Rockies set initial player pool with 52 players

June 29th, 2020

DENVER -- The Rockies’ player pool for summer camp, which was announced Sunday afternoon, sets up a continuation of spring competition for roster spots, with one notable exception. Their player pool doesn't include right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez, who attempted a comeback in Spring Training after not pitching in the Majors since 2017.

Jiménez, 36, established himself as a top pitcher while with Colorado from 2006-11. This spring, he went 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in three games (two starts) for the Rox.

The Rockies left room for additions. The player pool limit is 60 players, but they announced only 52. Teams can add throughout the season, either from within the organization or through free agency. The pool announced Sunday consists of 39 players from Colorado's 40-man roster and 13 others who were with the team in Spring Training. To be eligible to play in a Major League game, a player will have to be placed on the 40-man roster.

The pool of players who will compete for roster spots -- 30 for the first two weeks of a regular season that’s anticipated to start July 23 or 24, 28 for the following two weeks and 26 for the remainder of the year -- consists of players who were in Spring Training before the March 13 shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Not part of the Rockies' player pool is right-hander Justin Lawrence, who was suspended for 80 games prior to camp for a violation of the MLB Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Some of the players in Colorado's pool are prospects who are unlikely to reach the Majors in 2020, but they'll be given action -- both in camp and in the satellite camp of players who don’t make the regular-season roster -- because of the possibility of there not being a Minor League season. Among those players is left-hander Ryan Rolison, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Players are due to report to Coors Field by Wednesday, with workouts likely to begin Saturday. After the season-opening 30-man roster is set, the remainder of the players will move to another site -- likely Albuquerque, the home of the Rockies' Triple-A club. The club has not announced the opening of camp or the alternate camp site.

Here is a breakdown of the Rockies' player pool:

Left-handed pitchers (7): Ben Bowden, Tim Collins, Phillip Diehl, Kyle Freeland, Jake McGee, James Pazos, Ryan Rolison
Right-handed pitchers (21): Yency Almonte, Daniel Bard, Ryan Castellani, Wade Davis, Jairo Díaz, Carlos Estévez, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Ashton Goudeau, Jon Gray, Alexander Guillen, Joe Harvey, Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Kinley, Peter Lambert, German Márquez, José Mujica, Scott Oberg, Antonio Santos, Antonio Senzatela, Bryan Shaw, Jesus Tinoco

Likely four members of the Rockies' rotation are set: Márquez, Gray, Freeland and Senzatela. Hoffman made strides in his last spring performances after simplifying his pitch mix. The hiatus has allowed Lambert to rehab a right forearm strain that halted his camp. Gonzalez was better later in camp than early.

If spring performances hold, the early expanded roster could give the Rockies an opportunity to make the most of their assets in the bullpen. Hoffman, who is out of options, could be used in relief. Collins, who saw time with the Cubs last year, could add lefty experience. Diehl had a strong early camp. Kinley, Díaz, Estévez and Pazos pitched like solid options for late-game roles. Shaw and McGee will have to find their past form to continue having key roles.

Catchers (5): Drew Butera, Elias Diaz, Dom Nuñez, Chris Rabago, Tony Wolters

Will the Rockies keep three? They signed Butera and Diaz to compete to join Wolters in the tandem. Nuñez debuted last season, but the plan going into this season was to give him development time.

Infielders (13): Nolan Arenado, Bret Boswell, Josh Fuentes, Garrett Hampson, Ryan McMahon, Daniel Murphy, Brian Mundell, Chris Owings, Tyler Nevin, Brendan Rodgers, Eric Stamets, Trevor Story, Alan Trejo

With the designated hitter being used in the National League, there's a possibility the Rockies will use Murphy in the DH role and move McMahon from second base to first. That could open second for Hampson, Owings (who hit .360 during Spring Training) and/or Rodgers, the club's No. 1 prospect. Don't forget Boswell, who hit .417 in spring and could be a factor at some point.

Hampson, Owings and Boswell also can all play in the outfield.

Outfielders (6): Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Yonathan Daza, Ian Desmond, Sam Hilliard, Raimel Tapia

A key competition will be for playing time in the outfield, with Tapia, Hilliard and Daza in the running for time in left field, where they could share time with Desmond. Daza had solid offensive numbers in spring and is arguably the team’s best outfield defender, but Tapia and Hilliard are ahead in terms of possible offensive impact.

The Rockies could get younger bats into the lineup either at DH or by using Blackmon occasionally at DH.