Colorado Rockies Shortstop Battle: Week One

Sep 18, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter Daniel Descalso (3) heads home to score in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter Daniel Descalso (3) heads home to score in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Spring Training is a time for competition, improvement and exposure for veterans and prospects alike. This March, the Colorado Rockies have a few position battles going on from starting shortstop to backup catcher. Here at Rox Pile we’ll be providing weekly updates throughout the spring on the shortstop, first base, pitching rotation, outfield and backup catcher battles.

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The shortstop battle has been off to an exciting start. Trevor Story, Cristhian Adames, Daniel Descalso and Rafael Ynoa are all in consideration for the starting spot and these next few weeks in Arizona is their proving ground. After Jose Reyes’ trial concludes, it’s likely that he will play less than half of the 2016 season, giving one of these four players a chance to grab the spot outright. Let’s see how they’ve done over the first week of Spring Training games;

Cristhian Adames
10 AB | 3 H | 2 R | 2 2B | 1 RBI | 1 BB | 1 K | .300/.364/.500

Adames has had a solid start to Spring Training, appearing in four games and starting one at shortstop and second base. He’s split his time between the two positions, showing his versatility and almost slotting him for the utility infielder role. It has only been six days, but the way the Rockies are using Adames suggests that they want him on the roster either at shortstop or as the utility guy. Adames is ideal for the utility role – too good to just be a bench player, but without enough strengths to hold down a starting spot – and a fast start puts him on the right track. Starting quickly is exactly what Adames needed to give himself a strong consideration for making the roster.

Daniel Descalso
8 AB | 0 H | 0 R | 1 RBI | 0 BB | 4 K | .000/.000/.000

Descalso has started in all three games he’s appeared in this season, two at shortstop and two at second base. Descalso has yet to record a hit and has struck out in half of his plate appearances. His start looks even worse with the hot starts of Adames and Story, but he has three more weeks to prove he belongs on the Opening Day roster. Descalso’s defensive versatility is highly valued and his veteran presence even more so, but he’ll have to produce to fend off Story and Adames.

Rafael Ynoa
6 AB | 1 H | 2 R | 1 RBI | 3 BB | 0 K | .167/.444/.167

Ynoa’s versatility (seeing a trend?) is his biggest strength. In four appearances, he’s played two games at shortstop, one at second base and one at third. Ynoa also made 13 starts in the outfield in 2015, furthering his positional value. Ynoa doesn’t provide power, but makes contact and gets on base, proven by his OBP (.500) and strikeouts (zero). Ynoa is the long shot to start at short, but he’s making a case for the final spot on the roster.

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Trevor Story
6 AB | 2 H | 3 R | 2 HR | 5 RBI | 3 BB |2 K | .333/.556/1.333

Story has come in with the most to overcome to win the starting job. He’s competing against two veterans in Descalso and Ynoa and an older prospect who is out of options in Adames. Story is the only player on this list who has appeared exclusively at shortstop, making four appearances in the first six games. He’s shown what the other candidates lack; power. Both of Story’s hits have been home runs, a three-run shot in his first game and a solo home run on Sunday. Story has the greatest offensive potential of the four candidates, but questions surround his defense. If he keeps playing like this, he’ll make the Rockies forget about that Troy Tulowitzki guy sooner than expected.

Check back next Monday for the latest update on the shortstop competition.

Next: Playing Catch: Domestic Violence in MLB

We’re kicking off a new weekly column where our editor, Isaac Marks, tosses around an idea with one of our staff writers. For this edition of Playing Catch, Logan Bannon joins him to discuss the Aroldis Chapman suspension, details about Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy and the impact it might have on Jose Reyes.