Colorado Rockies: How could the outfield line up in 2019?

With the free agent signing of Daniel Murphy to play first base for the Colorado Rockies in 2019, the Rockies outfield situation will look a little bit different as a result.

Since the Colorado Rockies signed Daniel Murphy to play first base, he will displace Ian Desmond from first base (to the happiness of a lot of Rockies fans). However, with his contract, Desmond will still almost definitely be playing everyday, much like Rockies manager Bud Black deployed Desmond in 160 games (149 starts) despite a subpar season both offensively and defensively.

With having past experience in playing both center and left field, Desmond will move to the outfield.

But there will likely be another change in the outfield involving Charlie Blackmon. Blackmon has patrolled center field for the Rockies on a full-time basis since 2015 but in 2018, he saw his defensive metrics plummet. He had -28 Defensive Runs Saved, according to Baseball Reference. That number put him dead last in all of baseball.

Player Standard Fielding Table
RkNameAgeTmGInnRdrs
Pos Summary
1Charlie Blackmon31COL1511322.1-28OF
2Rhys Hoskins25PHI1521279.0-26OF-1B
3Bryce Harper25WSN1571338.0-26OF-1B
4Adam Jones32BAL1391192.1-25OF
5Miguel Andujar23NYY1361169.1-253B
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/28/2018.

 

With that, Kyle Newman of the Denver Post reported back in October that the Rockies will likely move Blackmon to left field for next season. Desmond, as a result of the Murphy signing, will likely play center field.

That, then, puts David Dahl in right field, who had a good 2018 season for the Rockies as he hit 16 home runs and 48 RBI and an OPS+ of 113 in 77 games. Defensively, his best position was right field by a wide margin.

David Dahl Fielding
YearPosGInnRdrs
2018LF34268.1-2
2018RF30206.14
2018CF850.0-2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/28/2018.

 

Who will be the backup outfielder(s)?

As you may expect, this is the area of most ambiguity in the outfield. The Rockies have plenty of outfield options to be on the bench next season.

They include Raimel Tapia, Noel Cuevas, and Mike Tauchman. Realistically, Tapia and Cuevas are the most likely to be on the roster, assuming the Rockies don’t make any further moves addressing the outfield.

Tapia has played very well in Triple-A as in parts of three seasons in Albuquerque, he has hit .330/.367/.506 with 13 home runs, 106 RBI, and 264 hits in 187 games. However, he has not been given much of a chance at the major league level by Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich and company as he has only seen action in 117 games with the Rockies, with only 25 of them coming in 2018.

Cuevas struggled both offensively and defensively in his rookie season as he had an OPS+ of 47 and -4 DRS in 75 games for the Rockies last season.

Tauchman, in parts of two seasons with the Rockies, has played in 52 games but only has 59 at-bats with an OPS+ of 20 and -2 DRS in 18 games in the outfield.

Another option for the Rockies bench as a utility man to play both the infield and outfield is Garrett Hampson. He played in 24 games for the Rockies last season as a rookie and had an OPS+ of 103 and 1 DRS. In the minor leagues, he mainly played second base and shortstop but he also played a few games in center field. He also played one game in center field in majors.

Since Bud Black likes to have 13 pitchers on his 25-man roster, the Rockies bench would only have four players so, in my opinion, it would likely be Tapia and Hampson along with an infielder and a catcher to round out the bench.

It will be a bit of a different look for the Rockies in 2019 but hopefully with their changes, the offense (and defense, for that matter) will improve from where they were last season.