Each small step brings us closer to Opening Day. The Rockies' first official Spring Training game is tomorrow at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, but if you are in Scottsdale, you don't have to wait that long to see the first baseball game featuring the Rockies in 2013, free of charge.
At 2 PM MT, the Rockies will play an intrasquad game. No locks for the 25-man roster will partake - this game is only for prospects and bubble players. But despite the month-long Spring Training schedule, the multitudes of prospects and non-roster invitees make playing time a premium. The quest to make to team through game action for some players starts today.
One of those players is Manuel Corpas, who was critical to the pennant-winning team over a half decade ago. (Gulp). Another is Rule 5 pick Danny Rosenbaum, who has been very effective at every stop in the minor leagues. We don't know which prospects will be appearing, but one may be Rafael Ortega, who is a longshot to make the roster despite owning a career .530 wOBA in the major leagues.
Ortega is likely to start in Tulsa and resurface in September, making a play for the 2014 roster. His performance in 2013 may directly affect whether Dexter Fowler is traded this coming off-season. I can't help but root for Ortega, who I was introduced to on these Purple Row pages by Rox Girl in 2009, while he was still in the Dominican Leagues. I watched his first and second ever pro game in the US and own a bat he used and signed from Casper.
Let the Spring battles begin.
Rockies third baseman Chris Nelson eager to have big season in 2013 - The Denver Post Naturally. And he will need it.
Renck: Colorado Rockies' Michael Cuddyer wants performance-enhancing cheaters hit hard - The Denver Post I'll just leave this here.
Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle set the tone in Colorado Rockies bullpen | Rockies.com: News This is for sure, though Belisle is only fourth in line to close games.
MLB safety: Stronger carbon fiber helmets now seen at the plate - The Denver Post Tulo is like whatever and Cargo is like this sucks.
Service Time Considerations For Top Prospects: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com - This is a great link for considering call-ups of top prospects. Nolan Arenado is not included for some reason, but he would fit in the first group - Arenado would be controlled by the Rockies through 2019 if he was called up past late April, and he would avoid Super 2 if called up after mid-June.
Which lame duck MLB manager is most likely to be canned? | SportsonEarth.com : Emma Span covers the nine MLB managers who are not under contract past 2013, and that does include Walt Weiss. Given his unique situation, Span rates only Jim Leyland as a manager less likely to be fired in 2013 than Weiss.
The Remains of Walk-offs | FanGraphs Baseball Jack Moore has an interesting piece analyzing the ERA benefits relievers get from giving up walk-off hits. If there are runners still on base, they leave a run expectancy that they created, which in any other inning, would add to their ERA some of the time, rather than none of the time. The difference in ERA for some relievers is much higher than negligible. A notable counterargument is the tendency to be more liberal with intentional walks in walk-off situations, (lead off triple in a tie game, for instance).
The 20-80 Scale, SABR Style | FanGraphs Baseball Mark Smith attempted to transpose the 20-80 scale for the five tools over statistics that most closely match the tool requirement. It is an interesting excercise, especially seeing that a Rockie is listed as the example for the most elite hit tool category.
Baseball Prospectus | Pebble Hunting: Fixing the Holes, National League Sam Miller covers every NL team's weakest position and what was done to address it. For Colorado it's first base. He also quotes an 11 piece from BPro comparing Helton to...Sandy Koufax...
Trapped in the minors - John Kochurov writes about Scott Van Slyke, one of those players with a fantastic hitting line in the minors that has yet to reall get a chance.