Colorado Rockies Outfield Battle: Week One

Feb 29, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder David Dahl (67) poses for photo day at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 29, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder David Dahl (67) poses for photo day at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

As spring training rolls on and players fight for their spot on the 25-man roster, Rox Pile is committed to providing you with up-to-date looks at the state of each position. Yesterday, we published our first look at the shortstop situation. Today, we’ll examine the outfield.

Going into the offseason, the outfield looked interesting, to say the least. The Rockies were carrying three solid starters in Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, and Charlie Blackmon, plus a decent fourth in Brandon Barnes. Fans of the blow-up-and-rebuild model had been begging for a Cargo trade since July. And what did general manager Jeff Bridich do? He signed another outfielder, Gerardo Parra.

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He then traded Dickerson to the Rays for closer Jake McGee, a move that still makes little sense to me given how many pre-arbitration years Dickerson had left. The bullpen needed bolstering, but probably not from a guy who only has one more season before arbitration. The only thing that works with the Dickerson trade is that he was becoming injury-prone. But we’ve held onto injury-prone players before (see: Cargo) because they were just that good.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the guys currently auditioning for roster spots this spring.

Brandon Barnes

13 AB | 2 H | 0 R | 0 XBH | 0 RBI | 1 BB | 5 K | .154/.214/.154

Things are looking ugly so far for Barnes, but that’s no great shock. We’ve seen what we’re going to see of him offensively the last couple years; both the floor and ceiling are pretty low. But what Barnes lacks in actual baseball ability, he makes up for in his talent for sparking a rally, and you can always count on him to hustle around the bases and in the outfield. He’ll continue to comfortably fill a bench spot as he inches toward free agency (and probably obsolescence).

Charlie Blackmon

10 AB | 2 H | 2 R | 1 XBH | 0 RBI | 4 BB | 1 K | .200/.429/.300

Blackmon’s walks stick out the most here. He’s become a more patient hitter in the last couple of years, which is part of why he’s been trusted with the lead-off spot. His overall offensive numbers are nothing special so far this spring, but I think it would take a lot for Blackmon to lose the organization’s trust. He’s proven to be a hard worker who knows his role. I expect Blackmon to start in center no matter what happens in spring training.

David Dahl

12 AB | 4 H | 2 R | 2 XBH | 3 RBI | 2 BB | 2 K | .333/.333/.667

Dahl has looked terrific so far this spring, which is exciting to see. He is the Rockies’ top outfield prospect and hits for power without many strikeouts. He’s a little late for his first date with the Show after having his spleen removed last summer, but his performance thus far in camp is very encouraging. Perhaps we can look forward to a midseason or September call-up? Dahl is the future of the Rockies’ outfield, and I think we’d all like the future to be sooner rather than later.

Carlos Gonzalez

10 AB | 3 H | 2 R | 2 XBH | 2 RBI | 1 BB | 2 K | .300/.364/.700

So far, so Cargo. He hits for power and he strikes out. There’s nothing new from him yet in spring training, and he’s such a streaky player that it’s hard for me to feel encouraged by his good performance so far. It just means he’ll probably go deep into a slump some time in April. But as long as Cargo is in the Rockies’ system, he’ll be a starting outfielder. I mean, unless he becomes a first baseman.

Kyle Parker

8 AB | 2 H | 1 R | 0 XBH | 0 RBI | 0 BB | 3 K | .250/.250/.250

The time of reckoning is here for Kyle Parker. As a non-roster invitee, he is highly unlikely to make the team out of camp. When no one picked him up after his January DFA, the Rockies gave him one last chance to make it with the big league club. Based on his line so far this spring, it may be time to #FreeKyleParker for good.

Gerardo Parra

9 AB | 3 H | 1 R | 0 XBH | 2 RBI | 1 BB | 1 K | .333/.400/.333

It’s good to see Parra providing what he was signed to provide: a decent middle-of-the-order bat and Gold-Glove defense (though it’s worth noting that he’s the only guy on the list to commit an error this spring). Under contract for the next three years, he is far too expensive for the Rockies to think of putting him anywhere other than whichever outfield position happens to be open, every single day.

Raimel Tapia

11 AB | 5 H | 3 R | 2 XBH | 2 RBI | 0 BB | 2 K | .455/.455/.636

Another exciting highly-rated prospect, Tapia is performing great so far this spring. It’ll be tough to see that hot bat go back down to Modesto or Grand Junction, but Tapia has yet to advance beyond High-A in the regular season. He also has Dahl standing in his way; Tapia will have to wait his turn to get a chance for big-league at-bats. Still, it’s fun to see what he’s capable of and dream about a day when maybe they’ll both populate the Rockies’ lineup.

Next: Has Jamaal Charles Lost a Step?

**Note: Several other Rockies have spent innings in the outfield so far this spring; this is a limited look at those we find most worth watching.

Check back next Wednesday for an update on the state of the outfield.