Wednesday Rockpile: Non-Roster Invitees' Chances of Sticking With Rockies

Layne Murdoch

The Rockies invited 24 non-40 man roster players to their major league camp. Let's handicap their chances of making the Major League roster out of spring training.

It's crazy to think that this time next week the Rockies will be into their spring training routine. FOUR DAYS PEOPLE! Purple Row is gearing up into baseball season as well, as we'll be announcing the new staff members that will help take our coverage of the Rockies to the next level on Friday.

In the meantime, the big news yesterday was the release of Colorado's 24-man Non-Roster Invitee list. These are players that are not on the Rockies' 40 man roster but who will try to finagle their way onto the 25 man Opening Day roster after spring training. There's a lot of names on the NRI list, and many of them are unfamiliar to almost every Rockies fan. With that in mind, I'll go through the list and give you an idea of what to expect in terms of 2013 impact from this group - particularly with an eye on the Opening Day roster.

Won't Make the Major League Roster in 2013

Lars Davis
Jose Gonzalez
Ben Paulsen
Tyler Anderson
Kyle Parker

The first 3 names might not ever make the Rockies. Davis and Gonzalez are catching depth to handle the late innings of spring training games and for bullpen sessions with all the pitchers the Rockies will have in camp. Paulsen is a first baseman without a discernible major league hit tool.

Anderson and Parker, Colorado's first round picks in 2011 and 2010 respectively, do have major league careers ahead of them...just not this year. Anderson will be in High A Modesto and Parker will start in AA Tulsa

Could be a September Call-Up or Injury Replacement in a Utility Role

Corey Dickerson
Tommy Manzella
Kent Matthes
Matt McBride
Gustavo Molina
Henry Wrigley

Of the names listed above, the player most likely to be a decent major league regular is Dickerson, who has done nothing but hit in his minor league career so far. He ended the year at Tulsa and will probably start there this year again. Dickerson and Matthes are part of an outfield glut at the upper edge of the Rockies' system, which is why their call-up this year is pretty unlikely.

McBride and Wrigley both fall into the outfield bucket too, but their years as serious prospects are behind them. They could be in line to receive time with the big club if injuries ravage Colorado's outfield depth.

Manzella has an opportunity to get some time with the big club by virtue of his shortstop defense, but his bat is terrible. Never count out a catching Molina, especially since Greg's comparison to Paul Phillips strikes me as apt. Molina will stick around if we let him, and he could play the Phillips/Wil Nieves role this season.

Starters Who Could Masquerade as Relievers

Chad Bettis
Parker Frazier
Dan Houston
Nick Schmidt

Okay, so calling Frazier, Houston, and Schmidt prospects at this point is a little disingenuous. They are all back-end depth starters with potential to get a call-up as a piggy-back reliever should disaster befall the team. So basically if 2012 repeats itself.

Bettis is a different case in that I think he has a future as a MLB starter. However, the shoulder injury that wiped out 2012 for him will make it difficult for him put in many innings in 2013, so if the Rockies are in contention (I know, I know) late in the year, his power arm might fit nicely into the bullpen in September. I'm really anxious to see what kind of shape Bettis is in for this year, as he's Colorado's top pitching prospect in my opinion.

Journeyman Relievers Who Could Masquerade as Relievers

Manuel Corpas
Logan Kensing
Jeff Manship
Mike McClendon

Man it pains me to see Corpas on this list. He was so good for the 2007 team that I can't help but think he's actually good. He isn't - not anymore anyway. All four of the guys above have the potential to give you some solid major league innings of relief (after all, they've done it before), but you shouldn't trust them to do so. Heck, Kensing hasn't been in MLB since 2009.

Relievers with a Shot at Sticking on the 25 Man Roster

Miguel Batista
Erick Threets

Batista is the big name among the NRI relievers, a veteran who has been in the major leagues longer than the Rockies have. Which is kind of incredible - the Rockies would be his 13th team. He pitched for both the Expos and the Nationals, which wouldn't be so remarkable except that the two stints were 10 years apart. Basically, he's this year's Jamie Moyer.

Baseball-Reference WAR hates him, never rating one of his seasons above 0.2 rWAR, though Fangraphs has him with three 3+ fWAR seasons during his starter days. Either way, he's not a guy I want near our bullpen, but like Moyer he'll get that veteran consideration from the coaching staff.

Meanwhile, Threets is a lefty with can throw some gas. He'll be competing for a spot at the end of the pen, maybe in the Matt Reynolds role from last season, but he's not really a piggyback prototype. Ultimately, I don't think there's any room for either pitcher in Colorado's bullpen entering the year.

Position Players with a Shot at Sticking on the 25 Man Roster


Arenado could end up being the best player on this list eventually -- but the question is if the Rockies feel he is ready to usurp the hot corner from the Chris Nelson/Jordan Pacheco amalgamation this spring. I think Arenado's the best player of the three right now, but I certainly won't begrudge the Rockies giving him some time in AAA or even AA to start the year while the team figures out how the 2013 season is shaping up. It might take as long as September, but I believe that Arenado will get his major league debut in this year.

Torrealba is another familiar face for Rockies fans -- and unlike Corpas, he's still pretty much the same player now that he was in 2007. Okay, so he's a worse player offensively, but he'll still provide the veteran presence and solid catching skills he did back then. If the Rockies end up trading Ramon Hernandez during spring training, Torrealba is poised to take his place and steal plate appearances from Wilin Rosario. He's the gift that keeps on giving to Purple Row comment threads.


Chris Volstad

Volstad is the only pitcher that the Rockies brought in on a minor league deal who has a good chance of starting with the big league club. The fact that the Rockies could pick him up on a minor league deal is a testament to how terrible his 2012 was (3-12, 6.31 ERA, 62 ERA+), but the fact is that Volstad is a young (26) pitcher with 695 major league innings under his belt. Given the competition that he faces with the Rockies, Volstad has an excellent chance to establish himself in the rotation against the likes of Drew Pomeranz, Juan Nicasio, Christian Friedrich, and Tyler Chatwood.

His chances will decline if the Rockies manage to sign Derek Lowe to a minor league deal that they have offered. If he does accept, Lowe will be a favorite to join the rotation. If that happens, the starting rotation mix will become a lot more interesting.

Los Links!

Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects list is out (ESPN Insider), with two Rockies listed - 2012 first rounder David Dahl at 37 and 2011 supplemental first rounder Trevor Story at 85. Conspicuously absent was Arenado, who ranked 26th on last year's list.

Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com also has his top 100 list out, listing Dahl (58), Arenado (62), and Story (99). There's video for each of those prospects in their capsules.

Interested by the cooling by prospect hounds on Colorado's former top prospect, Bryan will have an article with more on Arenado's prospect status later today.

Patrick Saunders wants to cover a healthy and happy Troy Tulowitzki this year. I think we can all subscribe to that sentiment.

Brewers star Ryan Braun has found himself in some hot water again with the Miami PED kerfuffle. In the current media environment, even being tangentially mentioned in a PED scandal is a pretty big hit to your public image. We'll see what kind of reaction Braun gets if he is able to play this year.

Last but certainly not least, Eric Stephen of SBN Dodgers blog True Blue LA has a great off-season review for the Rockies.

OFF-TOPIC.

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