Colorado Rockies do the right thing and don’t call up Brendan Rodgers
The Colorado Rockies did the right thing by not calling up their top prospect on Tuesday afternoon. It may sound strange to hear, but here is why it’s the correct decision in the long-term scheme of things.
When the Colorado Rockies sent Garrett Hampson to Triple-A on Monday, there was a wave of excitement from Rockies fans that top prospect Brendan Rodgers was on his way to the big leagues. However, as Thomas Harding from MLB.com first reported, the Rockies were going to bypass Rodgers and call up utility man Pat Valaika instead.
Recalling Valaika, who is hitting .074 in 27 at-bats this season for the Rockies, does and does not make sense. We detailed Valaika’s struggles and why they were happening in this article. Can the man nicknamed “Patty Barrels” regain the form that saw him hit 13 home runs and bat .258 in such a key role two seasons ago? It would be a huge boost to Colorado’s bench if he could.
Colorado needs a bench bat who can come through in pinch-hitting situations and occasional starts. Is that Valaika? It hasn’t been so far this season, but he will get the chance to come through starting on Tuesday night as he gets the nod at second base and will bat ninth.
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Valaika enters Tuesday on a Triple-A hot streak, going 7-for-18 over his last four games with a homer and four RBI. Can it carry over to the Major League level? This is likely becoming one of Valaika’s last chances to prove that it can.
Meanwhile, Rodgers is hitting .436 over his last 10 games with three homers and seven RBI. He’s hitting .351 on the season and has logged a 1.060 OPS. There is every indication that he could be ready to play at the Major League level. So why didn’t he get the call-up?
First, there is certainly no guarantee that Rodgers would get consistent at-bats with the Rockies. His likely best spot to fit into the lineup is at second base and the Rockies aren’t ready to relegate Ryan McMahon to the bench. Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado aren’t going anywhere on the left side of the infield, so Rodgers would be called up to get at-bats on a very irregular basis. We’ve already seen what can happen when prospects get called up when they’re on fire at Triple-A but don’t get to play (see McMahon and Raimel Tapia in past seasons, among others).
Putting Rodgers in this position would be a bad idea for his first taste of Major League action. If the Rockies are going to play Rodgers, he needs to play and not be on the bench more than he is in the field. There is more than just this season to consider when it comes to Colorado’s top prospect.
Let’s also not forget that Rodgers is just 22 years old and has just 200 career at-bats in 53 Triple-A games (heading into Tuesday’s action) under his belt. There is still plenty of room for growth and improvement.
Second, and let’s be honest, there is the issue of service time here as well. If Super Two status and the what if’s associated with that are fuzzy, here is a great piece explaining it.
Simply put, by keeping Rodgers in the minors now, the Rockies are likely to keep him longer at a lower price. On the surface, it stinks … but it’s also the business of baseball.
When Rodgers makes his MLB debut, it will be at a time that the Rockies feel is best for him as one of the future faces of the franchise. Until then, Colorado fans will have to be patient, as tough as that might be.
Want to see which other two prospects might join Rodgers and impact the Rockies in a big way by 2020? We have some ideas.
Note: Want to see the other side of the argument on why Rodgers should be called up? Click here to read that.