Colorado Rockies: The battles for the final roster spots
By Luke Mullins
Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies is less than a week away but there are still a few positional battles to watch as spring training winds to a close.
Here are the final Colorado Rockies battles for an Opening Day roster spot.
Historically a known commodity for this team, it feels strange to say that we still don’t know what the Rockies’ Opening Day infield will look like. Unless he’s traded within the week (which is unlikely), Trevor Story will still be a part of that infield when the season starts. He is joined by Ryan McMahon as the only two guaranteed starters come April 1.
But the position McMahon will be playing is still in question and will hinge on who makes the roster out of spring training. Brendan Rodgers was looking like a lock to make the team before his injury. Now he will begin the campaign on the injured list. Bringing solid defense, elite speed, and spotty but streaky offense, utility man Garrett Hampson will make the roster again and Josh Fuentes should return as well after a strong 2020 and solid spring.
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Veterans Chris Owings and C.J. Cron have performed well this spring, with Owings sporting a .306 average with 4 home runs, 7 RBI, and a 1.128 OPS while Cron has posted a .372 average with four home runs, 7 RBI, and a 1.180 OPS. That would give the Rockies six infielders (Rodgers would make seven), who all have a chance to earn an everyday role.
But the most interesting candidate battling for a roster spot is 23-year-old Colton Welker. Welker has hit .351 with 1 home run and 10 RBI. Listed as a third baseman, Welker has also played some first base and, with both positions open coming into the season, it doesn’t seem like a long shot that the Rockies’ No. 11 prospect could play his way into an everyday role.
Former Yankee Greg Bird is still fighting for a roster spot but he has only hit above .200 once in his career and is currently carrying a .189 average this spring. The Rockies should move on from him.
The Rockies may end up carrying more infielders than teams typically would because many of them can also play in the outfield if needed, an area where the team’s depth is thin. Both Hampson and Owings saw time in the outfield last season and even Fuentes has seen a little action in left field this spring.