Top prospect Rodgers reassigned to Minors

Blackmon, Rusin win ping pong title; Black taking good look at three hitters

March 20th, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- ' first Spring Training in big league camp came to an end Tuesday morning.

The Rockies' top prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, was reassigned to Minor League camp along with second baseman , the team's No. 7 prospect, and catcher .

Infielder/outfielder , the team's No. 21 prospect, was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque as part of the roster moves that left the Rockies with 39 players still in Major League camp.

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Rodgers, a 21-year-old middle infielder, hit .286 with three home runs and an .842 OPS in 49 Cactus League at-bats.

"My takeaway is that this was a great experience for him, and I can see why he is being talked about outside of our organization and inside our organization," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He has a skillset that I think, hopefully, will play in the big leagues. But I told him there's still room to grow there and there's some things he has to take care of in player development to become the player we think he can become."

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Rodgers hit .336 with 18 homers between Class A Advanced Lancaster and Double-A Hartford last season, his third as a professional after the Rockies made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft.

Black specifically mentioned plate disciple, some fundamentals with his footwork and throwing mechanics as points of emphasis wherever Rodgers begins the season.

Rodgers, also ranked the No. 14 prospect in baseball and the No. 4 shortstop prospect, had been getting a lot of Cactus League experience, as had Hampson, rated the game's No. 7 second-base prospect. Hampson, 23 and a former third-round Draft pick, was hitting .278 with a homer in 36 at-bats and six stolen bases.

Champs of the small, white ball

The roars could be heard well down the hall from the weight room where nearly every Rockies player, coach and staff member gathered Tuesday morning. It was standing room only, and some took to the stairs and second level to get a good view.

In the middle of the room, and Rockies senior director of player development Zach Wilson squared off against Charlie Blackmon and Chris Rusin in the team's annual ping pong tournament championship. Every point elicited hollers of approval or condemnation -- none more so than when Wilson whiffed on a ball at shoulder level during a late rally.

Just a couple points later, though, it was over. Blackmon and Rusin prevailed 21-10, 16-21, 24-22.

"That was fun," said Blackmon, who got a bit contentious with Arenado at one point.

Black, like everyone else in attendance, enjoyed what he witnessed.

"You saw what Charlie and Chris did: teamwork and perseverance and desire," Black said.

Wilson was the defending champ from last year's singles tournament after he beat Vinny Castilla, who is a special assistant to general manager Jeff Bridich, in the final.

Roster battle

Black has said he really wanted to get a good look at outfielders and and corner infielder in the final 10 days of camp as they vie for a possible spot on the 25-man roster.

Dahl went 2-for-3 with a double in Tuesday's 4-4 tie against the Brewers, while McMahon had a pinch-hit double and Tauchman a pinch-hit single.

"A number of guys who are really fighting for a spot on the roster," Black said. "If not, they had a good spring and we know how they played this spring should carry over into their season, wherever they start."

Where were you?

Jake McGee appeared in the Edward Jones Chatting Cage on Tuesday and had a pretty funny answer when asked where he was on June 18 last season when Arenado clobbered a walk-off grand slam to complete his cycle.

"I was in the dugout. I didn't have a very good top half of that inning," McGee answered. "He kind of got me off the hook on that one."

Up next

After an off-day on Wednesday, will take the mound Thursday against the A's at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. Rusin, and also are scheduled to pitch, as well. The game can be followed live using Gameday, with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. MT.