“Put up or shut up time has arrived,” writes Patrick Saunders. If only that were true! The regular season is still about seven weeks away, and we’re all about to get reminded again that however comforting the “pitchers and catchers report” and the “start of spring training games” notches are on the baseball calendar, nothing really exciting happens.
But it’s getting close. Here, Saunders gives an overview of the positions heading into spring training. There’s not much at stake, unless injury strikes. The fifth starter role is up for grabs, and it will be worth watching Raimel Tapia and Jordan Patterson attempt to make cases for inclusion on the Opening Day roster (though there doesn’t appear to be room for Tapia).
Rather than 2007, Thomas Harding looks to 2009 as the model season he believes the 2017 Rockies might need to emulate to contend. It has to do with pitching. That season, Ubaldo Jiménez, Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa, Jason Hammel, and Aaron Cook started 157 out of 162 games. That’s a level of rotation durability that is rare and generally hints at success.
Given their performances in 2016, Harding suggests that Jon Gray, Tyler Anderon, Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood, and a combination of Jeff Hoffman, Germán Márquez, Kyle Freeland, and maybe even Antonio Senzatela can give the Rockies a similar set of consistency.
The Rockies placed five prospects on Baseball America’s top 100 list. Unsurprisingly, Brendan Rodgers leads the way once again. He comes in here at No. 16 overall. A solid season at High-A Lancaster, according to scouts far more than stats, could push him into the top 10 or higher at this time next year.
Like the Baseball Prospectus list, three more prospects make four in the top 50 here. Jeff Hoffman ranks No. 36, Riley Pint is at 46, and Raimel Tapia comes in at No. 49. The fifth player, the one unranked by BP, is Márquez. He comes in at No. 53.
It’s most notable that three of the five have a great chance to graduate off top prospect lists due to ineligibility. And even then, I can imagine Ryan Castellani making his way onto top prospect lists soon, and it wouldn’t be surprising for a good run from Ryan McMahon clearing the path for his return to national lists.