Blackmon, Brothers lead rookies to watch this spring
The Colorado Rockies have only one rookie — left-handed reliever— nearly guaranteed a roster spot this spring. But a number of other rookies could force their way onto the Opening Day roster or be key contributors this season. A few to watch this spring:
, outfielder: The Rockies’ second-round pick in 2008 is likely to start the season at Triple-A, but he will get a long look in spring training after a solid 2010 at Double-A and a good Arizona Fall League. Has some speed and pop. His defense fits better in left in the majors, but he could also play center.
, left-handed pitcher: With Brothers closing in on the majors, the Rockies didn’t go after a left-handed reliever in the offseason and extended a non-roster invitation to their 2009 supplemental first-rounder. A good candidate to make his major-league debut at some point this season and a disappointing spring by could force a quick change in plans.
, left-handed pitcher: After a disappointing and injury-plagued 2010, the 2008 first-rounder hopes to return to the fast track and make his major-league debut at some point in 2011 to put him in line to compete for a regular spot in the rotation in 2012. Also a non-roster invitee.
, infielder: Will be in the mix for the starting job at second base and could also win a utility role, but he’s most likely to open the season at Triple-A if he doesn’t win a regular job. A potential late-bloomer, the 2004 first-rounder could surprise this spring.
, right-handed pitcher: After struggling to find consistency last season on his way back from Tommy John surgery, the Rockies hope their 2007 first-round pick makes progress this season. Where he starts the season will likely depend on how good a spring he has.
, catcher: His ability to play some infield — he was drafted as a second baseman and played some first base in the Arizona Fall League — could put him in a position to surprise this spring and claim a utility role. He’s likely to open the season at Double-A, but is one of the better candidates to force a change in the Rockies’ plans.
, catcher: Whether he starts the season in Triple-A or in extended spring training could determine whether he makes his major-league debut this season. The Rockies’ top position player prospect has lived up to challenges throughout his minor-league career and the Rockies hope he does so again and picks up where he left off last summer.
, right-handed pitcher: Converted to the bullpen last season where his arsenal profiles better than it did as a starter. Likely to start the season at Triple-A, but could be one of the first in line for a recall with a strong spring.
, right-handed pitcher: Made his major-league debut last season with five appearances for the Rockies. Got a small vote of confidence when the Rockies kept him and elected to designate for assignment to make room for Clay Mortenson.Will be in the mix for one of the last bullpen spots this spring.
Adam Jorgenson, right-handed pitcher: Reached Double-A last year and had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Received a non-roster invitation to spring training.
, catcher: After making his major-league debut last September he will be in the mix for he backup catching job behind Iannetta. With Rosario and Pacheco coming up behind him, McKenry needs a big spring to define his role.
, outfielder: A candidate for the final spot off the bench as a fifth outfielder. Whether he wins it will depend on his spring and how the Rockies plan to use .
Thomas Field, infielder/, first base/ , outfielder: Three players expected to move from high Class-A Modesto to Double-A Tulsa this year received non-roster invitations. The Rockies need solid position player prospects in the upper levels of the system and strong springs against major-leaguers from these three would be a boost.