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Rockies working to trim down 25-man roster

Rockies news and links for March 21, 2018

2018 Colorado Rockies roster breakdown: The stats and names that matter for opening day | The Denver Post ($)
Nick Groke of The Denver Post breaks down the 30 candidates left for the final Opening Day roster of 25. Each player is given a stat that matters (OPS+, on-base percentage, batting average with RISP, etc.) for Opening Day.

Groke’s lineup is probably an exact representation of what we’ll be seeing on a regular basis (at least to begin the year), which may draw the ire of many Rockies fans: Charlie Blackmon CF, DJ LeMahieu 2B, Nolan Arenado 3B, Carlos Gonzalez RF, Trevor Story SS, Ian Desmond 1B, Gerardo Parra LF, and Chris Iannetta C. Hopefully, a full Spring Training will work to get Desmond’s swing timing down, while also giving him needed experience playing defense at first base.

The starting rotation of Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, German Marquez, Chad Bettis, and Kyle Freeland should not represent much of a surprise. Relievers mentioned are Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Chris Rusin, Adam Ottavino, Mike Dunn, Scott Oberg, Carlos Estevez (whose Opening Day status is very questionable due to an oblique strain), Jairo Diaz, and Zac Rosscup. Notice there is no mention of Antonio Senzatela here, which I don’t want to read too much into, but I did find it notable that he was not mentioned among a host of others, which may suggest Triple-A Albuquerque is his likeliest destination to start the year.

The battle for final position player spots on the roster include Tony Wolters, Pat Valaika, Raimel Tapia, Mike Tauchman, Ryan McMahon, David Dahl, and Daniel Castro. Notice that we also do not see Tom Murphy’s name appear, and my bet at this point is that Wolters will make the club as the backup catcher. Valaika appears to be a lock to make the roster in a utility role, and Manager Bud Black has said as much. Two more roster spots remain. I am of a mind that McMahon and Dahl have earned a spot on the 25-man roster, but I wouldn’t expect my dream to come true. It’s interesting to see Castro’s name appear here, as the Rockies would no doubt enjoy seeing a steady defensive backup infielder on the roster, but he clearly does not possess the offensive capabilities of any of the other options.

Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers made big impact before being sent to minors | The Denver Post ($)
Brendan Rodgers will certainly not be on the 25-man roster for the Rockies, at least to begin the year, but he has warranted praise from his teammates for his time spent with the Major leaguers this Spring. Story lauded Rodgers’ bat speed, while Arenado was impressed with the way he gets in “the right slot” without much head movement while batting. Arenado notes that he himself struggled with that aspect of the game when he was Rodgers’ age.

Seven bold predictions for the National League West in 2018 | Rox Pile
Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry offers seven bold predictions for the National League West in 2018. Perhaps the most exciting is the prediction that the Rockies will lock up Arenado on a long-term extension. In more discouraging prognostications, Henry expects that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the only postseason team out of the NL West in ’18.

Colorado Rockies: Predicting the X-Factor in the bullpen | Rox Pile
General Manager Jeff Bridich and company allotted a significant financial investment towards bringing in relief pitching from the free agent market this offseason, but Rox Pile’s Aaron Hurt believes the “x-factor” in the bullpen will be Ottavino. Ottavino had a tremendously difficult time finding the strike zone in 2017, allowing 39 walks, 4 hit batters, and uncorking 8 wild pitches in 53 1/3 innings. If Ottavino can limit the walks and get back to his prior production in a Rockies uniform, the ‘pen will be even better than its already high expectations.

Colorado Rockies: Possible trade proposals later in 2018 | Rox Pile
The regular season may be a week away, but Rox Pile’s Olivia Greene posits a few ideas for trades that the Rockies could make at the deadline in 2018. Tyler Glasnow of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sean Doolittle of the Washington Nationals, and Greg Bird of the New York Yankees are mentioned as potential targets.

Anderson relieved to deliver solid spring start |
It hasn’t been a perfect Spring for any members of the Rockies’ starting staff as they look to make tweaks and adjustments before the regular season begins, but a good outing for Anderson was much-welcomed on Tuesday. Anderson struck out 5 batters in 5 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits.

Jon Gray dominates Rangers with four-hit, nine-strikeout performance | The Denver Post ($)
Anderson’s good outing followed an outstanding performance by Gray on Monday night against the Texas Rangers. At one point, Gray struck out five of seven batters he faced. Black used the adjectives “good,” “nice,” “tremendous,” and “outstanding” to describe what he saw from Gray. Gray chalked up his success to the use of what he calls a “down slider,” which he likes to use to induce ground balls- but I think he’ll be pleased with the strikeouts too!

Charlie Blackmon and Chris Rusin beat Nolan Arenado and Zach Wilson in Rockies’ epic pingpong tourney | The Denver Post ($)
The headline says it all. There was a bit of gamesmanship at one point between Arenado and Blackmon, who both had their game faces on. You can watch video of the game-winning shot by Blackmon by clicking the link above. The reaction from all the Rockies was deafening. If this team gets this excited about ping pong, just wait until they face an opposing team at Coors Field in 2018.