Tuesday Rockpile: Spring Training 2013 Will Start Early

It has been a while since we have seen these guys in a Rockies uniform, but they may be getting a chance to reassert their presence in the season's final weeks.

As the aspen leaves turn goldenrod and red and the Colorado mornings carry a sharper nip in the air, the Rockies are busy starting their spring training. With 16 games left over the next 16 days, the organization is getting a headstart in evaluating their 2013 roster via Spring Training in September.

A team on a 98-loss pace is liable to have a lot of question marks going into the following season, and Colorado is no different. These next two weeks will be important in evaluating several areas heading into the 2013 season:

  • Infield Jobs - In the absence of Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton, the Rockies have continuously run out lineups full of bench and/or rookie infielders. Some of those will lose their jobs going into next season with the returns of Tulo and Helton and hopeful arrival of Nolan Arenado. Josh Rutledge is also certain to have a job, potentially leaving only two spots will be available between Jordan Pacheco, Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson and DJ Le Mahieu. Pacheco seems like a lock, and Nelson was just named NL Player of the Week. Nelson will have no options remaining in 2013, meaning he will either have a spot or be traded.
  • 2012 has been a disaster chiefly due to unreliability in the rotation. One might wonder how bad it might have been with a reliable, healthy Jhoulys Chacin all season. Chacin has been his former extraordinary self since returning from the DL and may pitch in winterball to make up lost time. That continued development is critical to offseason evaluations of the rotation.
  • In the same vein, Jorge de la Rosa will pitch Thursday in the series finale against the Giants. His 16 month absence will ensure Dan O'Dowd (or whoever the GM will be) will not write de la Rosa in for 32 starts in 2013, but a successful late season cameo may change the gameplan one way or another.
  • Wilin Rosario now has 20 passed balls on the season, and after starting to improve midseason, he seems to be back to his lazy ways, defaulting to the backhand with every errant pitch. He must show improvement, though the next 16 games may be more telling for a different "catcher." Rosario and Ramon Hernandez are both likely to be on the roster next year, but Hernandez' injury will give Jordan Pacheco a few more opportunities to showcase his catching.
What will you be paying attention to most in the final 16 games?

Off Topic

Links

Baseball Prospectus | BP Unfiltered: Petco vs Coors One way to explain park factors, I suppose.

Craig Kimbrel’s Overpowering Velocity – How Did He Get It? | Driveline Baseball - Good story on fireballer Kimbrel, who was not always a fireballer.

Baseball Prospectus | Out of Left Field: The Slowest Pitches Thrown This Year Not surprisingly, it's a Vicente Padilla eephus.

The anomalous Jay Powell - The Hardball Times - The former Rockie was a strong piece of the Rockies' bullpen in 2001, pitching to a 2.79 ERA. He ranks fifth on an obscure list in MLB history.

Will Swanner, C, Rockies - YouTube - Mike Newman posted video of Will Swanner yesterday, mostly of batting practice with a few game cuts and defensive drills. One can see how quick Swanner is to the ball with his bat.

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