Five New Colorado Rockies Who Will Make An Impact


When the Colorado Rockies take the field against the Arizona Diamondbacks for Opening Night in downtown Phoenix on April 4, the Rockies will have a new look after an offseason of changes to the roster.

In this article, we’ll look at five members of the Rockies’ Opening Night roster who weren’t on the team last season, but will play a big role in the team’s success or struggles in the upcoming season.

Trevor Story, shortstop

Perhaps no one on the Colorado roster will be under more scrutiny this season than the 23-year-old shortstop who has yet to step onto a Major League field. With the midseason trade of Troy Tulowitzki and the offseason domestic problems incurred by Jose Reyes, the position was open for Story to take. He made the most of the opportunity, hitting .354 heading into Friday night’s action and earning the team’s Abby Greer Award, signifying their spring training MVP.

Story split last season between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Albuquerque, posting a combined .279 average. Despite having no MLB experience, Story is not shrinking from the spotlight.

“I roll with (expectations). I expect the most out of myself more than anyone else does out of me,” Story told me during spring training. “If I live up to my expectations, everything will work out.”

Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss has liked what he’s seen from Story in the spring.

“He’s a very mature young player,” Weiss told me. “We already knew about the physical talent but he’s handling every situation almost perfectly really so far this spring, whether it’s been on defense, in the batter’s box, or on the bases. He’s very much in control of what is going on.”

Tony Wolters, catcher

Perhaps the Cinderella story of spring training, Wolters was claimed by the Rockies off waivers from the Cleveland Indians in the offseason. The move didn’t make much noise then, but it has proven to be a key pickup for Colorado.

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Wolters, who has never played above the Double-A level before, earned Colorado’s backup catcher position by hitting .406 heading into Friday night’s game and proving his versatility. Wolters has shown in spring training he can hold down a middle infield position as well, an important trait in late-inning games later this season.

“It’s quite a story,” Weiss told the Denver Post. “We didn’t know the kid until spring training started. Over the course of six weeks, he won a lot of people over. That’s hard to do in this game.”

Mark Reynolds, first baseman/outfielder

Signing a one-year deal in the offseason after hitting 13 homers last season for the St. Louis Cardinals, Reynolds also brings versatility to the Rockies. While he will primarily play first base this season, he’s also said that he’s more than happy to get some at-bats while holding down an outfield spot as well.

The 32-year-old Reynolds has the opportunity to rediscover his 2009 power inside Coors Field, a season where he hit 44 homers and had 102 RBI. However, Reynolds hasn’t hit over .230 since that season and hasn’t had a slugging percentage of over .400 since 2012.

Can Coors Field recharge Reynolds? The Colorado Rockies were banking on that when he was signed to a one-year, $2.6 million contract in December.

Gerardo Parra, outfielder

Parra is a career .277 hitter who was signed to a three-year, $27.5 million contract in the offseason. He joins a crowded, talented Colorado outfield and will be looking to make a statement with his play in the field just as much as his swing at the plate.

“I think you’re looking at a guy who will be a .250-.255 hitter and Rockies fans shouldn’t expect big numbers from him. He’s a hitter who likes to punch the ball and doesn’t hit for a lot of power,” said journalist Mark Brown, who covered Parra from 2010-2014 when he was a member of the Diamondbacks. “He has decent speed in the outfield and a really good arm. His arm and his ability to throw runners out is really what stands out to me. I remember watching him in one game against the Atlanta Braves when he threw two runners out in one inning. He ran off the field shaking his finger like, ‘Don’t try to run on me.’ It wasn’t a mean thing but it was a statement from him that his arm should be respected.”

Parra hasn’t been spectacular this spring, hitting .268 in 56 at-bats prior to Friday night’s game. He will hold down left field and is a guy who can bat anywhere in the lineup, including leadoff when Charlie Blackmon is given a day off.

Jason Motte, relief pitcher

Signed in the offseason after going 8-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 57 games with the Chicago Cubs in 2015, Motte is expected to play a big role in a revamped Colorado bullpen.

Motte saved 42 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 and was believed to be one of Colorado’s solutions to its closer dilemma. However, Motte will reportedly start the season on the disabled list with a strained shoulder after struggling to a 9.53 ERA in six spring appearances.

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Despite the injury that will slow him at the start of the season, Weiss is thrilled to have Motte on the team.

“I don’t think it takes Motte long to fit in anywhere,” Weiss told me. “He’s made his presence known and it’s a good thing. His appearance, his energy, it’s tough for him to blend in. He stands out. I love his energy. I love the way he competes. I’ve been watching it from the other side for a long time.”