With his roster spot on the line—and possibly his career with the Rockies—Tom Murphy has come out swinging this spring. In nine games (16 at bats) entering Saturday, Tom is slashing a robust .313/.389/.750 with two home runs, one double, and five RBI. He is also out of options, so it’s the 25-man roster or bust for Murphy, and he doesn’t plan on giving up.
Speaking to Patrick Saunders of The Post, Murphy said, “I’m just trying to be as calm and relaxed in the box as I possibly can be... I want to cut down on my strikeouts, (have) more quality at-bats. As long as I do that, I’m going to be in a good place.” Hitting the ball has always been Tom’s strength, and in the article Bud Black compliments his defense, too. If Murphy is putting it all together, he easily has the most upside of any Rockies catcher.
The Rockies find themselves in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to their roster decisions for the catcher position. Yes, Murphy could earn a spot as the back-up to Chris Iannetta, but that means they’d have to option Tony Wolters to Triple-A. Many of you would find that ideal, I know, but Tony has worked wonders with this young pitching staff and is trusted by Bud Black, which gives him a big leg up. Murphy could find himself on the trading block soon, but regardless, his strong spring is making him as valuable as ever.
Brendan Rodgers is putting together a nice little spring, himself. He’s getting ample opportunity to prove himself (24 AB in 13 games), and is slashing .250/.351/.292 entering Saturday. Maybe most impressive is he has only one strikeout so far and showing better plate discipline, which has been a knock against him in the past. Yes, Rodgers will find himself on the Opening Day roster bubble, but it’s not his fault he likely won’t make it.
As Aaron Hurt explains, Rodgers has quite a hill to climb to make this team mostly due to the fact that his competition is absolutely tearing it up. Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and Pat Valaika are hitting a combined .368 this spring with nine home runs and 20 RBI. They are seeing beach balls at the plate, but Hurt argues that their success is a blessing in disguise for Brendan.
Rodgers could use some minor league seasoning to return to his dominant self. Plus, he has only played 58 games at second base in his pro career. If he wants to fill DJ’s shoes in the infield, he’ll need more defensive reps to fine tune his game, too. Rodgers ended last year injured and in a funk (hitting only .232/.264/.290 in 19 games for Triple-A Albuquerque), so the opportunity to tear up minor league pitching should help him regain his confidence.
On the mound, Carlos Estevez finds himself in a position much like Tom Murphy—showing glimpses of the dominant player we know he can be, and out of options. Carlos will need to make the cut for the Opening Day roster if he wants to continue playing for the Rockies, and is also performing like he knows it’s his last chance. So far this spring, Carlos has a 2.45 ERA in 3.2 innings, 6 K’s to 3 BB’s, and has touch 98 mph with his dancing fastball.
For these reasons, Kevin Henry thinks Estevez could find himself on the roster when the regular season begins. His stuff is too good to give up on, especially when it’s performing this well. The only question then is, who is the odd man out in the bullpen?
According to Thomas Harding, if Mike Dunn has anything to say about it, it’s not going to be him left in the dust. Mike has put together as good of a spring training as any 34-year-old lefty veteran reliever could hope for, pitching three innings so far, giving up only one hit, no walks, and striking out four. Dunn was a question mark after his disastrous, injury-plagued 2018, but is now pain-free and excited to be on the mound again.
In all likelihood, not only will Dunn be on the mound more often, but it will be in high leverage situations due to Jake McGee’s ineffectiveness and Mike’s rediscovered success. He’ll need to keep it up in 2019 and stay healthy if this bullpen hopes to be productive.
In possibly the best season preview for the Rockies I’ve read so far, 7th grader and MLB (and NHL) expert Carter LaCorte (@CarterHudBlog) breaks down this club’s roster, position by position, and offers his thoughts on the direction of the team and their playoff chances.
Seriously, though, it’s a very in-depth look at the Rockies entering the 2019 season. Carter gives insightful commentary on a number of hot topics (the ace of the rotation, the second base job, and the ever-improving competition for the NL Wild Card, among others), and writes in an entertaining and informed voice. His entire blog is an awesome accomplishment, especially for a 7th grader, and you should go check it out immediately!
Yesterday evening, the Rockies played the Diamondbacks in Monterrey, Mexico to kick off this year’s Mexico Series. The Rockies won, thanks in large part to Roberto Ramos (who is a native of Mexico), but more importantly, hundreds of children got the opportunity to meet players from the Rockies and D-backs and play the game of baseball with them.
In this article, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com talks about the Play Ball event, how the game is growing more popular in Mexico, and what it means to the Mexican people to share the experience. Frankly, we’re lucky to have a franchise like the Rockies who are committed to diversity and expanding its community with others.
Jim Bowden grades all of the NL West’s offseasons here, but it kind of resembles a teacher who is handing out grades like he’s ready to go on spring break himself. There’s some B’s and some C’s and that’s it, but maybe it’s just simply been that mediocre of an offseason. The Rockies pulled a B- due to their “goals” being 1) Offense, 2) Offense, and 3) Offense, but having a quiet offseason that saw only Daniel Murphy get added to the lineup. Mark Reynolds might end up being a great, cheap addition to the bench, but only time will tell.