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Colorado Rockies outfield battle coming to a close, third base locked down by a star

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Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Lyles struggles in Minors start — MLB

Jordan Lyles allowed five runs (four earned) in 4 1/3 innings of work in a Minor League camp game pitching against Double-A Hartford. The righty is working his way back from another season that ended in injury, and he will hopefully be a solid member of the rotation this year. He's shown flashes of some nice pitching in the past, so let's hope he can stay healthy this year in his third season with the Rockies, as he's still just 25 of age.

Colorado Rockies Outfield Battle: Week Three — Rox Pile

With Raimel Tapia reassigned, Rox Pile's outfield writeup has been parred down to just five. Brandon Barnes did himself a favor, going 3-for-3 against the Padres with two triples. Given the nature of the roster, however, it remains to be seen how much of a role he'll have with the Rockies to begin the year.

An all-bargain team of underappreciated veterans — USA Today

A list for fantasy baseball managers, USA Today's article features our own Nick Hundley as catcher in its all-bargain team of veterans. Hundley had a great season for the Rockies in 2015 and turned out to be a great acquisition, slashing .301/.339/.467. Perhaps the most important quality Hundley brings is his experience, something that's intangible of course but I think is crucial in a catcher. He can help the younger pitchers through tough games and can help groom the next wave of catchers the Rockies have in the pipe.

Brad Johnson's 10 Timid Predictions — FanGraphs

The last of his predictions, Johnson writes that Jose Reyes will not be the Rockies best middle infielder by year's end. That's probably more conservative than timid as far as predictions go, but I suppose I'm flattered the Rockies made a list for something, even if it does have to be for Jose Reyes. The article doesn't really explore the question any further, but who do you think will be the Rockies' best infielder that's not named Nolan by the end of the year? I think Story has a great shot at it.

2016 Positional Power Rankings: Third Base — FanGraphs

The Blue Jays take the top spot here, with a cumulative WAR of 6.2 with 6.1 of that total coming from Josh Donaldson. Donaldson's projected WAR for 2016 is surpassed by just Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. The Rockies come in at fourth, with a WAR of 4.3. I can't wait for Nolan to continue to play out of his mind, force himself into MVP consideration, get overlooked because #Rockies, and then be projected for something like fifth in WAR for third baseman next year. Tiny rant of the day over.

2016 Positional Power Rankings: Left Field — FanGraphs

If you scroll and scroll and scroll, you'll find the Rockies sitting pretty at 25. Parra will be a decent option for the Rockies most days, and Raburn will murder lefties. I think Parra will end up playing solidly for the Rockies, possibly surprising a few people. Our good friends from Arizona sit at list's very bottom, but as the author notes, they'd handily win an "Awesome Names by Position" contest.

Broadcaster Joe Garagiola dies at age 90 — Denver Post

Cather, broadcaster, and Hill icon Joe Garagiola dies at 90 — St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Baseball lost another of its great personalities Wednesday with the passing of Joe Garagiola. In addition to a storied career in broadcasting, Garagiola was a huge leader in the fight against smokeless tobacco and was a long-time supporter of the Baseball Assistance Team. A service will be held in St. Louis with a memorial held in Arizona at a later date.

Has the League Lost its Two Strike Approach? — FanGraphs

A look at swing rates to explain why strikeouts seem so much more frequent today, with the conclusion that better pitching combined with more lenient strike zones is resulting in more punch outs. Since 2007, numbers have been pretty consistent from the batter's perspective in terms of two-strike swing percentage two strike pitches per year. As Rockies fans, we're pretty used to seeing whiffs and walks are about as rare as anything else.

Cuba showcased a few players who may be in the Majors in time — Beyond the Box Score

In a game between the Cuban National team and the Tampa Bay Rays surrounded by the narrative of the historical context in which it was played, a few Cuban players took part who may be plying their trade in the MLB someday. Steven Martano takes a look over at Beyond the Box Score at the Cuban players who took the field.

MLB Rumor Central (Mar. 23): Chacin making case for Braves rotation

Remember how a couple of years ago when Chacin was thought to be a legitimate top of the rotation guy for the Rockies coming into the year? With a career in Colorado unfortunately derailed by injuries, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters after Chacin's latest outing that the pitcher could very well force his way into the starting rotation. Good news for Chacin, as it always sucks to see a player's career hampered by injuries.