One of the most intriguing storylines for the Rockies coming into this season was the potential debut of the long-awaited Rodgers. Coming into this year, he was a consensus top prospects in baseball and one of the most long-anticipated Rockies since maybe even Nolan Arenado.
Thing looked great for a while as Rodgers hit .350/.413/.622 at AAA. This was good enough to get him called up halfway through May, where he looked like he was primed to take over regular second base duties from the struggling duo of Garret Hampson and Ryan McMahon.
But then he just couldn’t hit, posting a brutal .224/.272/.250 line with nary a homer. He was sent back to the minors for a time, recalled… and then got hurt. Rodgers injured his shoulder in July and had season-ending surgery after only 81 plate appearances. All we can do is hope that he comes back better next year.
Perhaps no Rockies rookie boosted his stock with the organization this season than Hilliard. He spent all of 2018 in AA and didn’t impress particularly, managing only nine homers and a .262/.327/.389 over 121 games. This was good enough for the #9 rank among Rockies prospects and a promotion to AAA to start the season.
Then something clicked in for Hilliard. The 25-year-old mashed in AAA, hitting .262/.335/.558 with 35 homers and even 22 stolen bases just for good measure. This earned him a well-deserved call-up and the chance to show that he could handle big league pitching and the spacious Coors outfield.
Hilliard has certainly made the most out of the opportunity, hitting .273/.356/.649 (136 OPS+) with seven homers in only 27 games (77 at-bats). He’s even held his own in center field, fighting his way to just above league average at the position.
All this means that Hilliard will most likely start 2020 – his true rookie season – as a regular member of the outfield rotation. Maybe he’ll even top this list again next season.