Friday Rockpile: The Utility Infielder Battle

These two are likely in the lead for the battle for one utility infielder role. - Dustin Bradford

The Rockies have plenty of candidates for their utility infield role, and each have their own claim to get on the roster.

Ten days shy of Opening Day, five of the six infield spots seem to be set for the Opening Day roster. Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Rutledge and Todd Helton are going to be starters at short, second and first. Jordan Pacheco seems to have a bench spot locked up. Chris Nelson is likely to be the third baseman to start, but if Nolan Arenado usurps him, Nelson is likely to be traded, leaving the bench untouched.

The last role for the infield left to decide is utility infield, and there are plenty of candidates. Josh Rutledge's versaility does no favors in paring down the field, as his ability to play shortstop negates the requirement that the backup in question be able to play both second and short. The candidates:

.

Jonathan Herrera

Why He Could Get the Job: More than any other player on this list, Herrera is part of the Rockies' fabric. He has been a Rockie his entire career and is a childhood friend of Carlos Gonzalez. The Rockies' tendered Herrera a contract last fall when they could have thinned the herd up the middle, and Herrera now has a $900k contract for 2013, which might make a trade more difficult. He has hit the best of the candidates during spring.

Why He Might Not Get the Job: He's not the most talented hitter or fielder on this list and he has one option remaining.

.

DJ LeMahieu

Why He Could Get the Job: With increased playing time late in the season in 2012, LeMahieu continued to improve. His high contact, low strikeout approach makes him a weapon on the road, and he can play third base in addition to second base. The Rockies essentially acquired him for a former first round pick.

Why He Might Not Get the Job: He has an option year remaining and is not an option at shortstop.

.

Reid Brignac

Why He Could Get the Job: The Rockies traded for Brignac knowing he was out of options, so he clearly is in the picture despite his recent struggles at the big league level. Brignac has the highest prospect pedigree on this list and is a very solid gloveman. Coors could resuscitate his career in a big way. He's the only player without an option remaining on this list, so if he makes the team, Colorado can keep every player.

Why He Might Not Get the Job: He is out of options and is just 3-for-18 in spring training. Being the outsider of this group, that's not the way to get noticed. Releasing Brignac would be relatively painless.

.

Charlie Culberson

Why He Could Get the Job: He is arguably the highest rated of the candidates that still qualify as prospects. He was acquired for Marco Scutaro last year, and his presence on the roster could partially validate that trade.

Why He Might Not Get the Job: He has two option years remaining and not hit well at all this spring.

.

Ryan Wheeler

Why He Could Get the Job: The Rockies traded a big league piece in Matt Reynolds for Wheeler, who can play third base and first base.

Why He Might Not Get the Job: His position on the field is redundant with Jordan Pacheco, and Wheeler has not put up much of an argument with his bat this spring, going 3-or-19 with 5 strikeouts. He has all three option years and is an easy stash at AAA. Perhaps most importantly, he cannot play up the middle, which is a requirement if Pacheco is the other bench infielder. As such, he's already been optioned.

Without intending to, I set that list up in decreasing order of likelihood those men will be on the Opening Day roster, barring injury. Your thoughts?

.

Links

Colorado Rockies confident emphasis on defense is paying off - The Denver Post - This would be good.

Young working to shed label as bench player | Rockies.com: News - This is going to be difficult, considering he is clearly inferior to the starter at every position he plays.

Can Rockies' Tulowitzki win MVP? You bet - The Denver Post - This would be a welcome development.

2013 Preview: Colorado Rockies | HardballTalk - DJ Short picks the Rockies last in the division. I'm beginning to think he will be wrong.

For whatever reason, two Rockies pitchers want to reduce their K/9 rate We haven't read about this because it was in a Venezuelan paper, but this is about Jhoulys Chacin and Edgmer Escalona.

One Concussion Too Many: My post-concussion story » mindahaas.net If you've found yourself wondering why Justin Mornaeu and Jason Bay have had such a difficult time getting back on the field, read this. It is by a Royals blogger whose life was completely derailed by a concussion, and it sure wasn't from playing football.

OFF TOPIC

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker