Welcome to the 2023 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2023. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 29, Brendan Rodgers: 0.0 rWAR
The 2022 season was a breakout campaign for the Colorado Rockies 2B Brendan Rodgers. The former third-overall pick in the 2015 draft played a career-high 136 games with 46 extra-base hits, 63 RBI and 215 TB while taking home a Gold Glove for his defense at second base.
It was a delayed start on Rodgers beginning to fulfill his potential as a cornerstone piece for the Rockies, an expectation that had been placed on him ever since he joined the organization. Entering Spring Training for the 2023 season, all indications were Rodgers was ready to continue his upwards-trajectory.
That lasted about a week.
“This was a pretty classic thing, the shoulder joint popped out on him, and they put it back in,” said #Rockies manager Bud Black.— Patrick Lyons (@PatrickDLyons) March 1, 2023
Brendan Rodgers was helped by trainer and rehab coordinator Scott Murayama. The full extent of the injury will be better known in the next few days. pic.twitter.com/7DhW43I82k
Diving for a ground ball in the first official game of the Colorado’s Cactus League season, Rodgers dislocated his left shoulder – tearing his labrum in the process. It was a devastating blow for Rodgers and the second shoulder injury for him in three seasons. He underwent surgery on March 7 with an initial diagnosis of it being a season-ending injury.
The 26-year-old Rodgers progressed quickly, however. He was able to get ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation from the outset and was able to begin his minor league rehab assignment on July 18 – just over five months after his surgery.
He amassed 38 plate appearances in 10 games between the High-A Spokane Indians and Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes before making his season debut on July 31 at home against the San Diego Padres.
He collected at least one hit in four of his first five games, but that momentum did not carry through his first month back in action. In his first 100 plate appearances, Rodgers carried a .207/.270/.283 line with no home runs and a wRC+ of just 37.
Expectations were low for Brendan considering the severity of his injury and quick return to the field. However, questions still remain if Rodgers could start finding his groove at the plate at all before the end of the year. Fortunately, he answered those concerns with a strong final month.
In his final 92 plate appearances, Rodgers posted a .314/.359/.500 line with eight extra-base hits and a 118 wRC+. He cut his strikeout-rate nearly in half from his previous 100 PA – down to 14.1% – and spiked his wOBA over 100 points to a healthy .369.
It was an encouraging finish for Brendan in what was otherwise a dismal season for him and the Rockies, overall. But the larger point remains that Rodgers has struggled to stay on the field as a big leaguer, averaging just 63.5 games-per-year in his five MLB seasons.
Entering his second arbitration-eligible season, Rodgers is slated to hit free agency after the 2025 season, giving the Rockies just two more seasons of control remaining. Whether Colorado will be able to get the most out of his talents during his time or the organization – or possibly choose to trade him and remaining years of control – is still one of the largest mysteries surrounding the organization.