In the ‘Pen
2018 Rockies Preview: Once a weakness, the bullpen is now a source of strength | Mile High Sports
The Colorado Rockies featured a drastically improved bullpen compared to years past in 2017. Now, they’ve signed Wade Davis as their 2018 closer to a deal worth $52 million over three years, the largest contract ever for a relief pitcher. A three-year, $27 million deal for Bryan Shaw is also going to help to bolster a bullpen that is expected to be among the game’s best in ’18.
Let us not forget that building a talented 2018 bullpen didn’t require a sole reliance upon seeking players outside of the organization. Jake McGee re-upped with the Rox on a three-year, $27 million deal this offseason after spending the 2016-17 campaigns in Denver. Adam Ottavino could be a key member out of the 2018 bullpen and has been with the Rockies since 2012. The ever-consistent Chris Rusin has been around since 2015. Mike Dunn and Zac Rosscup are entering their second campaigns with the team. Scott Oberg was originally drafted by the Rockies in 2012, and Carlos Estevez was signed by the Rox as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic.
Aniello Piro at Mile High Sports projects all nine of these players to make the Rockies’ 2018 Opening Day roster. Nine members of the bullpen would be highly unusual, so it initially appears likely that Rosscup will be left off the roster if everything goes according to plan. On the other hand, Roster Resource projects Estevez to be the one who starts the year at Triple-A Albuquerque. With a full rotation, starters Antonio Senzatela and Jeff Hoffman are expected to start the year in the minors as well, and after strong rookie campaigns, there is an argument to be made that either of these two makes the Opening Day roster as a bullpen piece as well.
Colorado Rockies: their best bullpen arm has been here all along | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Mike Macesich looks deeper into one of the Rockies’ key bullpen components in Rusin. Rusin led Rockies relievers with at least 20 innings in innings pitched (85.0), ground-ball percentage (58.5%), strikeouts (71), bWAR (2.4), RA9-WAR (2.1), and Win Probability Added (2.64). He also had the lowest hard-contact rate among Rockies relievers at 22.7%. It’s quite possible that the Rockies already possessed their best reliever before they went out and signed Davis and Shaw.
Yes, Kenley Jansen said ‘Maybe we have to go on strike’ | True Blue LA
As for the bullpen of the Los Angeles Dodgers, they have a closer in Kenley Jansen who led the league in a few categories that Rusin was mentioned in above. The painfully slow offseason may not be too much of an issue for a player like Jansen who has job security for the 2018 season, but he did not hold back in speaking his mind about the lack of contracts being dealt out to players over the past couple of months. Jansen suggested, “Maybe we have to go on strike” in an appearance at the Dodgers’ Fan Fest on Saturday. Eric Stephen at True Blue LA has more details on Jansen’s comments and the challenges that lie ahead as the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after 2021.
On the Farm
2018 Organizational Talent Rankings | Baseball America
As prospect season continues, Baseball America released their 2018 organizational talent rankings on Monday, with the Rockies landing at number 20. That’s a bit disappointing, as it’s the lowest the Rockies have been since 2013. There are a variety of potential reasons here—largely, the talent of 2014-17 is graduating to the MLB level. Additionally, we have seen on various recent prospect rankings that Brendan Rodgers’s stock has gone down a bit. I’m not concerned about Rodgers, but this could be another reason to lower the Rockies’ standings a bit. The Los Angeles Angels (last year’s number 30) have skyrocketed up to 14. For the second straight year, the Atlanta Braves are number one. The Seattle Mariners (21 in 2017) come in last in this year’s rankings.
Brendan Rodgers leads Colorado Rockies’ 2018 spring training non-roster invitees | Purple Row
As Ryan Schoppe covered here at Purple Row, the Rockies released their list of MLB Spring Training non-roster invitees on Monday. You can see the full list by clicking the above link, but top prospects Rodgers, Peter Lambert, and Garrett Hampson will be there, making for exciting viewing this spring!
MLB rumors: White Sox expected to keep Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia | MLB Daily Dish
First baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia have been speculatively linked to the Rockies this offseason as the team looks to improve its offensive abilities heading into a new season. However, Chicago White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn told reporters on Sunday that he expects Abreu and Garcia to remain with the Sox organization for the beginning of the 2018 season. Evidently, Hahn has not received any offers to his liking when gauging interest about both players.
Indians will stop using the Chief Wahoo logo before the 2019 season | SB Nation MLB
Major League Baseball announced that the Cleveland Indians will abandon their Chief Wahoo logo before the 2019 season. It seems curious that Indians chief executive Paul Dolan has seemingly accepted the notion that the logo is a degrading symbol to Native Americans, and yet has no qualms about the team incorporating Chief Wahoo into its 2018 plans. The Indians will also maintain the copyright to Chief Wahoo, preventing any other entity from profiting from the logo’s usage. While the logo will be out, the team has not expressed any intent to change its name.