Greetings and welcome to the 2020 Spring Training season! The Colorado Rockies completed their first workout of the spring, featuring just pitchers and catchers of course, no reason to be alarmed that Nolan Arenado is working out down the street why do you ask it’s not a big deal move along nothing to see here.
Anyway, if you make it through these news pieces we’ll reward your perseverance with some sweet sweet video from those workouts. I don’t know about you, but it’s the perfect amuse bouche for actual fake games next week.
Tony Wolters took an ‘L’ in a cold arbitration hearing, but his focus for the Rockies is happily defensive | The Athletic ($)
Arbitration can be an ugly process. It’s a system that allows players to gradually make more money until they reach free agency but it relies on team and player to reach an agreement on what that salary should be. When they can’t agree, the case goes before an arbitrator who rules on one side or the other. It’s not hard to imagine things getting acrimonious when two sides with diametrically opposed interests are forced to come to a resolution.
Tony Wolters and the Rockies went to trial this year, the first time in five years the Rockies had an arbitration trial. The judge sided with the Rockies’ valuation of Wolters. To his credit, he’s saying all the right things about professionalism and learning from the process. But I’m sure it wasn’t all lollipops and candy canes for Tony.
Cue the general, human interest spring training stories. Thomas Harding kicks it off with former first round pick Ryan Rolison and the hopes he has for making the majors this year. It’s not unheard of, considering he was drafted out of Ole Miss in 2018 and Jon Gray and Kyle Freeland were similarly fast-tracked to the majors. The MLB Pipeline no. 2 Rockies prospect (where will he finish in our PuRPs ranking? We’ll find out in the next four days!) had 131 innings last year across Low-A Asheville and High-A Lancaster so he’s likely going to be capped around 155 innings this year. He better blow through Hartford and AAABQ in order to justify pushing him to the majors.
Like most of the Rockies, Antonio Senzatela’s 2019 season wasn’t quite what he wanted. But one thing the poor results allowed him to do was experiment. The knock on Senza’s repertoire has always been that his two-pitch mix seemed better suited to the bullpen, so in September he started using his curveball more. He found some success with the pitch, but it remains to be seen if those results are something that could be carried into 2020.
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Here’s your reward: some videos of pitchers throwing to catchers, in case you thought “first workout with pitchers and catchers” could mean literally anything else.
First, it’s Rockies great Ubaldo Jimenez, who, the last time he was throwing baseballs off mounds at Salt River Fields, was trying to start a brawl. Water under the bridge—he’s really here!
That really is Ubaldo Jimenez... pic.twitter.com/iE1j5RY8ft— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) February 13, 2020
A couple weeks ago we noted that Kyle Freeland had dropped the so-called Flamingo Pause from his delivery. Here’s what it looks like in slo-mo:
Kyle Freeland and his new delivery, in slo-mo study... pic.twitter.com/Js9d5eDSMX— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) February 12, 2020
What is Spring Training without some edge of the roster intrigue? First, Thomas Harding points us to waiver pickup Tyler Kinley (who says the Rockies were inactive this offseason?):
And finally, some prospect news. Could this be the year Ryan Castellani reaches the show? Could be! Could NRI Tim Collins be a factor with his high strikeout rates? Maybe! Anyway, here they are pitching baseballs in the Arizona sunshine:
I can almost smell the fresh cut grass, now. Get here faster, baseball. You’re our only hope.