Friday Rockpile: Are the Second Base Woes Really Over?

The future? - Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Eric Young Sr was a fine second baseman for the Rockies, but Colorado has not had much continued success at the position since.

There have been stopgaps (the Jose Lopezes, Ronnie Belliards and Aaron Miles) and decent one year plugs (the Jamey Carrolls, Todd Walkers and Kazuo Matsuis). There has been the deflated prospects (Jayson Nix and Jose Ortiz), a Rule 5 pick (Luis Gonzalez) and there has been Clint Barmes. Ian Stewart even took a turn as the Opening Day second baseman for the Rockies.

Since Eric Young was the predominant second baseman from 1993 to 1997 (excluding 1994), there has been no consistent answer at the keystone for the Rockies. With each passing year, that loads more hope on the next in line to try to lock down the position.

Josh Rutledge figures to be the Opening Day starter at second base for the Rockies. That means Colorado will have a different Opening Day starter at second base than last year, which Rockies fans should be used to. The Rockies have never had a second baseman start consecutive Opening Days in the Dan O'Dowd era. Really.

Mike Lansing succeeded Eric Young with a 75 OPS+ as the main starter from 1998-2000, but it has been a revolving door since. In the 13 seasons since 2000, the Rockies have had 12 different Opening Day second sackers, with Luis Gonzalez starting in 2004 and 2006.

Will Josh Rutledge usher in a new era?

If you were looking at spring training statistics and the depth chart for hope, you would be disappointed. Rutledge has hit just .222 in 27 at-bats this Spring, one strikeout behind Tyler Colvin for the team lead. The team brought in former top prospect Reid Brignac, who is out of options.

Perhaps fan projections for Rutledge by fans be overly bullish due to a decade-plus of revolving mediocrity. I suggest that is false. Rutledge may not be an All-Star, but the time for change is here.

While Rutledge has struggled this spring, he has actually hit better than Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, Charlie Culberson, Ryan Wheeler, DJ LeLamhieu, Reid Brignac and Tommy Manzella. But looking forward to 2013, things look more optimistic.

Fangraphs published their 2nd base positional rankings for 2013, and powered by Josh Rutledge's projection, the Rockies rank 7th. That is ahead of teams that will employ Dan Uggla, Ben Zobrist, Rickie Weeks, Jason Kipnis and Dustin Ackley at second base. The Rockies' second base position finally has youth, upside and production on their side. I think we can be confident in Mr. Rutledge.

Two other positions have been released in Fangraphs' series so far, and the Rockies rank in the top half in both catcher (11th) and first base (15th).

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Links

The Rockies were off yesterday, but some guys did get work in during minor league games. A day after Jorge de la Rosa gave the Rockies optimism with his performance, Juan Nicasio looked sharp against the Reno Aces. A few dozen feet away at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Keith Law scouted David Dahl, Max White and other young Rockies at a minor league game ($).

Head to Head - Baseball America - File these two names away: Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. Both are toolsy Georgia high school outfielders, and both represent the top two high school position players that will be in the 2013 draft. Both are likely going to be in play for the Rockies with their 3rd selection in the draft. Earlier this week, their teams played each other, with Frazier's team winning in a mercy rule shortened match thanks to his two home runs. Baseball America's Conor Glassey attended, and has a scouting report on both ($).

Nolan Arenado ready to finish what he started this spring | Rockies.com: News The buzz has dissipated as it is wont to do, so here's a booster article for your Arenado fix in the dark.

Colorado Rockies Bullpen: Depth Chart Discussions | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball I believe the first six are nailed, but that Daniel Rosenbaum and Chris Volstad are more in play for the long relief slot than the three names mentioned.

Five questions: Colorado Rockies Hardball Talk's series landed on the Rockies yesterday.

Halfway through March, Tim Lincecum still searching - Baseball Nation - Giants fans are fretting over their rotation too. Lincecum will make $22million this year, and he's coming off a season in which he posted a 67 ERA+. That's worse than Jeremy Guthrie and Guillermo Moscoso last year. And he has a 14.73 ERA this spring.

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