The 2009 draft was a turning point for the Rockies. This, of course, was the year the Rockies drafted Nolan Arenado, but that was just one big move. Neither of the first-round picks made much of an impact, mostly sticking around the minor leagues. DJ LeMahieu was drafted that year by the Cubs, before coming to Denver and dominating second base. Ben Paulsen was the 90th overall pick, and he had some good moments in the 2015 season. Catcher Dustin Garneau came around a bit later, and then the Rockies eventually worked out a deal with Corey Dickerson. The outfielder played in 265 games with the Rockies before being traded for German Marquez and Jake McGee. Both of these pitchers are counted on to play well in the 2019 season. There were some misses in the 2009 draft, but it set the Rockies on a pretty good course.
With the departure of DJ LeMahieu, there has been a decent amount of speculation around what the Rockies will do at second base. There are a few good young prospects who have the versatility to step in, so it’ll come down to who can prove himself in spring training. Brendan Rodgers is one of these hopefuls, but his youth and lack of experience mean he’ll have to fight that much harder. He’s trying not to get in his head, just playing his best. Rodgers has taken advantage of learning opportunities in the minors, looking to Trevor Story as a mentor. He has to show, though, that he’s ready to play over Pat Valaika, Garrett Hampson, and Ryan McMahon. The Rockies are lucky to have so many promising options, so we’ll have to see who can bring it in spring training.
At this point, it’s mostly official that Ian Desmond will play in center field with Charlie Blackmon in right field. Blackmon struggled a bit defensively out there, and this move could potentially help protect that area. Desmond has a big job, as playing center requires speed and recognition to get good jumps. The concern with Desmond is, and has been his hitting. He’s been a bit below the league average, with an abysmal on-base percentage. An alternative might be putting Raimel Tapia out there and using Desmond in the infield again. Tapia has impressive speed and has the potential to hit well. The Rockies have been working on developing young players, but they have yet to really utilize them. Maybe 2019 will be their time to shine.
After a phenomenal year, Kyle Freeland has become a hometown favorite. He has announced that he will put on the Kyle Freeland Baseball ProCamp. It will take place on July 1 at his alma mater, Thomas Jefferson High School and will be open to boys and girls from grades 1-8.