Rockies News: Closer battle, a familiar face, a battle for the RF job and more

A couple of position battles, injury updates and a familiar face. We have updated news on the Rockies entering spring training for you.

Minnesota Twins v Colorado Rockies
Minnesota Twins v Colorado Rockies / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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With spring training in full swing for the Rockies, we will have a baseball game today. The Rockies will have their first spring training game against the defending NL Pennant winning, Arizona Diamondbacks. One of the Rockies top pitching prospects for the Rockies, Carson Palmquist, will get the start and will look to get a couple of innings of work in. Another pitcher of note should see an inning or two, as former top pick, Riley Pint, is slated to throw, He has some elite velocity but he will look to harness the fastball and stay in the strike zone more often, hopeing to carve out a nice relief role in the Rockies bullpen.

Speaking of the bullpen, the Rockies have been able to steer clear of any significant injuries thus far, even getting some good news about Daniel Bard's knee injury. It didn't require any repairs to the meniscus like they initially thought. Bard should be a valuable piece of this Rockies bullpen, after returning from a stint on the IL to start the year.

Ryan Feltner impressed in a shortened season in 2023, showcasing an elite fastball and solid strikeout potential. A freak head injury cut his season short, though he thinks it could have been a blessing in disguise as it let him reset mentally and reassess his arsenal. He comes into 2024 focusing less on his sinker and more on his elite four-seamer that he thinks he can rush up around 100 mph.

"I've been with this organization for 10 years now, I think the two pitchers with the best raw stuff I've seen are German Marquest and Feltner. They both have that explosive fastball that sets up their other pitches."

Kyle Freeland via The Denver Post

Lawrence vs. Kinley for the close role

With spring training baseball comes position battles and one of the best battles Rockies fans should look for this spring is for the closer role, set to duel it out are Justin Lawrence and Tyler Kinley. Lawrence proved to be one of Bud Black's most dependable relievers, throwing 75 innings over 69 appearances with a 3.72 ERA. He does a great job keeping hitters off balance with a lower delivery that helps him keep the ball in the park (.6 HR/9 in 2023). Kinley is a different pitcher than Lawrence as he relies heavily on a fastball slider combo that both sit in the 90's with his fastball averaging 96.5 mph and his slider at 91.1 mph. In 16.1 innings in 2023 (while dealing with some injuries) he struggled to a 6.06 ERA but had a solid 9.4 K/9 and a manageable 3.3 BB/9. This should be a great battle to follow throughout spring but expect Bud Black to utilize both pitchers quite a bit in 2024.

Rockies bring back Matt Carasiti on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training

The Rockies are bringing back a familiar face in reliever Matt Carasiti, on a minor league deal. Carasiti struggled to get good results in 2023, but there might be some room for optimism as he possessed an incredible 56.1% ground ball rate (something that could prove valuable in Colorado). He struggled with walks (4.1 BB/9) and with his lack of strikeout production (5.9 K/9) he will need to get that under control to have a bigger impact on the 2024 club.

Sean Bouchard is the favorite for the right field job

Most of the Rockies' roster is set, though they could look to make a few smaller additions around the edge of the roster, however, there is a battle for the right field job. The favorite looks to be Sean Bouchard, according to Patrick Saunders, who writes that Bouchard hopes to give the young Rockies a veteran presence in the middle of the lineup. Bouchard is an older prospect, turning 28-years-old in May, but he has a lot of upside. Bouchard got just 43 plate appearances in 2023, but he made the most of them, slashing .316/.372/.684 with four home runs. He has hit at every level of the minor leagues, and at times, shown some big pop. I would expect Bouchard to get a lot of time in right field, but if he stumbles at all, top prospect Hunter Goodman could be poised for a breakout year, while veteran Bradley Zimmer could look to carve out a fourth outfielder role with the Rockies.

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