The 2024 season is shaping up to be another rebuilding year for the Colorado Rockies – even if they aren’t willing to use that particular word to describe it. Much of the second-half of the previous campaign was dedicated to giving more playing time to the organization’s prospects and letting them gain valuable experience.
There should be more of that approach this year, with a few prospects reaching the upper levels of the minors and possibly playing their way into the majors this year. That said, there are also important narratives surrounding veterans on the roster that are worth keeping an eye on this season as the organization looks towards its next window of contention.
Those two perspectives overlap the most at one position in particular: second base.
On the big-league side, Brendan Rodgers is still the enigma that he has been during most of his career in Colorado. Although he has found some stability in the majors with his performance – including a Gold Glove award in 2022 – injuries have still been a major determinant in his development.
Following his strong 2022 performance, the table was set to take another step forward last year. But a dislocated shoulder suffered early in Spring Training sidelined the talented 2B, leading to the second shoulder surgery in his young career. Although he did return for 46 games late in the season, the injury virtually wiped out his 2023 season and served as another frustrating point for the former third-overall selection of the 2015 draft.
The recovery process clearly affected his production at the plate as Rodgers posted a line of just .218/.274/.295 in his first month back in MLB action. 20 games is clearly a small sample size in any context – and Rodgers did rebound in his final month to a much healthier .803 OPS – but it also points to the underwhelming MLB numbers that he’s produced to this point in his career.
In almost 1,300 MLB at-bats Brendan has posted a .265/.317/.410 line, resulting in an OPS + of 89. While not atrocious figures, they are certainly not what many expected him to produce five years into his big league career.
Rodgers still has the upside to become the All Star hitter that many projected him to be as a prospect, but time is possibly running out for him to prove that in a Rockies’ uniform. Set to hit free agency after the 2026 season, Colorado has just two more seasons of club control remaining with the former first round pick.
While an extension could be possible, there is also another factor at play with the emergence of Adael Amador in the farm system. Amador has shot to the top of Colorado’s organization rankings and is generally viewed as a consensus top-25 prospect in most publications – often in the top 10 of baseball.
With his polished plate-approach, advanced contact skills and power potential, Amador checks all the boxes of a future big-league starter. The switch hitter was able to reach Double-A in 2023 at the young age of 20 – almost four years younger than the average for the level.
Injuries sidelined Amador for a significant portion of last year, limiting him to 69 total games between three levels. But, with Ezequiel Tovar fixed at SS for the foreseeable future, Amador certainly seems destined to take over 2B job for the Rockies after Rodgers.
Could that be this year? It’s likely farfetched, but possible.
This is why the position is so fascinating heading into 2024. The possibility of Amador continuing to rise is noteworthy on its own and could become the biggest story of the season if he pushes his way to the majors – much like Tovar did in 2021.
However, Amador’s future home is occupied by another player the Colorado organization has pinned high hopes on in Rodgers — a player which there is still time for him to fulfill his potential.
If both take major steps forward this season, the Rockies could be in a unique position to sell-high on Rodgers and his year-and-a-half of remaining control at the trade deadline to help fill holes throughout the organization while also paving the way for Amador to take over next to Tovar up the middle.
Maybe it will prove to be wishful thinking, but it’s a potential scenario that is worth watching to see if it will develop.
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