The Colorado Rockies will reportedly have Brendan Rodgers on the big league roster when they face the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. This is a debut that we have looked forward to for a while now.
It is also a debut happening under unique circumstances. The team’s plan for him isn’t clear and will likely be cause for debate in the days to come. Let’s look at some of the questions about Rodgers’s arrival.
Will he start?
Former manager Jim Tracy used to start prospects from the moment they arrived with the Rockies. They’re here to play and show us what they can do, or so the thinking went. I’m not sure that should apply to each and every call-up, but I do think it should apply to Rodgers.
He should get a chance to start and make the big impact that we think he could provide. Whether there’s an obvious path to starting him will depend on the corresponding move. If Trevor Story goes to the IL then the decision is easy. If not? Apologies to Ryan McMahon, but Rodgers needs to start at second base then.
Besides giving him a chance to make an impact, it makes more sense for his continued development for him to have regular at-bats.
What about McMahon?
Like his young teammates, McMahon has been put in a position where he has to prove himself and force the team’s hand with inconsistent playing time. That’s a tough spot. Unfortunately for McMahon, he might be the odd man out in favor of Rodgers.
It’s not as if he would just strictly become a bench player. McMahon will continue to benefit from being able to plug in multiple spots to get work when other guys need a rest. And he might get that chance right away, depending on what is going on with Daniel Murphy’s finger.
This is a tough one, but ultimately I think it makes more sense for McMahon to sit behind Rodgers than the other way around if that’s the choice the Rockies are left with.
What about Garrett Hampson?
We might not see Hampson for a while, and if we do it will likely be as a reserve – that might be a great fit for his speed and versatility. But between his struggles this season and the crowded competition for playing time, he might see some extended playing time in Albuquerque.
Hampson will still play a role. He was the PuRP no. 4 this year, after all. But with him and McMahon, this is where we return to that upside word. Rodgers has the potential to impact the Rockies in a way that sets him apart from McMahon and Hampson. He should get that chance now that he’s been called up.
Will Rodgers be up for the rest of the season?
There are a few ways this could go. The worst case scenario is that he’s being called up as an injury replacement and won’t be used as a regular starter. He would share playing time and come off the bench, and then return to Triple-A after getting a taste of the big leagues.
This would be a bummer, but given the team’s treatment of McMahon and Raimel Tapia, we should know better than to rule it out.
If the Rockies do use Rodgers as a regular starter, whether out of necessity with an injury or by choice, it will depend on the results. If he flashes enough of the promise that has made him the top prospect in the organization for the last few years, he could be up for good. But if he looks totally overmatched, the team would be right to send him down for more work in the minor leagues.
So what would success look like for Rodgers in this stint? Expectations tend to run wild for top prospects. It’s not fair to think he should be a star right away. The Rockies are probably looking for him to keep his strikeouts under control and show improved pitch recognition, something Bud Black talked about after Spring Training.
Brendan Rodgers can have an impact this season. The Rockies aren’t asking him to save their season. They’re either asking him to fill in for an injured started, provide some extra punch to a team that’s still lingering around .500, or maybe some combination of those two things. Whatever the case, they should give him the chance to play and show what he can do.