As Rox Girl wrote yesterday, the Rockies' 25-man roster is really taking shape at this point in the Spring - as well it should, it's just about that glorious time when we all congregate at Coors Field and get really excited to watch guys wearing purple do things.
I've seen a handful of Opening Day rosters thrown around in the comments, so I basically decided that I want to play as well.
The majority of the roster is the obvious guys, such as 1. SS Troy Tulowitzki, 2. LF Carlos Gonzalez, and 3. 1B Todd Helton. You just don't play Colorado Rockies baseball without those 3 guys. The next handful of people are the other starters that are relatively new, or not just as core as the mainstays. 4. CF Dexter Fowler falls into that boat, along with 5. 2B Marco Scutaro, 6. RF Michael Cuddyer, and 7. C Ramon Hernandez. 8. 3B Chris Nelson gets the nod for me, but he's going to have 9. 3B Jordan Pacheco nipping at his heels.
As long as we're moving on to backup players, 10. 1B Jason Giambi will be there to take a good number of games off of Helton's plate (as will Cuddyer). 11. RF Tyler Colvin is the primary outfield backup, as far as I see him. Strong Spring, MLB experience, Charlie Blackmon hurt - yeah, Colvin makes sense.
Moving on to pitching, the first 4 are also obvious: 12. RHP Jeremy Guthrie, who will be the Opening Day starter in Houston against Wandy Rodriguez. Behind him are 13. RHP Jhoulys Chacin, 14. LHP Drew Pomeranz, 15. RHP Juan Nicasio.
The Bullpen has a few near-guarantees, namely 16. CL Rafael Betancourt, 17. LHP Rex Brothers, 18. RHP Matt Belisle, 19. LHP Matt Reynolds, 20. RHP Josh Roenicke, and 21. RHP Alex White.
So that leaves 5 spots on the 25-man roster. The Rockies tend to roll with an 8-man bullpen, so we have 2 position player slots, 1 bullpen slot, and the #5 starter remaining.
One of the position player slots is going to go to the backup catcher, who seems set to be C Wilin Rosario. I'm really on the fence about this move. It's not really based on Rosario's readiness, but more his playing time. On one hand, I want him starting 2 of every 3 games, but on the other hand, we kind of brought Hernandez in to mentor Rosario. Unless they have a great Skype relationship, it would seem the latter rationale will keep Rosario on the MLB roster. Then again, Hernandez has averaged about 90 games in his past 3 seasons, and he's not getting any younger. That leaves roughly 70 games for Rosario, which isn't a bad workload at all.
That all said, Rosario starts in AAA in my mind. Again, not a vote of no confidence - hell, the guy led the team in homers this Spring, but a vote of "get more playing time and learn to adjust to altitude". This doesn't preclude an early callup if he's just demanding that MLB slot through his performance come May. For the record, I'm totally content to be wrong here.
So my backup catcher is 22. C Wil Nieves. He's not the exciting choice, per se, but the Brewers were alright with him as the backup last year. I don't necessarily think he's GOING to get that backup C role, but I do think he's the short-term "right choice". Hernandez isn't being wasted without Rosario as his shadow; the Rockies' pitching is pretty young themselves.
The bullpen still needs a long man. This could be a guy who missed out on the rotation battle, a reliever who's MLB material but just not high-leverage material, someone like that. RHP Edgmer Escalona makes sense here, as he'd pitched decently well in limited MLB duty, but he has an option left, so we'll be seeing him in Colorado Springs.
No, my final bullpen slot is going to go to 23. RHP Esmil Rogers. It's not that I'm all hot and bothered about Rogers, but more the fact that we don't have any options with him, so for a low-leverage spot where he's trying to regain some value, it makes sense. But if comes out and has a weak April, I have no hesitation in waiving him. Maybe a bit harsh, but it's not as if he hasn't had chances. I do partially think the organization messed around with his role a bit too much, but it is what it is.
The winner of the starter competition, while not officially announced, is going to be 24. LHP Jamie Moyer. Moyer has been the
victim subject of infinity "lol old" articles around the country - hell, probably the world - but all signs are pointing to go for Moyer. Longevity is going to be the major concern for Moyer, not his arm.
My final roster spot, therefore, comes down to one final position player. It's a tough decision - do you go with somebody like Johnny Herrera or Brendan Harris who can back up the entire infield and play solid defense? Do you promote Andrew Brown after his powerful Spring (seriously, .800 SLG. I know, ST numbers don't matter, but good lord, .800 SLG)? Or maybe give Tim Wheeler a shot?
I went with none of the above, and instead picked 25. OF Eric Young Jr. I'll explain this a bit more thoroughly in a YouTube video later on today, but the quick reasons why are: He "can" play the OF, he's the fastest dude in the organization (he's stolen 6 bases this Spring; extrapolated to a full season, he's on a 60-bag pace), and he might be one of the hardest workers on the whole team, something this club's really shopped for this offseason. Furthermore, with the 25th slot, you might as well go with a fan favorite kind of guy, an organizational pick, something that EYJ is both of (he's a sentimental favorite, right?).
Holy smokes that was verbose. Thanks for sticking with me there. Spring Training is right around the corner. Be excited. I am.