Jon Gray has used the offseason and spring training to bounce back from a rough end to the 2017 season. And in the Cactus League game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, he left no doubt that he is ready to go. He dominated through six innings, each one of his pitches looking ready for regular season play. Bud Black is likely to have him start on Opening Day, and he has shown that he is the one to fill that role. Gray will have the illustrious honor of being only one of a few Rockies to start Opening Day in consecutive season. If we can get a similar performance to Monday’s game, things are looking good for the Rockies.
Spring Training is an opportunity for many players to show the strides they have made in the offseason. It provides a chance to see what prospects can do. It’s an important time. However, Bud Black puts very little stock in the actual numbers put up before the season starts. He views Spring Training more as players reminding their bodies of what it’s like to be playing again. The team is not concerned if a pitcher doesn’t put up great statistics, as they are using the games to work out any kinks they might have. Black tries to keep the big picture in mind, expecting his team to deliver when it counts. The Rockies have not had a stellar Spring Training, but everyone still has high hopes for the 2018 season, showing us what really matters. It’s just Spring Training; Opening Day will show us the real stuff.
We’re getting down to the wire to make decisions for the 2018 season, and there are still few question marks. David Dahl and Ryan McMahon are trying their hardest to impress. And they have been doing a good job thus far, hitting well and showing what they’ve got. However, with Gerardo Parra returning from his hand injury, and Carlos Gonzalez coming back, Ian Desmond will probably get moved to first base, leaving less room for these two players. Therefore, they will likely see some time in the minor leagues, which will allow them to have plenty of at-bats and to play regularly. Mike Tauchman is in a similar spot, as the outfield is starting to overflow. These are tough decisions for the team to make, but hopefully it will pay off, with these players gaining experience and staying in shape.
The Rockies’ reliever Carlos Estevez suffered an oblique strain early in preseason play. Although he was only expected to be out a few days, it has turned into something a little more, with Estevez likely to be out for a while more. Not wanting to injure himself farther and with a pitching staff that will currently allow for it, Estevez is taking the time to rebuild himself and completely heal. Estevez had some convincing numbers last season, but this year he faces stiff competition for a spot in the pitching rotation. It is currently looking like Scott Oberg and Zac Rosscup will be solidly in there, with Antonio Senzatela and Jairo Diaz watching and waiting. We’ll see how things are when Estevez recovers from his injury.
As we get closer and closer to Opening Day, the Rockies are starting to make some decisions about who will have what spot on the team. Several players could be certain of their spots, like Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, and Trevor Story, among others. This makes it pretty tough for a prospect to step in and find his place in an already impressive infield. Brendan Rodgers is one of these prospects. He played very well in Spring Training games, and the Rockies have some very high hopes for the 21-year-old. He’ll start this season in the minor league, gaining experience and building confidence. I’m hoping he becomes a rock star and can be called up to the big leagues to help the Rockies later in the year.
‘The Sandlot’ will celebrate its 25th anniversary on April 1, and the Milwaukee Brewers have given us an impressive recreation of the movie, complete with a junkyard dog. It will give you lots of nostalgic feels.