Brendan Rodgers has been the headliner of the Rockies farm system since he was drafted third overall in 2015. He made his debut on May 17, 2019 and has had a bit of an up-and-down career since then, battling injuries along the way. Will this be the year that Rodgers finds some consistency at the major-league level?
Brendan Rodgers is penciled in as the current starter. Since his debut in 2019, Rodgers has slashed just .267/.309/.421 in 134 games, good for a wRC+ of 84. Granted he only played seven games in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, but he’s battled shoulder injuries as well.
Rodgers played just 25 games in 2019 before he had surgery on his right shoulder that ended his season. After rehabbing it, Rodgers battled the injury again in 2020 — playing just seven games and slashing .095/.095/.143 in the COVID-shortened season — and 2021, where he started the season on the 10-day Injured List. In 2021, Rodgers slashed a respectable .284/.328/.470 and finally hit his first major league home run (15 to be exact), good for a wRC+ of exactly 100.
Considering that Rodgers tore through the minors, averaging .298/.354/.504, this could be the year the finally ascends if he’s able to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, second base is a spot where there isn’t a lot of depth should Rodgers struggle or get injured.
The likely backup is Garrett Hampson. Hampson was originally drafted as a middle infielder in 2016, but he’s been spending more and more time in the outfield. However, due to his positional versatility, it is possible that the Rockies will reflexively pencil him into the lineup should Rodgers need a day off. Over the course of his MLB career, Hampson has played 130 games at second and 143 in center field.
Alan Trejo is also an option as a backup second baseman, but he is still young and inexperienced so he’ll likely get less playing time than the more seasoned Hampson. Trejo was drafted in 2017 and made his debut in April 2021 after spending 2019 in Hartford. 2020, of course, was a lost season for minor leaguers but Trejo spent it at the Rockies’ Alternate Site. Prior to his call-up, Trejo slashed .243/.290/.391 for the Yard Goats.
On the farm
The Rockies do have a plethora of middle infielders in their system, but it’s just a matter of which ones stand out. Eddy Diaz (No. 30 PuRP) is the highest-ranked of the bunch, and even his stock has been slowly declining over the past few years. Also, “Fast Eddy” was last seen in Low-A Fresno after struggling mightily in High-A Spokane so he’s likely quite far away.
The nearest trio might be Tim Lopes, Taylor Snyder or LJ Hatch from Albuquerque as a quick stop-gap.
Lopes is a non-roster invite to 2022 spring training. The former sixth-rounder (2012) was signed to a minor league contract by the Rockies in December after spending time in the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Brewers’ systems previously. Lopes does have some MLB experience — 94 games with a slash of .246/.310/.352 — so he might be the first one to get another call.
Snyder was the Rockies’ 2016 13th-round pick (380th overall). Like Hatch, he has slowly worked his way up the system but he has spent a year at each site. He is a career .258/.319/.472 hitter and he hit 12 home runs in 61 games in Albuquerque this past season (18 in 60 games in Hartford prior). If the Rockies want to give another young guy a shot, Snyder might be the one, otherwise Lopes’ MLB experience might edge him out a smidge.
Hatch was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and has slowly worked his way up the Rockies’ system. He seemingly starts every year in a lower level (Boise in 2017, Grand Junction in 2018, Boise again in 2019, and Spokane in 2021) and ends in Albuquerque. He is a career .225/.300/.304 hitter throughout his time in the minors. Given his track record, I don’t think it would be likely that he would get a call-up but you never know!
If disaster strikes
If disaster strikes, the Rockies could plug newly-acquired Kris Bryant at third base and shuffle freshly-extended Ryan McMahon back to second. But things would have to go very wrong for that to happen.