If there is nothing else we learned from last weekend’s interviews and interactions with Colorado Rockies players and coaches, we absolutely learned that this franchise believes it is time for the younger players to step up and contribute.
For quite some time, the Colorado Rockies have had players in the minor leagues just waiting for their chance to shine. Names like Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson have received some chances while Brendan Rodgers will likely get his first taste of Major League action sometime this season.
Certainly there are others and other positions that could and will be a focus as we head into spring training (including David Dahl securing a starting outfield spot and Raimel Tapia fighting for playing time in the outfield as well), but let’s focus on second base in this article and what we heard last weekend from Colorado manager Bud Black.
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With the departure of DJ LeMahieu, Colorado will look to McMahon and Hampson to battle for the starting nod at second base. That’s one of the things we talked about in our latest predictions article that you can read by clicking here. Black also talked about the competition for second base with us and other reporters inside Coors Field on Saturday afternoon.
"“With Ryan, with Garrett, with potentially Brendan, with other guys who are going to be in camp, it’s going to a healthy competition obviously,” Black said. “The versatility that those guys bring with multiple positions that they can play on any given night, you could see them in the lineup, whether it’s in the outfield with Hampson or at second, or Mac at first to give (Daniel) Murphy a break or second or third if Nolan needs a day.”"
And are the younger players up to the challenge of replacing a two-time All-Star?
"“I think so. We think so. If you ask those guys, they’re definitely ready,” Black said. “Players want opportunities. What I’ve seen in my two years here and their growth and their development, I think they’re ready to be contributors.”"
All of this is welcome news to a fanbase that has been itching to see younger players being given a chance to make an impact on a consistent basis.
What are some things to note from Black’s comments? Here are three things that stood out to me.
First, Daniel Murphy will be playing first base primarily, which is exactly what the Rockies signed him to do this offseason.
Second, versatility is always important to Black and the Rockies and they like what Hampson, McMahon and even Rodgers can bring in that capacity. Don’t be surprised to see the Rockies mixing and matching players at many positions this season, including Hampson spending some time in center field.
Third, the younger players (McMahon primarily and Hampson in a very limited role) showed enough last season to make the Rockies believe they could replace LeMahieu in some capacity. Will any of these players be DJ-like at the plate and in the field? We’ll see, but the Rockies are seemingly confident that whatever they can provide will be good enough to win this season.
Sure, it’s a roll of the dice if the production from these younger players will really be there. However, that’s the belief of the Rockies heading into camp in Arizona. They believe have the players they need in-house to successfully fill the void at second base. Now we’ll see how that plays out in spring training.