The Rockies released their non-roster invites for 2012 spring training. Here is a look at the position players.
Nolan Arenado 3B – No big surprise here, Arenado has been getting a lot of hype after his big 2011 season and Arizona Fall League MVP. With the Rockies roster depth I give Arenado little chance of making the big club out of spring training, but he should show up in Denver at some point in 2012.
Brendan Harris INF – A super utility guy entering his first season in the Colorado organization. He spent all of 2011 in AAA after playing in 485 MLB games with 5 teams from 2004-2010. Has a career .260/.318/.383 slash line. Harris looks to be minor league filler, basically this year’s version of Alfredo Amezaga.
Ben Paulsen 1B – Paulsen was the star of 2011 spring training finishing with a .458/.536/.917 slash line. He should be moved up to AAA this year after spending all of 2011 with the Tulsa Drillers.
Chad Tracy 1B – Chad was the return from Texas in the Greg Reynolds trade, and is also the son of Jim Tracy. He has shown good power at every minor league level, but his poor defense forced a move from the outfield to first base. Tracy should be in the mix at first in Colorado Springs with Paulsen, and either one might be the next one up if an injury happens to either of our elderly Rockies first basemen.
Brandon Wood INF – Wood has had an interesting career so far, he was the 23rd overall pick in 2003, selected by the Angels. He was selected off waivers by the Pirates in 2011 after hitting for a .168/.197/.259 line over 173 games for the Angels from 2007-2011. Wood had probably his best showing after going to the Pirates hitting .220 with 7 home runs. At this point in his career Wood is basically minor league depth.
Andrew Brown OF – Brown was a waiver claim from the Cardinals in October. He made his MLB debut in June of 2011, hitting .182 over an 11 game stretch. He profiles as a fifth outfielder/AAA Depth player.
Kent Matthes OF – a 25 year old, making his first appearance in MLB spring training, Matthes had a breakout year in Modesto in 2011 with a .334/.378/.642 line with 23 home runs and 95 RBI. A long shot to make the team this year Matthes will have to try and reproduce his success as he moves up levels.
Tim Wheeler OF – The other big name prospect for position players is Tim Wheeler after his 33 home run season for Tulsa in 2011. With his previous high being 12 home runs, Wheeler will have to prove that his 2011 season wasn’t a fluke. He will also have to prove he can hit left handed pitching as well as improving on his 142 strikeouts.
Wilkin Castillo UT – Castillo has done everything but pitch in the minors, but is primarily seen as a catcher. He has some major league experience playing in 22 games with the Reds spanning the 2008-2009 seasons. He projects to be fourth or fifth on the catching depth chart.
Lars Davis C – The Canadian catcher is making his first trip to MLB spring training after spending the last two seasons as Wilin Rosario’s backup in AA Tulsa. Davis has shown some power with good on base skills in the minors, but is pretty far down the depth chart at this point in his career.
Matt McBride 1B/OF – McBride came over as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, he spent his first 3 season in pro ball as a catcher, but has split time between first and the outfield since. He showed good offense tools as a catcher, but a shoulder injury forced a position change. He has the ability to be a solid depth player, but is not projected as a MLB starter.
Wil Nieves C – Nieves comes into camp as the third catcher and will probably fill the Paul Phillips role as veteran depth in AAA. His 282 career MLB games should help add some leadership for the young pitchers and catchers in camp and in AAA.