The Colorado Rockies have a mix of younger and older players in the construction of the Rockies roster. However, the younger players are the ones that are pulling their weight more.
In 2019, Baseball-Reference used an age metric that calculated the Colorado Rockies as the 11th oldest batting team in baseball, but the sixth-youngest pitching staff. You can find the math behind it all here, but a closer look at the Rockies’ contracts suggests they should get younger in all aspects of their squad after this season.
Some minor-league players will be looking for some playing time in 2020 and could push some of the old guard out. Let’s break it all down and go from the youngest group to the oldest.
Average Age: 25.30 years old
Don’t look now, but Jon Gray is the elder statesman of the pitching rotation at a grand age of 28. He is coming back from a left foot fracture last summer but should be healthy for Opening Day. He has started two of the previous three seasons for the Rockies and has a shot to grab his third Opening Day nod this season.
The only other locks for the rotation to start the year are German Marquez (25) and Kyle Freeland (26). There are a handful of names battling for the final two spots, including Antonio Senzatela (25), Peter Lambert (22), and folk-hero Ubaldo Jimenez (36).
Jimenez is not on the major league roster at the moment, and his 36 years would bump the average age of this group up a bit. Still, there is some great young talent at the top level and some reinforcements in the minors coming up. It’s never easy pitching at Coors, but Gray, Marquez, Freeland, and Jimenez have shown that they can thrive in that environment.
Average age: 26.78 years old
The only infielder over 29 to be on the Opening Day roster for Colorado will be Daniel Murphy. Murphy is 34-years old and a free agent after the season but does have a mutual option with the Rockies for 2021. He could be a trade candidate if the season does not start well for the team. With Murphy off the roster, the average age for the infield would drop to 25.8 years old.
Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado will handle the left side of the infield for (hopefully) the foreseeable future and remain in their prime. Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and Brendan Rodgers can all play infield positions and will keep this group young for a big part of the coming decade.
Average Age: 28.33 years old
There is only one position player above the age of 31 signed past 2021, and that man is Charlie Blackmon. The four-time All-Star is already 33 but does not have an opt-out clause until the 2022 season.
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He will continue to man right field unless the National League decides to adopt the designated hitter.
Ian Desmond, 34, on the other hand, is signed through 2021 and could net a lower-level prospect at the trade deadline this year. With Garrett Hampson on the outside looking in for an infield spot, Desmond could be viewed as expendable if there was a buyer in July.
Would the front office consider moving Desmond to go all-in with the youth movement and give Hampson a long run in the outfield?
David Dahl, Raimel Tapia, and Sim Hilliard are all less than 27 and under team control for at least a couple of seasons. An outfield of Blackmon, Dahl, and then Sampson/Tapia/Hilliard would provide hitting, power, and speed from three crucial positions.
Average Age: 28.55 years old
In the Rockies bullpen, Jake McGee, Wade Davis, and Bryan Shaw are all over 32 and entering the final year of their respective contracts. The Rockies invested a lot of money in the bullpen a few years ago, and I can’t see them making that decision again, especially with these three.
With them off the roster, the average age of this unit will drop to 26.87 years old. Scott Oberg (29) would be in line for the closer’s job should Davis get moved at the deadline July, and Jairo Diaz would be a complementary set-up man.
Bullpen arms can grow when they get into higher-leverage situations. With McGee, Davis, and Shaw out of the pen, the Rockies could begin to turn one of their weaker units into a young and cost-effective strength as they head into 2021.