There’s no doubt that the Rockies have some promising young talent in their farm teams. In fact, we’d better have that given the fact that Jeff Bridich hasn’t made many offseason moves. The Rockies have groomed many players within their system, which allows for the depth needed throughout the long season. Kyle Newman at the Denver Post has put together a list of some top prospects for the Rockies. You’ve got Brendan Rodgers and Garrett Hampson as familiar infielders, and there’s also Josh Fuentes, Tyler Nevin, Colton Welker, Ryan Vilade, and Grant Levigne looking to contribute to that dominant infield. The Rockies will have plenty of players ready for the outfield, with the existing players, along with prospects Sam Hilliard and Yonathan Daza adding to the mix. The pitching rotation also has some young talent to keep an eye on. For starters, the prospects include Peter Lambert, Ryan Castellani, Riley Pint, Mike Nikorak, and Ryan Rolison. There are some promising relievers, including DJ Johnson, Justin Lawrence, Jesus Tinoco, Sam Howard, Ben Bowden, Mitch Horacek, Reid Humphreys, and Rayan Gonzalez. 2019 could see some exciting young prospects, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Kyle Freeland wowed Rockies fans last year, becoming a local favorite. He’s gotten some buzz after finishing fourth in Cy Young voting, but he is still remarkably underrated. Much of the focus has been on figuring out a deal with Nolan Arenado, but Freeland will likely be a key contributor in getting to the World Series. Despite his phenomenal numbers, Freeland still gets very little national attention. Given the fact that he plays for the Rockies, this isn’t terribly surprising, but he deserves much more. In 2018, he had a 2.40 ERA at Coors Field, and a 2.85 overall ERA. He was a huge factor in the win against the Cubs in the wild card victory. Rockies fans know how fantastic Freeland is, and 2019 might let the rest of the baseball world find out.
Kevin Henry at Rox Pile speculates about what kind of Opening Day roster the Rockies might see. Daniel Murphy and Mark Reynolds were the moves the Rockies made this offseason, so we could expect to see them both on there. The outfield will probably hold Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, David Dahl, and Raimel Tapia. Ryan McMahon, or possibly Garrett Hampson, will take DJ LeMahieu’s place at second, with Daniel Murphy at first, Trevor Story at shortstop, and Nolan Arenado at third. Tony Wolters and Chris Iannetta will man the plate. Kyle Freeland is likely to gain the starting spot on Opening Day, with German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray, and Chad Bettis rounding out the rotation. The bullpen will likely contain Seunghwan Oh, Scott Oberg, and hopefully a much-improved Bryan Shaw. Mike Dunn, Jake McGee, and Wade Davis will fit in there as well. This seems like a pretty safe bet for Opening Day, but only time will tell.
Charlie Blackmon played his cards right and found himself a deal with the Rockies that allowed him to avoid arbitration. He was also able to avoid the brutally slow free agent market. Blackmon acknowledges that good players are still going to find a place, but he didn’t necessarily want to risk the market. Blackmon hopes that the market won’t continue on this way, but says that players should be ready to face it or make changes for the future.
Lots of folks are keeping an eye on Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this offseason. Both are likely to pick up major contracts. The usual big spenders have shown some interest, but surprisingly, so have the White Sox. Historically, the White Sox have not made major contracts, but they seem pretty confident they’ll sign one of the two. Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs has broken down each team’s big contracts. It’s an interesting look, and we’ll just have to keep waiting to see where Harper and Machado end up.