FanPost

26 tickets to 2020 Opening Day

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Elsewhere on the internet I have seen blogs that try to predict the composition of a roster a ways out from the season or competition. Here is one about Michigan football. Here is another about the USMNT. I have stolen the idea because I no longer like thinking about the 2019 Rockies and would like to begin thinking about 2020.

For the purposes of this exercise, I'm only including players who have contracts with the Rockies organization for the 2020 season. I can only do so much rosterbating, plus I think this is more instructive as to where the Rockies actually stand heading into next year. Players are listed in order of certitude in making the 2020 Opening Day roster.

TIER ONE: THE CORE

1. Nolan Arenado

($35M in 2020, owed $234M through 2026, 2021 opt-out)

Hasn’t quite reached his MVP-level performance from the last two years this year, but he's still that dude.


2. Trevor Story

(second year arb-eligible, FA after 2021 season)

An elite shortstop. Every bit as good as he was last year at the plate, and getting better defensively. By this time next year, he may have surpassed Nolan as the team’s best player.


3. German Marquez

($4.8M in 2020, owed $44.2M through 2023, $16M team option 2024 ($2.5M buyout))

4. Jon Gray

(second year arb-eligible, FA after 2021 season)

A 1-2 punch that holds up well against most others in the game. Would like to see a 30+ start season and fewer walks from Gray, and Marquez held his gains rather than making a great leap forward this season, but this is a great place to start building a rotation.


5. Charlie Blackmon

($21M in 2020, owed $42M through 2021, $21M player option 2022, $10M player option 2023)

Still a great hitter, and his defensive deficiencies are better hidden in right field. He’s just about good value for the money he’s making which could make him a trade target, but I have a hard time believing the Rockies would trade him, for reasons both good and bad.


TIER TWO: CORE PIECES WITH INJURY CONCERNS


6. David Dahl

(first year arb-eligible, FA after 2023 season)

The hope was, if he stayed healthy, he could be an All-Star. He did, for a while anyway, and he was. Still some room to grow as a hitter, but write him in the lineup and cross your fingers, knowing that he’s gonna be good while he’s on the field.


7. Scott Oberg

(second year arb-eligible, FA after 2021 season)

Head and shoulders the Rockies’ best reliever, but blood clots are scary. Hopefully Scotty O gets good news and recovers from his operation and can return to the bullpen next season with no lingering effects.


TIER THREE: BEST SUPPORTING CAST


8. Ryan McMahon

(third year pre-arb)

Steadily getting better, both at the plate and on the field. He hits lefties, he hits spin, and the power is starting to flash too. If I had to bet on ‘the next Rockie to make his first All-Star Game’, it might be him.


9. Kyle Freeland

(first year arb-eligible, FA after 2022 season)

We don’t know what he is yet, do we? From rookie growing pains to 4th in the Cy Young to… whatever the hell this season was, Freeland is either a tweak or two away from a frontline pitcher or a shelling or two away from Albuquerque. My glass is half-full and I expect Freeland settles into being an acceptable mid-rotation arm even if he never hits those 2018 heights again.


10. Carlos Estevez

(first year arb-eligible, FA after 2022 season)

11. Jairo Diaz

(second year pre-arb)

Put these guys in whatever order you like, but after Oberg they’re the most reliable relief pieces in the current bullpen, and if they do a better job keeping the ball in the park moving forward they both have the weapons to be really good.


12. Tony Wolters

(second year arb-eligible, FA after 2022 season)

A fine defensive catcher, and improved his offense enough to justify his place in the bigs. Maybe he’s just a backup on a really good team, but I think he’s figured out enough at the plate that he can start for this one.


TIER FOUR: EXPENSIVE LEMONS


deep sigh


13. Ian Desmond

($15M in 2020, owed $25M through 2021, $15M team option 2022 ($2M buyout))

Hammers lefties. Really, he does. Also seems to really like playing in May and June. But he’s strictly a left fielder at this point. A one-position guy who’s a short-side platoon option at best is useless on a 25-man roster. But in 2020 and beyond, it’s a 26-man roster. And that extra roster spot makes it ever-so-slightly more justifiable to carry a player with Desmond’s skill set. He’s a very expensive luxury item, like a toilet plunger with a marble handle or a gold-plated toothbrush holder.


deeper sigh


14. Bryan Shaw

($9M in 2020, owed $18M through 2021)

15. Jake McGee

($9.5M in 2020, owed $11.5M through 2020, $9M team option 2021 which conditionally vests ($2M buyout)

16. Wade Davis

($17M in 2020, owed $18M through 2020, $15M mutual option 2021 which could become player option ($1M buyout))

I’ve got the Shaw option for 2021 vesting already because it’s going to. (Quick aside about that here: if the Rockies blatantly yanked with Shaw’s option at this point, Shaw would notice, and so would his agent, and so would the MLBPA, and you could forget ever convincing another player to sign an incentive-laden contract in Denver ever again.) He’s either fine or horrendously bad with no in-between. McGee just can’t stop giving up home runs, and he can’t really get lefties out, and you can’t bring him in mid-inning to strand runners, and he hasn’t thrown 98 mph in two years, but other than that he’s having a great season and we’re thrilled to have him. I love Davis and I will always love him for kicking all the ass he kicked in September of 2018, but he’s lost the knuckle-curve this year and if he ain’t got that and the 96-98 mph he used to have behind it, he ain’t got nothin’. Davis might be the most likely of the three to move as maybe somebody wants to bite on him recapturing recent form, but more likely, the Rockies are stuck with all of them.


17. Daniel Murphy

($8M in 2020, owed $14M through 2020, $12M mutual option 2021 ($6M buyout))

I really thought he could win a batting title, but he just hasn’t hit the ball with any authority, and even if you’re really generous and figure that his finger injury sapped a little pop from him, he’s a wreck defensively and just doesn’t provide much value unless he’s gonna hit .320 with that power restored. We can only hope. Probably the most tradable guy in this section if an AL team needs a lefty DH and the Rockies pay down some of that $14 million.


TIER FIVE: UPGRADES AVAILABLE


18. Raimel Tapia

(third year pre-arb)

He’s a fun player having a strong, BABIP-fueled second half, and Statcast likes his defense a lot better than I would have expected. But the modern game of baseball is so power-oriented that I’m not sure you can carry Tapia as a starting OF even if he were hitting well over .300. He’s a fine fourth outfielder, and not more than that.


19. Garrett Hampson

(second year pre-arb)

Things have gotten a little better for him at the plate, and his speed, defense and batting eye should make him a fine utility option, especially given his ability to handle the outfield.


20. Dom Nunez

(first year pre-arb)

Extremely early returns both at the plate and behind it have been promising. Best case, he’s a version of Tony Wolters with similar OBP and a higher SLG but lower AVG. That player would be a starter in this league, and I’m guessing the Rockies will ride with the Wolters-Nunez tandem into 2020.


21. Ben Bowden

(first year pre-arb)

The bullpen is dying for a lefty, and Bowden should make his big league bow in September. It’s been a struggle for him at AAA but it’s been a struggle for everybody there. He’s maintained the K numbers, so I think he’ll do just fine in The Show.


TIER SIX: THE OUT-OF-OPTIONS CREW


22. Tyler Anderson

(second year pre-arb)

If he’s healthy, he’s really good. He just hasn’t been healthy - 2019 was a wash and I’m wondering if he wasn’t pitching through that knee issue during his rough second half in 2018, too. We have no idea how he’ll come back from surgery but the upside here is a good #4 starter and another lefty option the Rockies could really use.


23. Jeff Hoffman

(third year pre-arb)

24. Antonio Senzatela

(third year pre-arb)

I still think these arms are too good to give up on. Both have the profile of being guys who should excel in the bullpen but haven’t. Right now, it’s these two guys, Anderson and Peter Lambert in the competition to be the final two starters, with the losers headed to relief, AAA, or DFA. I think they’ll try and squeeze whatever they can out of Hoffman and Senzatela and hope at least one of them figures it out.


TIER SEVEN: BENCH POP


25. Roberto Ramos

(first year pre-arb)

The Rockies need bop, and a real-live backup 1B option, and Ramos has hit 26 homers at AAA. It might be more likely - it would certainly be more ‘Rockies’ - that this roster spot goes to Yonder Alonso on a cheap one-year deal, but again, for the purposes of this, we’re going with guys who are in the organization at the conclusion of this season.


TIER EIGHT: LITERALLY PAT VALAIKA


26. Pat Valaika

(first year arb eligible, FA after 2023 season)

deepest sigh ever recorded in human history


TIER NINE: NEXT MEN UP


27. Brendan Rodgers - Play him every single day at AAA and he’ll be ready when the Rockies need him.

28. Yency Almonte - Out of options, so he’s in the mix to earn that last relief spot over Hoffman or Senzatela.

29. Peter Lambert - More seasoning will do him good and he could very well show enough down the stretch to win a rotation spot for 2020 outright.

30. Jesus Tinoco - They’ll rename the stretch of I-25 between Albuquerque and Denver after him.

31. Sam Hilliard - Either he gets a serious look from the Rox in an OF corner in 2020 or he’s a Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 2021.

32. Yonathan Daza - Speed and defense are MLB-quality but the bat hasn’t appeared to be.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).