SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With their season opening Friday afternoon at Coors Field against the Dodgers, the Rockies have a workable lineup and they feel confident in their starting pitching staff. Here is the official look at the Rockies' Opening Day roster.
(Note: Colorado is carrying 14 pitchers to begin the year due to rule changes allowing a 28-man roster in April. On May 2, the roster goes back to 26 with a limit of 13 pitchers.)
Manager Bud Black has noted that Daza has the best combination of defensive tools -- range, speed, arm, etc. -- of any Rockies outfielder. Those can win the team a game. Hilliard, Hampson and Daza can play all three outfield positions.
The additions of Bryant and Grichuk and the plan to use Joe as a regular address a major problem last season -- a lack of home runs from the outfielders. Power helps, whether in slugfests at home or with unavoidable declines in batting average and on-base percentage on the road.
Rodgers produced consistently in the final four months of last season, and McMahon has a history of power streaks. Simple consistency could make both offensive forces. Hilliard and Hampson have had some streaks that have earned them playing time, but have also had their struggles. A deeper roster makes both have to earn playing time, and may bring out the best in each.
The Rockies are also quite right-handed. Hilliard, with his power potential, could help even out the lineup, but he must make more consistent contact than in his previous Major League opportunities.
How much offensive impact can the prospect depth have if called upon early in the season? First baseman/third baseman Elehuris Montero (the Rockies’ No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline), and Michael Toglia (No. 8) provide power but will need time in Triple-A. Ryan Vilade (No. 9) and Colton Welker (No. 23) made debuts last year and have hit for average but not power thus far.
Márquez, Freeland and Senzatela are still effective, still hungry holdovers from the postseason teams, and Gomber was especially strong at home last year. Kuhl expects his sinker to be effective at Coors. Colomé, Estévez, Bard and Kinley bring power at the end of the game.
Beyond Blach, who was treated as a starter for most of the spring and can make a spot-start if necessary, rotation depth is frighteningly lacking. LHP Ryan Rolison, the club’s No. 5 prospect, will benefit from working with Albuquerque pitching coach Frank Gonzales (a lefty, himself, who helped develop his son, Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales), but that will take time. Expect the Rockies to seek a rebound veteran to stash at Albuquerque.
Colomé, Estévez and Bard all closed games last year. But they all also struggled at times. Theoretically, they can always have someone to go to if one struggles, but that’s a tough balance. Gilbreath (who is opening the season on the COVID-19 IL) saw increasingly higher leverage last season as a rookie and did well. Could the Rockies seek a veteran lefty at some point to pair with him, or will Kinley continue his strong right-on-left work (.194 average against)?