I know some of you are groaning as you see this page. After all, Valaika had a 2018 to forget, hitting just .156 in 122 at-bats. However, both manager Bud Black and general manager Jeff Bridich continue to mention Valaika as a player who will be in the mix for playing time at second base this season.
The 26-year-old Valaika gives the Rockies plenty of versatility (and we know that’s a big deal for Colorado’s roster) as he saw time at all four infield positions last season.
Colorado will likely continue to give Valaika every chance to regain the form he flashed in 2017 when he hit 13 homers, drove in 40 runs and was simply “the man” when it came to pinch hitting. He posted a .322 average with four home runs and eight doubles as a pinch-hitter during the 2017 regular season but couldn’t come close to duplicating that success last season.
Colorado is looking to Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson to compete for the starting job at second base. We’re also predicting that Mark Reynolds will make the Opening Day roster at first base. However, if any of the three struggle in the spring and Valaika shows any kind of spark, don’t be surprised if he would get the Opening Day roster nod.
Who do you think could be a surprise? Let us know in the comments section below.