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Will David Dahl make the Rockies’ Opening Day roster?

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Rockies news and links for January 6, 2018

Colorado Rockies: Could David Dahl make the Opening Day roster? | Rox Pile
On Thursday, outfielder David Dahl swung a bat for the first time in over five months. By all accounts, it went at least well enough that there wasn’t a recurrence of any injury. If Dahl progresses according to plan and is ready to begin the season on a healthy note, it will be interesting to see if he is able to crack the Opening Day 25-man roster for the Colorado Rockies. Other outfield options on hand include Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Gerardo Parra, Mike Tauchman, and Raimel Tapia. Blackmon, Desmond, and Parra are locks to make the Opening Day roster, so we can assuredly say that either one or two of Dahl, Tauchman, and Tapia will not be cracking the roster.

I am personally not so certain that Dahl will be heading north (or south, as the Rockies are beginning the season at Chase Field) with the team once Spring Training comes to an end. If Dahl is on fire* during the spring, I think he will be making the team. But I also believe that the Rockies coaching staff is looking to see Dahl make a definitive statement. The fact that he is healthy is the biggest first step. Now it is important that he performs well. I would love to see Dahl on the Opening Day roster, and if he performs as he showed he is capable of in 2016, he undoubtedly makes this club better.

*Figuratively “on fire,” not literally. Who knows what could happen after Dahl’s injury-plagued 2017?

Colorado Rockies: An open letter to J.D. Martinez | Rox Pile
Of course, Dahl’s ability to perform after sustaining significant injuries is not certain. And with what we’ve seen in their cumulative Rockies’ performances, Desmond and Parra are not sure things to perform offensively either. There is no shortage of outfield options outside of the organization to explore. We’ve explored a possible trade for Christian Yelich quite extensively. J.D Martinez also remains a free agent, albeit a costly one. Olivia Greene of Rox Pile makes the case for Martinez in an open letter to the outfielder himself.

Rox would be wise to lock up Arenado long term | Rockies.com
MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby reminds us of how even with injuries to Chad Bettis, Tom Murphy, Desmond, Dahl, and Jon Gray, the Rockies were able to go on a remarkable run in 2017 to reach the postseason for the first time in eight years. Through it all, Nolan Arenado was a consistent presence. So why not lock him up for an extended period?

Ottavino reveals story behind Lincecum pic | Rockies.com
Adam Ottavino posted a picture of a jacked-looking Tim Linceum on his Instagram a few weeks ago. The two were working out together at Driveline Baseball. As a Rockies fan, this mostly has me excited to see what Ottavino has in store for the 2018 season. With what he describes as “pitch design work,” Ottavino seems determined to have success in 2018, which would be an even further upgrade to a bullpen in which the Rox have placed a significant focus upon heading into the upcoming campaign. Recall that from 2012-2016, Ottavino pitched 259.2 innings of 3.36 ERA ball, racking up 9.6 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 0.8 HR/9. While his strikeout rate was quite healthy in 2017, Ottavino also gave up an alarming 6.58 free passes per nine innings, along with 1.35 HR/9 in a lost year.

As for Lincecum, he appears to be gearing up for a comeback, and he certainly looks in good physical condition. He might not be kidding when he tells teams he’s in the best shape of his life. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding offers the inside scoop behind Ottavino’s snapshot in his article.

Rockies’ Wade Davis: Former starter is the thinking man’s closer | The Denver Post
We’ve been learning a lot about the Rockies’ new closer, Wade Davis, and Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post continues the conversation. As we’ve heard, fellow reliever Jake McGee played an instrumental role in convincing Davis to join up with the Rox. McGee now sells us on Davis, noting that Davis “does all of his research.” McGee likens Davis’s preparation to that of a starting pitcher. That extensive preparation paid off in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals (who have never won a playoff series) in 2017. Davis was given the opportunity to get seven outs. While the appearance was not spotless, Davis did achieve the save, capping it off with a one-two-three ninth inning in which he struck out Bryce Harper to end the game.

In Saunders’ column, we learn all about Davis’s journey from high school, through the minor leagues in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization, his subsequent trade to the Kansas City Royals, where he thrived in his transition to a relief pitcher, to his trade to the Chicago Cubs, and finally the deal that landed him in Denver.

Rockies Podcasts

Purple Dino Podcast’s 2018 debut is a big ol’ AskPDP episode | Purple Row
I quite enjoyed the return of the Purple Dinosaur Podcast! I particularly found interesting Tyler’s mention of his conversation with the “professional who I pay money to, to evaluate my mental state” about the difficulties of accepting positive occurrences in our lives. How are we able to focus on these positives without anticipating what we perceive to be negatives that will inevitably follow? Perhaps there are various areas in all our lives where we can deem this to be relevant, but focusing specifically on the Rockies, the team is at a very good spot entering 2018. The Rockies are at a point in their history of many positives—not only are they in a spot where postseason contention is expected and very plausible, but they are also an organization that is being run professionally from the top to the bottom. This is not something that could have been said for this franchise in years past.

Give the entire PDP a listen. I found myself enjoying every moment!

Colorado Rockies podcast: Understanding the era of advanced statistics | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry was joined by MLB.com’s Manny Randhawa for a very interesting conversation about the increased use of advanced analytics in evaluating baseball players. I would absolutely listen to this if you are on the fence about why the “win” is an overvalued measurement for pitchers.

Randhawa discusses how Coors Field is not as homer-friendly of a ballpark as many are led to believe. From 2015 (Statcast’s implementation) through June 2017, Coors Field ranked 9th in number of non-barreled home runs. Minute Maid Park and its Crawford boxes ranked first. Randhawa notes from a conversation with Arenado that he felt that any home runs he hit at Coors Field were certainly not “cheap.” During that same 2015-June 2017 timeframe, only one of Carlos Gonzalez’s Coors Field home runs was not considered “barreled.” Rather than the home run ball, the acreage of the outfield at Coors Field is a bigger effect and contributes to a greater number of hits. Consequently, we see many batting leaders coming from the Rockies. The entire conversation is very interesting and I highly recommend listening to the full audio.

BSN Rockies Podcast: Did Colorado sell their future to buy a pleasant present? | BSN Rockies
Among other topics, the latest BSN Rockies podcast discusses the signings of Davis, McGee, and Bryan Shaw, and whether the expensive reliever contracts take away future money that could be given to Arenado, Blackmon, and/or DJ LeMahieu. Drew Creasman argues that there will still be money available to pay two of these three players. The entire podcast focuses a lot on the future financial questions facing the Rox and I recommend listening in its entirety.