Sep 1, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter Ben Paulsen (4) and first base coach Eric Young (21) celebrate his two run home run in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
On the roster (5): Cristhian Adames, Angelys Nina, Ben Paulsen, Tim Smalling, Joey Wong.
On the 40-man roster (2): Adames, Paulsen.
Ones to watch: Adames, Paulsen.
The first call-up: Paulsen.
The dark horse(s): Adames.
Nina, Smalling, and Wong are all redundant to the presence of Rafael Ynoa, Charlie Culberson, and Daniel Descalso, so none of them would break through to the big leagues unless the injury bug takes its toll on the Rockies again this season, and/or Ynoa and Culberson prove completely ineffective as utility players.
Paulsen, who raised eyebrows in his call-up in 2014 slashing .317/.348/.571 with four home runs and four doubles in 66 plate appearances, would stand to be in the same position as McBride; there’s not a spot for him on the big league club, but injuries and/or trades at the right positions would open a door for his presence at first base and the corner outfield positions.
Adames is an interesting case. The 23-year old is an infield prospect blocked at short, second, and third by Tulo, LeMahieu, and Arenado, respectively. He received 15 plate appearances in Denver last season for his Major League debut, and remains on the radar as a potentially quality big league infielder, but with no place to play in Denver.
He slashed .338/.392/.441 in 163 AAA plate appearances last year and is quickly preparing himself to be a big leaguer, but there’s no spot for him. Does he become a trade piece? Do the Rockies decide he’d be better served as a utility man in Denver, or playing every day in Albuquerque? Does he replace Tulo if an injury (or trade) strikes this season? Adames is likely the most interesting infielder on the roster and bears watching.
Next: Next Up, The Outfield