Major Leagues. 

BetMGM Colorado lists Rockies’ futures odds at 60.5 wins, with odds of winning the NL West and the NL pennant at +20000. They are at +50000 to win the World Series

Black was given an eighth year as Rockies manager despite five straight seasons of finishing fourth or fifth in the NL West. There are only four MLB managers with longer tenures than Black, as the Braves’ Brian Snitker, Dodgers’ Dave Roberts and Mariners Scott Servais all enter their ninth seasons on the job and Kevin Cash starts his 10th with the Rays. 

Black is now 476-556 with Colorado and 1,125-1,269 overall before his 17th year overall as a MLB manager.

The manager has expressed confidence in his young players taking the next step this season. That means outfielders Nolan Jones and Brenton Doyle, who turn 26 this season, and 22-year-old shortstop Ezequiel Tovar need to grow up in a hurry. 

There is some precedent in Rockies history for having hope — and a reason to back the team using Colorado sportsbook promos — but the payoff may not come until 2025. 

In 2005, the Rockies tied for last in the National League with the Pirates at 67-95. Only the Kansas City Royals were worse in the majors with a 56-106 finish. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays also were 67-95 that season. 

In 2006, Colorado was a little better at 76-86 with four NL teams below them. However, they still ended the year tied for last in the NL West with Arizona. That team had 26-year-old Matt Holliday showing strong with 34 homers, 114 RBIs and a .326 average. Also, 26-year-old Garrett Atkins hit 29 homers with 120 RBIs on a .329 average.  That was the season before the Rockies ascended to the 2007 World Series as NL champions after a 90-73 season with playoff victories over Philadelphia and Arizona in the NLCS.

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Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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