Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Inbox: Will Rockies recall prospect for boost?

Beat reporter Thomas Harding answers fans' questions
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Rockies fans fear that their first-place team will end up nowhere fast if they don't improve the offense.

Three sub-.200 hitters are frequently starting, former National League batting champion DJ LeMahieu is injured, Charlie Blackmon (.195 batting average in the last 11 games) is in a slump and Nolan Arenado (1-for-10 in three games in Los Angeles) is in a mini-slump.

DENVER -- Rockies fans fear that their first-place team will end up nowhere fast if they don't improve the offense.

Three sub-.200 hitters are frequently starting, former National League batting champion DJ LeMahieu is injured, Charlie Blackmon (.195 batting average in the last 11 games) is in a slump and Nolan Arenado (1-for-10 in three games in Los Angeles) is in a mini-slump.

:: Submit a question to the Rockies Inbox ::

That is what people want to know about most in today's Inbox.

Tweet from @caseymurphy11: With DJ out and everyone who replaces him hitting below the Mendoza line, will Brendan Rodgers be brought up sooner-ish?

Right question, possibly about the wrong guy.

The Rockies promoted infielder Garrett Hampson (the team's No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline) from Double-A Hartford to Triple-A Albuquerque recently. After going 1-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and three RBIs in Thursday's 16-11 loss to Salt Lake City, Hampson is hitting .233 with a .368 on-base percentage and three stolen bases. He hit .304 with a .391 OBP and 19 steals in 38 games at Double-A.

LeMahieu's absence leaves a hole toward the top of the order, and Hampson has hit leadoff. Another factor in looking at the 23-year-old: he was a three-year collegiate player at Long Beach State (selected in the third round of the 2016 Draft) who displayed a high comfort and maturity level in Spring Training.

Video: Top Prospects: Garrett Hampson, 2B, Rockies

Rodgers (the club's No. 1 prospect) looks to be a strong player. He's hitting .291 with a .355 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and a .545 slugging percentage. But Rodgers is 21 years old, and Hampson is a better fit for the upper part of the order and already in Triple-A, so I suspect Hampson is at the front of the line.

A lot depends on how much time LeMahieu will miss. He hasn't played since May 13, and although he has started fielding drills, he has yet to swing a bat. It's not clear if he'll need a Minor League rehab assignment.

Tweet from @Grant56260261: Will the Rockies do anything to improve their offense which was been inconsistent since June of last year

To me, this is a test for general manager Jeff Bridich. Last year, he made moves at the non-waiver Trade Deadline to improve the bullpen, but he and the organization must determine what moves to make and when.

What's being exposed is a lack of offensive depth, which is a product of counting on young players for the bench, and some of those reserves have had to start more because of injuries and other absences.

This early, I am not hearing that they are in search of trades, but I'm told that could change. The Rockies guard information closely and actively try to keep themselves out of the trade-rumor mill.

Tweet from @wisdom_studios: Why is Ryan McMahon in the minors

MLB.com's Matthew Leach recently discussed the possibility of bringing McMahon up. McMahon made the Opening Day roster, but he was sent down quickly to get regular at-bats and to adjust some swing weaknesses that were being taken advantage of in the big leagues.

On Thursday, McMahon went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and an RBI for Triple-A Albuquerque, and he is 8-for-19 with two doubles and a triple in his last five games. What I don't know in his case, or with the aforementioned Hampson and Rodgers, is the quality of at-bats and exactly what type of pitching he is seeing.

Tweet from @WynHere: Is Freeland the #1 SP on this team?

Chad Bettis is the best on the staff at making in-game adjustments, and I lean that way. However, Kyle Freeland is on a roll with six straight quality starts, and his 1.40 home ERA offers a good argument.

A key will be consistency out of the staff during the upcoming nine-game homestand, which starts with Jon Gray facing the Reds on Friday night. Major League observers like the talent of the staff and point to extenuating circumstances -- such as an MLB-low 18 home games and multiple games in bitter weather -- but they have a 5.65 home ERA.

German Marquez (0-3, 10.34 ERA), Bettis (0-0, 6.89) and Gray (2-3, 6.04) have all struggled at home, with Tyler Anderson (1-1, 4.24) also battling playing in a pitchers' park.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies