Scott Oberg is scheduled to throw in the Texas exhibition this evening, and the response of his back could determine his Opening Day availability. Oberg has been battling a strained back through summer camp action.
After his 2019 successes, Oberg’s work reasons well for the Rockies’ late-inning presence. Colorado’s schedule features ‘easier’ opponents early in the season, and a hot start could keep the Rockies in contention before they face the Dodgers and Astros for seven consecutive games in late August.
With Oberg’s work in the later innings, a hot start could be more likely.
Given the recent release of Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, the Rockies’ bullpen has recently seen a serious shakeup. Bud Black’s bullpen calls will face interesting provisions on top of Oberg’s ailments.
Black will be using Daniel Bard for his first big league outings in seven years, and it will be interesting to monitor the extent of high-leverage action Bard sees early in the season. Black will call upon Wade Davis as the closer, after Davis posted the highest single-season ERA of his career. Davis has shown well in his limited 2020 work; he didn’t allow a run in three Cactus League appearances (3 1⁄3 total innings) and showed well in Summer Camp action on Sunday.
MLB rosters can hold 30 players at the start of the season, which can allow for additional pitching options. The roster size will reduce to 26 after two weeks.
DNVR’s Drew Creasman outlines the Rockies’ bullpen moving forward. In the words of his colleague Patrick Lyons: “Long live the reign of Carlos Estévez and Jairo Díaz.”
One pitching decision by Bud Black has been set in stone: German Márquez has the ball when the Rockies begin the season Friday night in Texas. It will be the first Opening Day start of Márquez’s career.
Back in February, it was the general consensus by Purple Row writers that either Márquez or Jon Gray would toe the rubber to start the season. Colorado’s Opening Day starter in 2019 was Kyle Freeland; it was Gray in both 2017 and 2018.
Long shots that could pay off: Trevor Story wins NL MVP (50-1)
27-year-old Trevor Story enters the 2020 season at the “age players most often have their best season.” Given the brief schedule in 2020, a hot start will help an MVP candidacy unlike ever before.
A start by Story reminiscent of April 2016 would certainly help his case. Story began his career with April Rookie of the Month honors in 2016, homering twice on Opening Day (off Zack Greinke) and going yard in his first four games.
According to TheScore.com, Mookie Betts (+290), Ronald Acuña Jr. (+550) and Christian Yelich (+700) are the favorites to win the NL MVP. Cody Bellinger is listed sixth (+1200); Nolan Arenado is ninth (+2000) and Story is 19th (+5000).
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