Colorado Rockies 2015 Crystal Ball: Daniel Descalso

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Apr 22, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter Daniel Descalso (3) is doused with water after the game against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Descalso hit a walk off single in the ninth inning. The Rockies won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

As the season gets underway, RoxPile.com is making some fun (but completely unqualified!) predictions about how members of the Colorado Rockies will fare this summer. In this edition: Daniel Descalso.

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Daniel Descalso played his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals after being taken by the club in the third round in 2007. After being granted free agency back in December, Descalso signed a two-year deal with the Rockies right before Christmas that’s worth $3.6 million.

Descalso’s always been a light hitter (career .242/.312/.338), but with a history of playing all four infield positions, he could potentially be a very valuable utility infielder with the club for the next two summers.

What The Numbers Say

FanGraphs lists various projection systems, which you can learn more about here.

The projection systems are divided on Descalso in an interesting way; ZiPS believes he’ll play in more than 110 games the rest of the year, getting nearly 270 plate appearances, implying his use all season as a utility infielder. Steamer and Depth Charts, on the other hand, both only give him 40 or so more games with the Rockies this season.

Read into that what you will, but at least none of the systems project him to get more than 300 plate appearances (which would imply a significant injury to someone like Troy Tulowitzki or Nolan Arenado) so… that’s a good thing?

All systems project him to hit right around .250 with OBPs around .325, probably a very slight Coors Field-aided bump over his career numbers, while none think he’ll do too much else as a utility player.

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  • Best-Case Scenario

    The less we see of Descalso, the better – and that’s no shot at him (or the other utility infielder, Rafael Ynoa). It’s more a shot at Tulo and Arenado; if we see Descalso in very limited play, that means Tulo and Arenado are staying on the field all year, and that’s the goal for the Rockies.

    Some fans and observers around the team are low on Descalso, arguing he doesn’t do very much. I won’t debate that, he doesn’t. But, the less he’s asked to do, the better, because Tulo, Arenado, and DJ LeMahieu need to be in for the vast, vast majority of games for the Rockies to have any chance to win this year.

    Worst-Case Scenario

    As you’ve no doubt guessed, a worst-case scenario involves an everyday Daniel Descalso. He never really played everyday for a full season in St. Louis, never cracking more tan 426 plate appearances, and never slashing higher than .264/.334/.353. Those numbers – his career best – are a far, far cry from the Rockies infield starters, so any significant number of Descalso starts makes it that much tougher for the Rockies to win consistently.

    Crystal Ball

    As you’ve read in previous Crystal Ball installments, I have faith in Tulo, Arenado, and LeMahieu to play well, and be healthy. So in my crystal ball, I don’t see many starts for Descalso, or a season where he carries too much significance. His walk-off winner the other day might be the highlight of his year.

    And that’s fine! Spell the infielders when they need a day off, have good at-bats as a pinch-hitter, play good defense if and when called upon, and play pretty much any position the club might need (apparently, he works in the outfield during batting practice, as well), and Descalso will be far more valuable than, say, Charlie Culberson was last season.

    But if Descalso has to start everyday due to an injury in the infield… Lord, have mercy on us all.

    Give us your predictions!

    Comment below, find us on Facebook, or tweet us @RoxPileFS and let us know. You can also use the hashtag #RoxCrystalBall.

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