With Brendan Rodgers shelved by a hamstring injury, could Josh Fuentes see some time at second base with the Colorado Rockies this season? Yes, but with a decently sized asterisk attached.
During a session with the media, including Rox Pile, on Saturday, Colorado Rockies All-Star shortstop Trevor Story was discussing how he has been working with multiple players at second base and working on the timing of double plays, etc., with each of them. Among those mentioned as taking time at second base this spring was Fuentes, who saw time at first and third base and in the outfield last season, but never at second.
"“I think the way our team is built, we have a lot of versatility,” Story said. “A lot of our second baseman can play other positions. That’s kind of the way this roster is built.“I have a lot of confidence in whoever plays second because we work every day. I’m working with CO (Chris Owings), working with Mac (Ryan McMahon), B-Rod (Rodgers), (Garrett) Hampson, and even Josh at second too. All those guys, I have a lot of confidence in them and that’s because we’ve worked together.”"
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Now let’s dive into this thought regarding Fuentes at second. He does have 18 innings under his belt during his minor league career at second base (one game in 2018 and one in 2019, both in Triple-A Albuquerque), so it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if he saw some time there with the Rockies. Unlikely? Absolutely, but not a complete surprise.
With Rodgers expected to miss at least a month with a hamstring injury suffered earlier this spring, Colorado will certainly have to shuffle its infield as their projected Opening Day second baseman is no longer available. With Owings being placed on the 40-man roster on Saturday, he is certainly a candidate for time at second, as is Hampson and McMahon, who was the team’s primary second baseman since DJ LeMahieu and the Rockies parted ways following the 2018 campaign.
"“We’re not in a bind,” Black said after the extent of Rodgers’ injury was revealed. “It’s so advantageous to have those types of players who can bounce around because of cases like this, when maybe you lose a player.”"
Fuentes, who entered spring battling C.J. Cron and Greg Bird for time at first base, has also taken his fair share of time at third this spring and could see more action there if McMahon moves back to second.
The Rockies certainly seem to be trying to find a way to get Fuentes into the lineup when possible after a 2020 campaign where he logged 0.9 bWAR (tied with Daniel Bard and Charlie Blackmon for sixth-highest on the team) in just 98 at-bats. After Story’s mention on Sunday, could being in the lineup at second be a way to make that happen? Rockies manager Bud Black shot that down pretty quickly when I asked him about it on Sunday morning.
"“I think (Story) might have been referring to some of the shifting that we’ll do against left-handed hitters,” Black said."
With that, Fuentes at third would potentially cover second base and take a throw from Story, should the shift be on.
While the Rockies have looked at Fuentes at numerous positions already during his young Major League career, don’t expect to see him at second any time soon … unless the shift is on.