Somehow, there isn't a single stock photo in our library that shows the face Rex Brothers or Jordan Pacheco from this spring. The photographers are a little behind the times, as these two "Pebbles" are hot names in Scottsdale.
Jordan Pacheco created quite the following last week, led in part by the Denver Post's Troy Renck, but the Pacheco bus also has members inside the organization. After a two hit day yesterday that included striking down Brandon Phillips stealing second, Pacheco's push for a big league roster spot got stronger. So much so, in fact, that Jim Armstrong is calling it outright likely that Pacheco is on the Opening Day roster:
All signs point to Pacheco being on the opening day roster for the short term.
This for a guy who has played just 21 games above A-ball. So how will this work? He won't be the backup catcher. I can guarantee the Rockies won't carry three catchers for the season, as that would necessitate cutting ties completely with Jason Giambi, Jose Lopez or Ty Wigginton. Jim Armstrong stole my thunder a bit in highlighting the two short term possible solutions.
First, Colorado could elect to remove the "fifth starter" role in the short term in April, as the schedule allows for that to be required just twice. The other option is for Pacheco to take Ian Stewart's spot should Stewart land on the DL. Either way, the inclusion on Opening Day is mostly a symbolic reward for Pacheco, who would almost assuredly be sent back to the minors within a month to continue logging regular innings behind the plate. To make his potential Opening Day role worthwhile:
Jordan Pacheco will get opps at first, second and third base in the coming days... Creates a path to the roster...
The Colorado Rockies obviously love Jordan Pacheco. He has a great idea of what to do at the plate, and for those that follow prospects closely, his success in Spring Training is of no surprise. His late shift to catcher from infielder has slowed his rise to the majors more than his bat, and due to that, he is almost guaranteed to go back to the minors to work more behind the plate. Of course, that's if he doesn't steal Chris Iannetta's job...
Pacheco isn't the only Rockies' prospect that has turned heads significantly. 2009 draft pick and left-handed reliever Rex Brothers tossed a dominant inning yesterday, punctuated by a very impressive strikeout of Joey Votto. He showed very good fastball command and unleashed a slider he hasn't had all spring, despite not allowing a run in four innings in spring training.
After being pegged as an quick riser on draft day, Brothers looked every bit of a major league pitcher yesterday. He has filthy strikeout late inning stuff, stuff that gives him easily the best ceiling of any lefty reliever in the entire organization. That includes Franklin Morales, who has had a sterling spring himself, and it includes Matt Reynolds, who has not.
Reynolds, who solidified an Opening Day role with his cup of coffee in 2010, has a 12.00 ERA currently. The organization won't give up on Matt Reynolds so quickly, and they can't give up on Franklin Morales (no options), so Brothers doesn't figure to have a lefty role carved out for Opening Day. That doesn't mean he won't be the first reliever to get the call early in the season. Said Jim Tracy, in an Armstrong blog piece yesterday:
"We want him around here and we want him to continue to face good hitters. Rest assured of the fact that, regardless of the direction we make, he's close and he's pushing.'' - Jim Tracy, about Rex Brothers
So one prospect is looking like he will be on the Opening Day roster, only to go back to the minors within weeks, by design. The other figures to start the season in the minors and get the call early on, perhaps within weeks. Either way, Rockies fans should get to see a rookie at Coors Field early this season.
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