Colorado Rockies: What to expect with 2019 free agents

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DENVER, CO - AUGUST 25: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies points to second base and celebrates as he scores a go-ahead run in the eighth inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on a Carlos Gonzalez #5 double at Coors Field on August 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players' Weekend. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 25: DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies points to second base and celebrates as he scores a go-ahead run in the eighth inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on a Carlos Gonzalez #5 double at Coors Field on August 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players' Weekend. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Colorado Rockies celebration
ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 27: Ian Desmond #20, David Dahl #26, and Chris Iannetta #22 congratulate DJ LeMahieu #9 of the Colorado Rockies after his grand slam homerun during the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 27, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

DJ LeMahieu

Following this season, LeMahieu will become a free agent. I would not be surprised if the Rockies let him walk.

LeMahieu has had a great career with the Rockies. His batting average over the seven years with the team is .299 including two gold gloves, two All-Star appearances and a batting title in 2016 when he hit .348.

The reason the Rockies would let him go is because they have a group of talented young stars that could fill his position.

The first being Brendan Rogers. One of the top prospects in baseball, he is hitting .291 in four seasons in the minors. His normal position is shortstop, but it is unlikely he will play there because Story isn’t moving. He was also named to the All-Star Futures game, where he played second base.

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The second option would be Garrett Hampson, who unlike Rodgers made his MLB debut this year. With LeMahieu going to the DL, Hampson was called up from Triple-A. He played in 10 games, hitting .273 with an OPS of .816.

This year in the minors, he has batted .312 with 10 HR and 40 RBI.

Neither of these players are DJ LeMahieu. Rodgers has more power at the plate but struggles defensively. Over his four years in the minors, he has a .948 fielding percentage and 137 errors when playing at shortstop (234 games). However, when the Rockies’ organization moved him to second, his defensive mishaps declined to five errors and a .981 fielding percentage (58 games).

Hampson is probably more similar to LeMahieu … not a lot of power at the plate but is good at putting the ball in play. He also has a good glove but his small stature (5-foot-11), compared to LeMahieu’s bigger frame (6-foot-4), makes it more difficult getting to balls in the hole, a skill at which LeMahieu thrives.

Letting LeMahieu go would definitely hurt the Rockies lineup, but having solid, young talent behind him lessens the blow.

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