Finding the answer at second base and late relief
Make no mistake about it, Colorado has players fully capable of being the answers to both questions. In the infield, Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson seem as the likely choices to inherit LeMahieu’s high standards at second. Both are young players and both have the skills to impact Colorado’s offense. They may not have LeMahieu’s Gold Glove defensive capabilities, but are they solid enough defensively to maintain Colorado’s high standards for its infield?
McMahon provided some highlight reel moments last season. Hampson had an impressive debut and has the tools to slot into the leadoff role, which could help move Charlie Blackmon down in the order.
If either of them (or a combination of the two) shine this season at second, it will show that Colorado general manager Jeff Bridich rolled the dice correctly when he let LeMahieu walk away.
In the bullpen, Ottavino joined LeMahieu with the New York Yankees and left behind an All-Star-type of season in 2018 to be filled. Scott Oberg and Seunghwan Oh are the most logical players to step into Ottavino’s role. Can Oberg continue the success he saw last season? What can Oh do in his first full season with the Rockies?
Ottavino’s role could also be filled by two players looking to bounce back from rough campaigns last year, Bryan Shaw and Chris Rusin. Shaw’s success this season is critical to Colorado’s overall bullpen strength. A repeat of 2018 simply can’t happen.
There are plenty of options to fill in for LeMahieu and Ottavino. If Bud Black can find a successful combination to cement those two big roles for the Rockies, it bodes well for a third straight Rocktober.