It's crazy to think that this time next week the Rockies will be into their spring training routine. FOUR DAYS PEOPLE! Purple Row is gearing up into baseball season as well, as we'll be announcing the new staff members that will help take our coverage of the Rockies to the next level on Friday.
In the meantime, the big news yesterday was the release of Colorado's 24-man Non-Roster Invitee list. These are players that are not on the Rockies' 40 man roster but who will try to finagle their way onto the 25 man Opening Day roster after spring training. There's a lot of names on the NRI list, and many of them are unfamiliar to almost every Rockies fan. With that in mind, I'll go through the list and give you an idea of what to expect in terms of 2013 impact from this group - particularly with an eye on the Opening Day roster.
Won't Make the Major League Roster in 2013
The first 3 names might not ever make the Rockies. Davis and Gonzalez are catching depth to handle the late innings of spring training games and for bullpen sessions with all the pitchers the Rockies will have in camp. Paulsen is a first baseman without a discernible major league hit tool.
Anderson and Parker, Colorado's first round picks in 2011 and 2010 respectively, do have major league careers ahead of them...just not this year. Anderson will be in High A Modesto and Parker will start in AA Tulsa
Could be a September Call-Up or Injury Replacement in a Utility Role
Of the names listed above, the player most likely to be a decent major league regular is Dickerson, who has done nothing but hit in his minor league career so far. He ended the year at Tulsa and will probably start there this year again. Dickerson and Matthes are part of an outfield glut at the upper edge of the Rockies' system, which is why their call-up this year is pretty unlikely.
McBride and Wrigley both fall into the outfield bucket too, but their years as serious prospects are behind them. They could be in line to receive time with the big club if injuries ravage Colorado's outfield depth.
Manzella has an opportunity to get some time with the big club by virtue of his shortstop defense, but his bat is terrible. Never count out a catching Molina, especially since Greg's comparison to Paul Phillips strikes me as apt. Molina will stick around if we let him, and he could play the Phillips/Wil Nieves role this season.
Starters Who Could Masquerade as Relievers
Okay, so calling Frazier, Houston, and Schmidt prospects at this point is a little disingenuous. They are all back-end depth starters with potential to get a call-up as a piggy-back reliever should disaster befall the team. So basically if 2012 repeats itself.
Bettis is a different case in that I think he has a future as a MLB starter. However, the shoulder injury that wiped out 2012 for him will make it difficult for him put in many innings in 2013, so if the Rockies are in contention (I know, I know) late in the year, his power arm might fit nicely into the bullpen in September. I'm really anxious to see what kind of shape Bettis is in for this year, as he's Colorado's top pitching prospect in my opinion.
Journeyman Relievers Who Could Masquerade as Relievers