Some big changes from our original prediction of which 13 pitchers will make the trek to San Diego so let’s dive into some thoughts here.
First, in the rotation, we originally had Ubaldo Jimenez taking the fifth spot. However, after his rough outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, it’s obvious that the 36-year-old (who has been out of organized baseball for two seasons) needs some time to fine tune his craft. Expect him to open the season at Triple-A and hopefully improve as the season goes along … and be ready if the Rockies need him.
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With that in mind, Gonzalez will likely take the fifth starter role as Peter Lambert will start the season in Triple-A as well. Lambert, who will turn 23 in June, can spend some more time preparing for what should be a long Major League career. There’s no reason to rush him into the rotation to start the year.
By the way, we’re also predicting Marquez will be the Opening Day starter.
Second, a big change in the bullpen as well. We still don’t have Jeff Hoffman making the team but we are also predicting Yency Almonte now won’t either. Both players are out of options so will likely go through the waivers process.
Taking Almonte’s place will be Tyler Kinley, who has impressed the Rockies so far in the spring. In his six innings covering six games this spring (including Sunday), Kinley has allowed just two hits and walked two while striking out six and earning two saves. He was claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins in December and added to the 40-man roster. We think he could be a more reliable option for the Rockies at this time than Hoffman or Almonte.
So far, Bud Black has been impressed.
“You like the velocity. The intent is there every pitch,” Black said of Kinley. “Really like the slider. The slider is a real pitch.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders. Clear thinker. There’s a lot to like.”