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As the traditional trading deadline comes and passes I want to take a look at the Rockies position players and compare their production. Last night’s 8th inning not withstanding, the team has struggled offensively while failing to reach expectations at the plate. Part of the problem is the age of the team. The youth movement of Todd and the Toddlers has passed and who could have known that Todd would have outlasted the Toddlers.
While comparing the positional depth of the organization I chose players that are either in the big leagues or who could help in August or September. Since players are most likely to be making the jump from AA or AAA I chose these levels as my cutoff. The stat of OPS was used because it is standardized and is the most widely accepted. When comparing the different positions the strongest position is in the outfield. Seth Smith, CarGo, Spilly and the resurging Dex are pushing Hawpe into the 1B side where he would be the 2nd highest ranked in that position. Traditionally the corner outfield is a strong offensive producer, but not for the Rockies. With a .835 OPS the catching position is ranked slightly behind the outfield. The middle infield is traditionally a poorer offensive position, however anchored by Tulo and Chris Nelson the Rockies have a fairly deep pool.
So the key is what to make of this depth chart. First Base is a glaring offensive weakness and Giambi is a defensive liability to start. The outfield is very deep with two young players in AAA knocking at the door. One of the outfielders needs to be moved to First, but not who you think. Seth Smith should be moved to 1B to make room for CarGo, Dex, Spilly and either Cole Garner or Matt Miller to be the 4th outfielder. The Rockies need more RH pop and both AAA players fit the bill.
Todd Helton should be shutdown until September when rosters expand. Then the Rockies can get a better feel for how healthy he is without sacrificing a bench spot. Iannetta should be worked into the 1B role as the RH option. McKenry is an option to be called up, but unless a spot on the 25 man roster opens up is unnecessary since Iannetta can still catch. Chris would receive more at-bats in this scenario which he tends to benefit from.
Hawpe and Barmes both need to be flipped for either low prospects or salary relief. Neither player is adding substantial talent to the organization and they are blocking good players. Nelson and Herrera can provide an upgrade offensively while providing average to above average defense.
So in my scenario against a RH pitcher the starting 8 would be: Dex CF, Herrera 2B, CarGo RF, Tulo SS, Smith 1B, Olivo C, Stewart 3B, Miller LF
Against a LH pitcher the starting 8 would look like: Dex CF, Nelson 2B, CarGo RF, Tulo SS, Olivo C, Spilly LF, Iannetta 1B, Mora 3B