With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training this week and the Colorado Rockies roster most likely set, here are three things to keep an eye on as the Rockies head into camp.
1. Ryan McMahon at first base
Unless GM Jeff Bridich pulls off a crazy acquisition for one of the remaining overpriced free agents, the Rockies look content on handing the first base reigns to rookie left-hander Ryan McMahon.
As one of the Rockies’ top prospects, he has managed to hit .298 in his short time in the minors. In the past, he has struggled against left-handed pitching and is prone to striking out which leads to the possibility of a platoon. The worry is if he struggles early in the spring, especially against righties, how patient will Jeff Bridich be before he gets Mark Reynolds and his 30 home runs on speed dial?
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
2. Outfield development
The health and development of David Dahl and Raimel Tapia could have major implications on the shape of this season’s roster. Ian Desmond, Charlie Blackmon, and Gerardo Parra look to be the Opening Day starters but that could easily change.
If David Dahl is completely healthy from his rib injury and plays like he did in 2016, he could soon find himself in the everyday lineup.
The huge wildcard is Tapia. Tapia will likely start the season in Albuquerque to work on his defense. If he has an exceptional spring and, as he becomes more dependable, a roster spot will need to open up … which leads to Gerardo Parra.
Parra is coming off a bounceback year and is entering the final year of his contract. With his expiring contract, above average defense, and other intangibles make him a excellent trading chip for the Rockies to upgrade in other areas of need during the season.
3. Starting rotation depth
The departure of Tyler Chatwood, despite his dreadful numbers, may put a strain on the depth of the rotation. Throughout last season, the Rockies used eight different starters. This year, the Rockies have seven vying for the five spots. With possible sophomore slumps coming from Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, and/or German Marquez, plus lingering durability concerns from Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, depth may be a concern heading into 2018.
Also factoring in the depth issue is what Bud Black wants to do with Senzatela. His 2-pitch skill set is better suited for the bullpen. If he ends up there, rotation depth will be razor thin.
Adding a journeyman to the roster to come up for spot duty could be a strong possibility. But whatever the Rockies do with the rotation, it’s tough to question Bud Black after his masterful handling of it last year.