Which young players are legit?
Beyond Hilliard, Hampson, and Daza, there are several other young Rockies who are trying to secure a job for next season. Peter Lambert is the most compelling of the group and he probably has the best chance of securing his spot on the 2020 team.
Lambert’s numbers look pretty rough on the surface. However, he has managed to battle his way to a positive WAR so far season. If he finishes out the year strong, then he could easily earn himself a spot in the middle of the team’s rotation behind Gray and Marquez. If, on the other hand, things go bad, Lambert may find himself back in the minors to start the year. It’s possible that no player on the team has as much to gain or lose with these final games than Lambert.
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Journeyman Tim Melville and prospect Rico Garcia, another player who made his career debut on Tuesday, could also claim rotation spots. Melville has begun his Rockies career with two excellent starts and could potentially keep his feel-good story going into next season. Garcia has struggled in AAA so far, and Boston did get to him for six runs over five innings, so he’ll more than likely start in Albuquerque. With a couple of good starts, he could at least gain some ground heading into spring training.
Dom Nunez is fighting for consideration as Tony Wolters’ backup catcher, or maybe even as the starter. Wolters has been serviceable but not impressive as the starter this season and Nunez raked at AAA, so it’s possible that if he continues to crush that he could claim the lion’s share of the at-bats at catcher.
There are also several players on the 40-man roster currently in the minors who could reasonably be called up when the rosters expand. These include players who have already spent some time in Denver, including Josh Fuentes, Noel Cuevas, Sam Howard, DJ Johnson, and perpetual prospect Jeff Hoffman. September will be their chance to show that they belong in Denver instead of Albuquerque.
It’s just a shame that Brendan Rodgers won’t be one of these players. Now that would’ve been fun to watch.