Among the strong performances for the Rockies early in Spring Training, one that has stood out has been that of infielder, and sometimes outfielder, Charlie Culberson.
The 24-year-old Culberson, a second baseman by trade, saw time both at his primary position in the minors and in left field for Colorado in 2013 after joining the organization via a trade for Marco Scutaro in 2012 and has done so again in six Spring contests in 2014.
Culberson had 99 at bats with the Rockies last season, hitting .293 with five doubles and a pair of homers. He also stole five bases in 47 games.He has had just 16 at bats this spring, but has collected five hits, including a double and a home run, scored four times, drawn a walk and stolen base, all while fielding well at both second and in left.
Culberson is bolstered in his quest to make the club by his versatility, as he can provide depth in both the infield and outfield, something that could be crucial for a team that at times last year carried just 12 position players.
His main competition as a right-handed hitting reserve infielder would seem to be whoever loses the starting second base job, either Josh Rutledge or DJ LeMahieu. Both Rutledge and LeMahieu are older and more experienced at the big league level than Culberson, but neither adds the benefit of being able to play the outfield if needed. Veteran Paul Janish is also pushing for a roster spot in spring.
At this point, a little over a week into Spring Training, it does seem as if the Rockies will be able to pick the best option for a reserve infielder rather than simply the "least bad" option for the spot, which always bodes well for the future.