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Rockies players celebrate CarGo’s return

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Rockies news and links for March 10, 2018

Teammates celebrate CarGo’s return to Rockies | Rockies.com
Elation is evident in the Colorado Rockies’ clubhouse as the likelihood of Carlos Gonzalez returning to the team continues to increase. After previous statements from Nolan Arenado about CarGo potentially returning being “the greatest thing ever” and German Marquez lamenting on missing a good friend, General Manager Jeff Bridich has elected to re-sign the boon to the clubhouse to a one year, $8 million deal. Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, and DJ LeMahieu all celebrated CarGo’s return to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.

Aside from the joyous nature of the clubhouse, there are other possible implications of Gonzalez’s return. This will make a roster spot more difficult to achieve for players like David Dahl, Raimel Tapia, and Mike Tauchman. CarGo, Blackmon, Gerardo Parra, and Ian Desmond will be assured spots on the roster, and all stand to see most of their playing time in the outfield (though Desmond could also accrue time at first base). After bench spots for the backup catcher (Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy), and a utility player (likely Pat Valaika), only one spot would remain on the 25-man roster for Dahl, Tapia, or Tauchman.

The return of CarGo may also mark the end of Manager Bud Black’s experimentation with Blackmon batting third in the lineup. This may not be all that disadvantageous to the Rockies, as lineup optimization studies would tell us the Rockies would benefit from having their best hitters (Blackmon would certainly qualify among those that fit that distinction) batting in the first, second, or fourth slots in the order.

CarGo deal would have domino effect on Rox | Rockies.com
Harding further details the “domino effect” that could result from the CarGo signing, from the batting order to the roster battles. For the player that earns the fifth outfielder role, Black notes that it is important that such a player can perform even if they do not receive regular playing time.

Inbox: Best double-play combos among prospects? | MLB.com
Jim Callis, MLB.com’s draft and prospect expert, lists Brendan Rodgers as his pick to win the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Award. Callis also ranks MLB organizations by age of their MLB.com top 30 prospects. The Rockies fall towards the older side of things, with the 7th oldest top 30 prospects in baseball, at an average age of 22.72 years old. There is largely no correlation between the age of prospects and their talent level in MLB.com’s top 30 rankings. The Phillies, Yankees, and Reds organizations, for example, have prospects with an older average age than do the Rockies, but are also among the top 10 farm systems in the game. Meanwhile, organizational rankings place the Braves, White Sox, Athletics, and Blue Jays systems as top 10 in the game, while they feature some of the youngest top 30 prospects in baseball.

Bud Black stares down the next Rockies peak | Mile High Sports
Black has plenty of postseason experience as a player, but not so much as a manager. His only coaching experience in a postseason game was the 2017 National League Wild Card Game. Before that, the closest Black came to playoff baseball was 2007’s play-in game between the Rockies and Black’s San Diego Padres. Now, it’s all about rising above adversity in the quest to make a deeper postseason run in 2018.

Prospect McMahon exuding confidence at 1B | Rockies.com
Rookie Ryan McMahon is having a whale of a spring, slashing .368/.385/.553 in 38 at-bats of Cactus League action. This is the first extended look for McMahon in Spring Training, as he only received between 2-15 AB’s in 2015-2017. Overall, prior to 2018, McMahon was only 1-for-29 in the spring. In an interview with Harding, Black says he likes what he is seeing from McMahon this spring.

Colorado Rockies: Antonio Senzatela could get a rotation spot | Rox Pile
It seems hard to imagine Antonio Senzatela starting the year in Triple-A Albuquerque after an impressive rookie season and a solid start to the spring, but he likely finds himself on the outside looking in of a rotation set to feature Marquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, Tyler Anderson, and Chad Bettis. However, Rox Pile’s Olivia Greene writes that we shouldn’t count out Senzatela’s chances just yet.

Colorado Rockies: Jon Gray trying out new grip on his changeup | Rox Pile
Gray struggled in his outing on Friday, suffering a loss to the Cleveland Indians after allowing 6 runs on 6 hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. Gray allowed 2 home runs and seven batted balls were hit against him with an exit velocity of over 100 mph, via Statcast. Gray also walked two, while setting down two hitters on strikes. Gray felt as though he was “out of whack” on Friday, but also notes that it was his first game experimenting with a new changeup grip.

Watch a University of Wisconsin softball pitcher strike out Vinny Castilla with a nasty changeup | Cut4
Current Rockies special assistant to the GM Vinny Castilla was a pretty solid player in his day. He hit 40+ home runs in three straight seasons for the Rockies from 1996-1998. But now at age 50, he was no match for University of Wisconsin softball coach Kirsten Verdun’s nasty changeup. Check out the video for yourself!

Spring Training recap
Aside from Gray’s rough outing, it was also not a highlight day on the mound for Harrison Musgrave, who threw one pitch and gave up a hard-hit single to Bradley Zimmer of the Indians. The ball was hit off the bat of Zimmer with an exit velocity of 110 mph and hit Musgrave in the stomach, according to Nick Groke of The Denver Post. Musgrave was immediately taken out of the game and replaced by roster hopeful Zac Rosscup, who worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, while striking out two. Scott Oberg and Brooks Pounders each gave up one run in their respective innings of work, while Jairo Diaz pitched around a hit and a walk to work a scoreless inning, with a strikeout mixed in.

Leading off and playing left field, Desmond went 0-for-3, with three strikeouts. Desmond is now hitting .053/.053/.053 in 19 at-bats as he looks to retool his swing. Wolters and Tapia each recorded a double, and McMahon collected two hits (a single and a double) in his four at-bats, playing the full nine innings at first base. Trevor Story also reached base twice, with a single and a walk. Chris Iannetta returned to the lineup for the first time since being hit by a pitch on the hand on Wednesday, and reached base once via a walk in his two plate appearances. Blackmon, still batting third at this juncture, went 0-for-3. The big star of the day for the Rockies was Dahl, who went 2-for-3, with a two-run home run in the bottom of the 4th inning.

FanPost Friday: Predicting the Rockies 25-man roster | Purple Row
This week’s FanPost Friday topic is predicting the Rockies’ Opening Day 25-man roster. I’m going to try to start including some of your FanPosts in these Rockpiles, so be sure to get started on your FanPosts today!