The Colorado Rockies 2021 roster is beginning to take more shape after the team announced some early roster changes this morning. Perhaps most notable is the assignment of Helcris Olivarez to Tripe-A Albuquerque.
The Rockies announced today that they have optioned RHP Tommy Doyle, INF Elehuris Montero and LHP Helcris Olivarez to Triple-A Albuquerque. The Rockies have also reassigned the following NRIs to Minor League Camp: RHP Julian Fernández, C Max George and RHP Heath Holder.— Rockies Club Information (@RockiesClubInfo) March 12, 2021
Olivarez (No. 10 PuRP) was added to the Rockies’ 40-man roster in 2020 and has received considerable buzz. This year’s spring training was the first opportunity many had to see the twenty-year-old pitch. Olivarez has appeared in three games and earned an ERA of 3.60. He spent 2019 in Grand Junction.
In February, Jeff Aberle wrote: “I suspect he’ll spend 2021 in Low-A with a chance of moving up to High-A by the end of the year. His option years will be ticking, so Colorado should be motivated to move Olivarez aggressively so he doesn’t exhaust those option years before the Rockies figure out if he can get big league hitters out.” This move suggests the Rockies are accelerating his development.
You can see Olivarez in action here:
Tommy Doyle (No. 16 PuRP) will also begin the year in Triple-A after spending 2019 in Lancaster, though he was assigned to the Rockies’ alternate site in 2020. His debut with the Rockies did not go well. He appeared in three games with the Rockies last year, earning an ERA of 23.14.
This 2017, second-round draft pick is, however, a player the Rockies have considerable faith in as shown in this video from his time in Asheville.
The other three will start in minor league camp.
Julian Fernández is a right-handed reliever who last pitched in 2017 for Asheville. Max George went as high as Lancaster in 2019. (He’s also a graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora). Heath Holder started 2019 in Albuquerque before being moved to Hartford.
Given the restructuring of the minor leagues, it’s difficult to be clear about what all this means. As Andrew Baggarly noted in The Athletic, teams aren’t exactly sure how to make cuts this spring. (Rockies pitcher Jack Wynkoop is cited as an example.)
Expect more roster changes in the coming days as teams firm up their rosters to begin the season.