Rockies Roster Becoming More Clear

Rockies Roster Becoming More Clear

It should be the final off season post before Opening Day on April 3rd in Milwaukee.  The roster crunch time is two weeks from now.  Injuries, thanks to BobinWV, has been a factor in the competition to determine who gets on the plane to Milwaukee.  The major questions when ST started were the back end of rotation, bullpen, and bench players.

Rotation:  Jon Gray is the clear choice to be #1.  If BB decides to go with alternating right-left pitchers, then Tyler Anderson will be #2 and Chatty will be #3.  With the unfortunate return of the cancer to Chettis, it left two rotation spots open for competition.  Kyle Freeland, Agbayani’s favorite dark horse, is separating himself from the field and likely will be slotted #4 as he is a southpaw.  Roster space will have to be opened to make room to add Freeland.  Probably Rayon Gonzalez to the 60-day DL.  BB made it clear that experience in AAA or MLB is NOT a factor.  That allows Antonio Senzatela to be considered a candidate.  German Marquez and Jeff Hoffman were the other candidates.  Hoffman has yet to throw more than two innings in a Cactus League game.  Chris Rusin was practically automatic except for his injury and he should be ready early April, but not in the rotation.  Marquez has been knocked around a little bit.

Bullpen:  Greg Holland, Mike Dunn, Otto, Jake McGee, and Jordan Lyles are locked into five of the eight available BP slots.  Gopherg is having a good spring while Carlos Estevez is having troublesome spring.  I believe one long relief spot will go to Chris Rusin (if ready) or either one of Marquez and Hoffman.  Jason Motte and Chad Qualls should be packing up and sent home.  Jairo Diaz should be ready by mid to late May.  Qualls may start the season on the DL while Motte might be a place holder until Rusin comes back.

First base:  It’s obvious Mark Reynolds will start until Ian Desmond comes back.  Jordan Patterson and Stephen Cardullo can play both OF and 1B.  BB put Pat Valaika and Cristhian Adames at first base in practice.  BB is looking for versatility at all of the infield positions.  Alexi Amarista has a cheap guaranteed contract and is having a real bad spring until today when he went 3 for 3.  BB clearly likes Valaika and Adames for their power and bats from the right hand side.

Second base:  DJLM

Shortstop:  Trevor Story

Third base:  perennial all-star and MVP candidate Nolan Arenado

Catcher:  With Tom Murphy sidelined until late April, Dustin Garneau and Tony Wolters will split the duty behind the dish.

Outfield:  Geraldo Parra, Chuck_Nazty, and CarGo will be the starters to open the season.  David Dahl is due for a return sometimes in April.  That opened the door for Chris Denorfia to be the fourth outfielder.  Again roster space will have to be created to make room for Denorfia as well as Reynolds.   Patterson or Cardullo may be the fifth outfielder as they can also play first base.  Raimel Tapia will probably start the year in Albuquerque so he can play everyday.

The difference this year is having depth that we did not have in the past to plug in the injuries.  This spring training has been a great test of the Rockies depth.  I am interested to see who will be in the Albuquerque rotation as they may be formidable.  Hoffman, Marquez, Yency Almonte, Sam Howard, Shane Carle?

Two weeks remain in spring training

rockymountainhigh

Hometown - Champaign, IL College - Northern Illinois University, 1988 Sports Editor for my high school newspaper. Travels frequently - I can be found anywhere in the world.

24 Comments

    • rockymountainhigh

      March 20, 2017

      Observation while watching the World Baseball Classic. Puerto Rico is #1 in all offensive categories during WBC. I watched the Puerto Rico play against the Rockies before they took off to the WBC. Both teams played the regulars through the first five or six innings. Puerto Rico was shut down by the Rockies starting pitcher. Guess who? Our new ace… drum roll… Jon Gray!

      Reply
    • EdtheUmp

      March 21, 2017

      Fellas and gals…
      had a great time with RMH this spring during his annual visit to Salt River Fields.
      I saw Jon Gray’s last start on Sunday. VERY solid outing to say the least. I’m getting fired up.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      March 21, 2017

      I like the update,RMH … I agree that the depth is reassuring in dealing with all of these “4-6 weekers” as Bud Black called them, although Bettis is still a concern from a personal and team impact standpoint. Meanwhile … what do we have to do to get the WBC some attention? Problems: (1) it comes in spring training when fans are focused on their MLB teams. (2) it comes in the second half of March, when everyone else is focused on March Madness. (3) it comes before pitchers are fully geared up for the season, and teams hold a lot of the best pitchers out. How about playing all the preliminary rounds in spring and then doing a baseball Final Four in the All Star Break? You can keep your damn All Star Game if you need to; just play it on Monday night, with the WBC semifinals on a Tuesday, and the championship game on Wednesday. Or better still, just ditch the All Star Game every 4th year. The on-field product has now moved beyond “regular season intensity” into something closer to “pennant drive intensity” or even “playoff intensity.” Yesterday, Netherlands islanders vs. Puerto Rico: a big HR bat flip (Balentien; he desperately wants to come back to big league baseball; Coors Field, anyone?) followed by a brushback pitch (in an “exhibition game!”) during his next at bat. And Yadier Molina catching a couple islanders napping on the basepaths. The other night Betances hit 99 on the radar. Real baseball being wasted on MLB TV only … MLB is finally getting the idea on marketing, but it’s got a little ways to go since right now this is still very much an “outside the USA” phenomenon. And they’re playing right through the rain tonight in LA. Imagine that … you can play baseball in the rain after all! Just like it’s soccer or American football or rugby or lacrosse or something …

      Reply
    • Bill

      March 21, 2017

      I watched the game tonight from about the 4th inning on. It was exciting although our local heroes (Nolan and Melancen) struggled. I’m hooked and I’ll try to watch the game tomorrow night. I read somewhere that there have been worries about the decline of baseball in Puerto Rico but they sure have some young stars in Lindor, Correa, Baez etc. And rain in LA? We need it more.

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      March 22, 2017

      I’m putting my chips on the Harrison Musgrave square in the roulette table. He’ll be #8 in the bullpen for long relief along with Jordan Lyles.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      March 22, 2017

      Musgrave: didn’t our old friend Pooter dub Jake McGee “Chubby LaTroy?” Well, I think Musgrave may be Chubby Rusin. Nothing special about his stuff, but he’s starting to look like that 5th starter/spot starter/long reliever lefty type who can be pretty useful. He’s put together a pretty nice stat line this spring. Meanwhile, my boy Freeland is finishing up strong!

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      March 23, 2017

      Jeff Hoffman optioned to AAA. That tells me Freeland won #4. Senzatela has inside track for #5? Marquez or Musgrave #8 in bullpen. What ya think?

      Reply
    • Julian

      March 23, 2017

      Freeland definitely wins that fourth spot. It’s not close. Not much of an outing by Senzatella today. Does he need some more time in AAA? I’m not sure that anyone except Musgrave has won the fifth spot . Couldn’t there be someone on another team without options who we could pick up off of the waiver wire or in a cheap trade?

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      March 23, 2017

      Unfortunately Senzatela-Hoffman-Marquez all look like they could use some additional minor league time. I saw a comparison elsewhere of Senzatela and our old friend Juan Nicasio, and at this stage of Senzatela’s development that makes a lot of sense to me. Both could be effective a couple times through the order, but the lack of a really strong 2nd pitch (and the lack of any kind of effective third pitch) limit them. Nicasio never really developed beyond where he was in his rookie year … maybe he could’ve benefited from some additional minor league work on his repertoire too. Remember, he was a rush call up when injuries hit. Right now I’d vote for Musgrave as a placeholder for that 5th spot since I think he’s a guy who can give you the “semi quality start” of 5 innings, 3 runs, keep you in the ballgame more often than not, and probably more often than the other guys. Then Rusin can take over when he’s back while (we hope) one or more of the more talented arms take a step forward in AAA.

      Reply
    • Julian

      March 24, 2017

      Agbayani, I agree with you. I’d rather see Senzatella, Hoffman, and Marquez have time at AAA to develop their skills then be thrown into major league starts and have their development be stalled. Use Musgrave, and then plug in Rusin. By the end of the season one of the other guys might be pitching in the fifth spot of the rotation

      Reply
    • rockymountainhigh

      March 24, 2017

      Just a note: whoever pitches #5 will pitch in the spotlight of the home opener. Rockies play 4 in Milwaukee before home opener.

      Reply
    • sdcarp

      March 26, 2017

      Nice discussion regarding the 5th SPer battle above. Two initial thoughts before I start rambling:

      1. Kyle Freeland is clearly #4. Bravo. Well deserved. I’ll even consider taking him in our Fantasy League auction Saturday if I can get him for $1. I never take COL pitchers.
      2. The #5 SPer discussion is nice this year because we’re talking about young guys with upside as opposed to the David Hale/Juan Nicasio/Kyle Kendrick’s of the world. We’ve come a long way in a (relatively) short time.

      Now to my rambling thoughts regarding #5. I’m going to be a bit of a contrarian. I like the Nicasio / Senzatela comparison to an extent. And…..you all know I don’t look down of RPers. I’m a big fan of embracing the evolution of the game. RPers own a higher place in the player hierarchy than ever before. With all that in mind…..it sort of makes sense to me to begin the season with Senzatela as #5. My somewhat counterintuitive logic supporting this is as follows:

      Hoffman and Marquez are clearly tracking to be SPers. Rightfully so. As noted above, they also can make good use of more seasoning at AAA. Senzatela, on the other hand (and as pointed out by some of you), may well be better off as a RP long term. Nothing wrong with that these days. So let Senzatela begin the year at #5. Give him a month minimum. If he sticks, awesome. Consider it a bonus. But if he struggles the 2nd and 3rd time through the order as we expect, no worries. By mid-May, Rusin will be back, at full strength, and hopefully in sync. Also, with a little luck, one of Marquez/Hoffman will have more things sorted out after 4-5 AAA starts. At that point, move Senzatela to the BP (in Denver or even ABQ for a short time). No damage done.

      Reply
      • rockymountainhigh

        March 26, 2017

        Maybe play piggybacks in #5 for 2 times through each. Until the real #5 is ready at end of April?

        Reply
    • sdcarp

      March 26, 2017

      One more unrelated thought:

      Thank god we didn’t bite on Derek Norris. I was worried. I’m definitely gaining confidence in the Bridich GM reign, but I occasionally still have flashbacks and expect a stupid move (such as signing Norris). Nice “non-move” Bridich.

      Reply
    • Agbayani

      March 26, 2017

      Saw the Rockies-Padres in Peoria today (hello, spring break!). Peoria Sports Complex is perfectly nice, but lacks the design elements that set Salt River Fields apart … a little shade would be nice for one thing. Also, about half full. Ahh, those distracted Padres fans. Game notes: 1. Chatwood was very sharp. Went 6 innings, only a couple hard hit balls. 7 Ks, and showed the big curve that seemed to be missing in action much of last season. Definitely ready. I’d say line him up to pitch the road opener, hold Gray back to pitch the home opener. 2. Motte followed. Can you say “done?”. Showed nothing. Some fastballs at 89-91. He’s the guy (not Qualls) on the chopping block. 3. Watched Estevez in the pen warming up. Not many guys get to the mid-90s with so little apparent effort. I expect big things from him, perhaps as soon as April, but if they send him down till June or so to work on secondary stuff I’m fine with that too. 4. Tapia: still skinny, but not so painfully skinny as last spring! And he gave one a ride to deep CF. If some doubles/occasional HR power develops, my estimation of him goes from fringy prospect to potential starter. And Bud played him in CF too, another good sign that they think he may be able to handle the more difficult position. 5. Valaika: ok, so I only saw 3 at bats, but … I’m not really seeing anything that says “prospect.” Fooled badly on a couple offspeed pitches. 6. Amarista: I knew he was short, but seeing him up close (hey, the good thing about Padres fans not showing up is that great seats are available!) I have to say … dude makes Altuve look big. 7. Cargo, Arenado: both squared up some pitches, and look to be in the groove after difficult WBC appearances. Cargo: tried to steal 2B, seemingly on his own, sliding hands first. Please don’t do that in spring …

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        March 27, 2017

        Regarding Amarista – I saw him play in Glendale one of the days I was at ST. He played 2nd base that day. Like you, my first impression was that he’s really small compared to all those other giant guys running around. He was taken out twice that day (legally) turning double plays. Both times he hung in there, made perfect throws to 1st, and then bounced right up off the dirt. I was impressed and can see why a Manager likes him. Unlike Adames, he’s versatile. Hopefully, Adames and the Rockies are learning from Amarista and will use Adames in more positions/situations in ABQ.

        Reply
    • Bob K.

      March 28, 2017

      JDLR made the DBacks as a reliever.

      Reply
      • sdcarp

        March 28, 2017

        The DBacks Pen looks like a disaster on paper. I also note Archie Bradley may be in their Pen. I sort of like that particular move. But in general…….their Pen, and general roster depth, doesn’t look good.

        Reply
      • Bob K.

        March 28, 2017

        He was pitching very well in the WBC.

        Reply
      • sdcarp

        March 28, 2017

        IMO…..a real key for the Rockies in 2017 will be winning (by a relatively wide margin) the season series against the Padres and DBacks. We have to be able to beat the teams we “should” beat.

        Reply

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