FanPost

Thursday Rockpile: Examining the Rockies' 2013 Bench Options

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row

With the News that the Rockies and Jonathan Herrera have avoided arbitration and agreed to a 1-year, $900,000 deal, now seems as good a time as any to look at the men who may comprise the team's bench this season.

Now, it is important to make a distinction between who should be on the bench and who will be on the bench, as the two sets of players are often different, usually thanks to contract status. With that, let's look at the candidates:

Jonathan Herrera, IF

In four Major League seasons with the Rockies the newly re-signed Herrera has played in 269 games, recording an OPS of .647 and a wRC+ of 66 in 849 plate appearances. On the plus side, he has proven to be a competent defender at second base, third base and shortstop. Also, he is Jeff Huson's favorite player.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? Yes. Should he make the bench? Probably not.

Tyler Colvin, OF/1B

Coming to Colorado in the Ian Stewart trade, Colvin made a big splash in his first season at Coors Field in 2012, hitting .290 with 18 home runs and 72 runs batted in while playing all three outfield spots in addition to first base. However, a likely unsustainable BABIP of .364 contributed to his success. That said, assuming Michael Cuddyer is the nominal starter in right field, Colvin should be a shoe-in for a 2013 bench role.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? Yes. Should he make the bench? Yes.

Eric Young Jr., OF

In the first three years of his Major League career, Eric Young Jr. played the position of "hitter." (Or perhaps more accurately, "runner.") However, in 2012, he found his sea legs in the outfield after the team tried unsuccessfully to shoehorn him into his father's old position at second base. Combine that with his speed, OBP and lack of options remaining and you can pencil EY in for a spot on the Rockies.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? Yes. Should he make the bench? Yes.

Chris Nelson, IF

Nelson will battle with Jordan Pacheco and Nolan Arenado among others in spring training for the starting third base job, but my gut says the team would prefer him in a bench role seeing as he can play second base and shortstop as well. I like what Nelson does, though, and he will likely make the team if for no other reason than the team's desire to keep him in the organization.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? Yes. Should he make the bench? No, he should be starting at 3B.

Ramon Hernandez, C

The journeyman catcher signed a 2-year deal with the Rockies before the 2012 season to backup and mentor Wilin Rosario. However, injuries limited him to just 52 games and a .601 OPS last year. The 36-year-old will play for Venezuela in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? Yes. Should he make the bench? No.

Jordan Pacheco, IF/C

Pacheco saw the lion's share of starts at third base in 2012 and will be in competition to do so again in 2013. He can also play first base and catch, so if the third base job is won by Nelson, Arenado or Ryan Wheeler, he could give Walt Weiss some flexibility off the bench, though defense is an issue wherever he plays.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? No, I think he starts at third. Should he make the bench? Yes.

DJ LeMahieu, 2B/IF

I'll be honest, I've got a soft spot for LeMahieu, he was one of the bright spots of 2012 for me. The 24-year-old primarily played second base in his first season with the Rockies, but can play all four infield spots. At the plate, he recorded a .724 OPS in 247 plate appearances. He does have an option year remaining, which means he'll likely lose out on a MLB roster spot to Nelson or Herrera.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? No. Should he make the bench? Yes.

Charlie Blackmon, OF

Blackmon's 2012 was plagued by injuries, though he did manage to get 121 MLB plate appearances and improve significantly on his 2011 numbers. That said, he has two option years left and is likely to start 2013 in Colorado Springs, likely as the first outfielder called up if/when someone gets hurt.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? No. Should he make the bench? No.

Ryan Wheeler, 3B/1B

Acquired for Matt Reynolds in a November trade, Wheeler made his big league debut with the Diamondbacks in 2012, hitting .239 in 109 at bats and playing below-average defense at third base. He'll be given a chance to compete for a Major League roster spot in spring training, though I don't see him breaking with the big club.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? No. Should he make the bench? No.

Yorvit Torrealba, C

Troy Renck mentions here that the Rockies have interest in bringing Torrealba, a key component of the 2007 National League champions, into spring training on a minor league contract. He would likely be insurance in the case that Hernandez is either injured or traded.

Final Verdict: Will he make the bench? No. Should he make the bench? No.

My ideal scenario involves Nolan Arenado winning the third base job in spring training and the Rockies carrying Pacheco, Nelson, LeMahieu, Colvin and Young on the bench. However, as a first-year manager, I think Weiss will go a safer route with more proven veterans and a bench of Hernandez, Nelson, Herrera, Colvin and Young. Anyone I haven't mentioned here (Arenado, Charlie Culberson, Rafael Ortega, etc.) I don't see as having a very realistic shot at a bench role with the Rockies in 2013.

Additional Links:

Rockies rumors: Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe, Brandon Webb - MLB Daily Dish

MLB Daily Dish, citing Renck, says the Rockies are looking at Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe and Brandon Webb as options for adding starting pitching depth. Of the three, I would prefer Lowe, as he has consistently been able to keep the GB% up and the HR/FB rate down, two qualities essential to success at Coors Field.

Sources: Braves target Justin Upton - ESPN

ESPN's Buster Olney (among others) has said that the Braves have made a serious offer to Arizona for Justin Upton, possibly centered around pitching prospect Julio Teheran.

Soccer Out Of Context: The NL West - M. Willis

No news here, just some fun. Mr. Willis takes a look at what NL West teams (he's done three other MLB divisions as well) would look like as soccer clubs. I really like what he's done with the Rockies and the amount of thought he's put into each of the jerseys.

OFF-TOPIC.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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