The Rockies were in Kansas City last night, but apparently they didn't bring their bats with them, as they were unable to figure out James Shields and company to the tune of 12 strikeouts, one walk, and five hits. The loss dropped the Rockies 2.5 games back of the Giants in the NL West and their record over the last 10 games to 5-5. There is some good news on the horizon though:
I for one am sick of seeing Jordan Pacheco, Michael McKenry, or both in the lineup with any regularity. That's just one of the reasons I'm very excited to see Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario on their way back into the lineup. Cuddyer should be back next Tuesday against the Giants after a rehab assignment in Extended Spring Training and Rosario should be on a very similar timeline.
While Cuddyer's return creates even more of an outfield logjam, it's rarely a bad thing to have so many potent bats to choose from. Similarly, while Rosario wasn't hitting well before his illness, he's got a much higher ceiling of production than his replacements and his return makes a strong Rockies lineup that much stronger.
Another player, utility infielder Josh Rutledge, was activated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. While Rutledge has been deemed healthy enough to play, the Rockies want him to get some at-bats at the AAA level to help him regain his rhythm. Rutledge's return just might make a strong offense even stronger, especially if you are a believer in his strong 25 PA start to 2014.
Morales struggled to find the strike zone last night, repeatedly getting behind on hitters. He's been below replacement level this year and the Rockies probably need to be looking for a replacement, before Brett Anderson is ready to come off the DL. I'll have a little more on this later today.
Monday, Drew Creasman asked the question - should the Rockies trade Cuddyer or another outfielder? Hayden Kane of RoxPile answers emphatically no.
Patrick Saunders writes about the great start for free agent signee Justin Morneau. Considering Cuddyer's injury this year, we could have been seeing Jordan Pacheco and Ryan Wheeler in that spot for the last month. Morneau's been considerably better than I thought (or even hoped) he would be.
Friend of Purple Row Richard Bergstrom went to hitting expert Joey Meyers to examine why Troy Tulowitzki has been so good this year. The answer? A longer stride seems to have helped. Read the article for more insight.
Links from around baseball
As the June Rule 4 Draft approaches, MLB is making noise once again about getting to an international player draft. This would be a terrible idea for international prospects and for several other reasons articulated by Alex Remington in the above link. In fact, if you asked me, I'd prefer to abolish the draft altogether, perhaps giving fixed talent acquisition budgets to teams as an olive branch to owners.
Chris Cwik writes about the improving science of drafting, developing, and ranking baseball prospects - as exemplified by the relative accuracy of the Baseball America top 100 list.