Arguably the most interesting of MLB’s considered rule changes for the return to play in 2020 is the potential of adopting a universal DH for the shortened season and the Colorado Rockies could take advantage of it.
Earlier this week, we here at Rox Pile discussed how this rule change could benefit the Colorado Rockies by getting Charlie Blackmon out of the outfield while keeping his bat in the lineup. This is the most likely solution for the Rockies and probably their best option.
It would allow Raimel Tapia to finally get a chance at an everyday role while also giving Sam Hilliard a chance to prove his finish to 2019 was no fluke. That is, assuming Ian Desmond is relegated to a bench role. Another September star for the Rockies last season, Garrett Hampson, could also get some time in the outfield if either Tapia or Hilliard struggles.
But while Blackmon is the clear choice for DH, there are other possibilities. Daniel Murphy, like Blackmon, isn’t the Rockies’ best defensive option at his position and if he has a bounce-back year at the plate, he could contribute in the DH role.
Moving Murphy to DH would allow Ryan McMahon to slide to first base and finally give Brendan Rodgers a real opportunity at second base. Rodgers hasn’t been overly impressive in the big leagues yet, but he is still young and he has a ton of talent.
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If it’s not Rodgers, this could also be another window for Hampson to continue the tear he found himself on at the end of 2019. Or–and there’s very little chance this happens–McMahon could remain at second base and the Rockies could give their biggest 2020 Spring Training breakout Bret Boswell a turn at first base.
Another potential DH is David Dahl. While Dahl’s defense isn’t a concern, his injury history is. Perhaps less time running around in the expansive Coors Field outfield could help him stay healthy. Though this is unlikely with both Blackmon and Murphy representing bigger defensive liabilities.
If MLB does go forward with a universal DH, we will see a handful of players take on the role for the Rockies throughout the season, but one will likely become the regular DH. Though there are a handful of options, none make as much sense as Blackmon.
Because of that, and the potential break out seasons for a handful of young bats, the Rockies could be in the best position of any National League team to take advantage of this potential rule change.
A rested Blackmon in a lineup with an outfield of Tapia, Dahl, and Hilliard and an infield of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, McMahon, and some combination of Hampson, Rodgers, and Murphy could provide plenty of fireworks when we finally welcome back the return of baseball.