On Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies announced a number of non-roster invitees to Spring Training and there were a few surprises among them.
The biggest surprise of the list of non-roster invitees is somebody that we are going to talk about later on today.
The two that we are going to talk about right now are Julian Fernandez and Tim Collins. Fernandez, 24, is a pitcher that you likely haven’t heard of unless you have paid attention to the Rockies low minor league teams in the past.
In 2016, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America (subscription required) described Fernandez’s fastball (as a reliever) is one that one that would consistently be between 98-100 MPH touching 102-103 with “outstanding life.” However, Fernandez “doesn’t really have a secondary pitch he can rely on yet and his fastball misses the zone almost as often as it finds it.”
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That was coming off of his 2016 season in which he allowed 7.8 walks per nine innings in Short-Season A Boise. However, in 2017, in Single-A Asheville, he dropped that walk rate from 7.8 BB/9 to a much better 2.8 BB/9.
The problem is that Fernandez has not pitched since then as he has had Tommy John surgery and elbow surgery that have sidelined him. Last season, he was claimed by the Giants in the Rule V draft and was purchased by the Marlins shortly thereafter so this is his second go-around with the Rockies.
Since he hasn’t even pitched at the Double-A level yet, he will not make the MLB team out of spring training but with his power arm and if he can stay healthy, perhaps, he could see some action in September as a call-up (but the September rosters are no longer a 40-player maximum) or MLB action in 2021.
The other one that we’ll talk about here is Tim Collins. Collins, 30, has spent parts of six seasons in the majors as a left-handed reliever, including four as a member of the Kansas City Royals. There, he was teammates with former Rockies closer Greg Holland and current Rockies reliever Wade Davis. His bullpen coach in his first two MLB seasons also was Steve Foster, who’s now the Rockies pitching coach.
He only pitched in nine MLB games last season for the Chicago Cubs and he pitched to a 3.12 ERA (4.83 WHIP).
He’s obviously not a huge signing but he could provide the Rockies with some much needed depth in Triple-A Albuquerque or, perhaps, even the MLB level. That’s really all you can ask for out of somebody signing a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.