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Here's how Rockies' 2020 roster could look

@harding_at_mlb
November 5, 2019

DENVER -- How will the 2020 Rockies look? The truth is, we have little idea how the 26-man roster, an addition of one spot, will look. But that won't stop us from making a too-early guess. This one may be closer to accurate than the other 29 predictions across MLB.com.

DENVER -- How will the 2020 Rockies look?

The truth is, we have little idea how the 26-man roster, an addition of one spot, will look. But that won't stop us from making a too-early guess.

This one may be closer to accurate than the other 29 predictions across MLB.com. Even though the Rockies finished 71-90 and fourth in the National League West, they believe in the club’s main players. Also, there is faith that a starting pitching staff that suffered from injury and some key members having subpar performances will be able to rediscover its form.

Anyhow, let’s give this a shot:

Catcher

Locks: Tony Wolters

Possibilities: Dom Nuñez, free agent or trade

Wolters had a solid defensive performance and contributed at the bottom of the order, although a late-season dropoff on the road affected his final numbers. Nuñez joined the Major League roster in August (.179 in 16 games). The Rockies will seek an experienced catcher to give Nuñez development time. Veteran Drew Butera, a free agent, has helped the club the last two years, and the Rockies figure to find a way to keep him in the fold.

First base

Locks: Daniel Murphy, Ryan McMahon

Possibilities: Josh Fuentes, Roberto Ramos, Colton Welker, Tyler Nevin

A left index finger fracture days into the season led to a disjointed season for Murphy. While fans soured on him, the Rockies still believe in his bat. McMahon, the regular second baseman, has performed well in limited duty at first the last two years. Rockies manager Bud Black plans to give more rest to some of his veterans this season -- including Murphy, who will turn 35 on April 1. McMahon makes that choice easier.

Fuentes’ September (.270/.289 /.541, 10 homers) could be a springboard to a challenge for a roster spot as well.

Second base

Lock: Ryan McMahon

Possibilities: Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers

Meeting the standards of multiple-time Gold Glove winner DJ LeMahieu (Yankees) was asking a lot of McMahon, but his defensive metrics were comparable to the better defenders in the NL. And offensively, McMahon showed power (24 home runs) and increasing patience (56 walks). Hampson’s right-handed bat and versatility -- he plays everywhere but first base and catcher -- help the second base picture.

Five questions facing Rockies this offseason

Rodgers joined the club as a ballyhooed prospect, but right labrum surgery prevented him from gaining needed experience. If the Rockies aim to make a major trade, teams likely will insist Rodgers be included. The 26-man roster could help the Rockies carry Hampson and Rodgers.

Shortstop

Lock: Trevor Story

Possibilities: Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers

Two straight All-Star Game appearances, four seasons of consistent power and defense that improves yearly have placed Story in the top level at the position. Expect the Rockies to revisit the experiment with Story in the leadoff spot. Hampson and Rodgers were drafted at the position and would have to step in should an injury occur.

Third base

Locks: Nolan Arenado, Ryan McMahon

Possibilities: Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, Josh Fuentes, Colton Welker, Tyler Nevin

Arenado started slowly but had a career year offensively, to go with seven years of all-time great defense. Arenado will continue as a force in the middle of the lineup. McMahon can spell Arenado, but don’t expect many days off.

Utility

Possibilities: Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers

Hampson has the advantage of being able to play at a starter’s level in center. But the baseball world is waiting for Rodgers to stay healthy and force himself into the lineup by hitting the way he has throughout his Minor League career.

Outfield

Locks: Raimel Tapia, David Dahl, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond

Possibilities: Garrett Hampson, Sam Hilliard, Yonathan Daza

All-Stars Dahl, projected in the No. 2 spot, and Blackmon, who late in the season dropped from leadoff to cleanup to solid reviews, provide power and production as lefty hitters. The left-handed-hitting Tapia made enough forward strides in 2019 that the Rockies see him in at least a platoon role with Desmond, who would get starts against lefty pitchers. But if Hilliard backs up his eye-opening performance in August and September (seven homers in 27 games) with production and patience, he could vault into a starting role -- or at least a roster spot.

Hampson’s ability to play all three spots, including center, even though he’s an infielder by trade, opens some possibilities. Daza, potentially elite with the glove and arm, will have to improve dramatically offensively. Only Blackmon, who moved to right last season, and Desmond, who has settled in left, are tethered to one of the positions.

Starting pitchers

Locks: German Márquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland

Possibilities: Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, Chi Chi González, Tim Melville, Peter Lambert

Márquez and Gray are coming off solid 2019 seasons, while Freeland has to rebound from a rough and injury-addled performance after two solid years. The three at the front of the rotation are the biggest keys to a return to being a contender. Senzatela, Hoffman and González made positive strides at season’s end. All are out of Minor League options, so even if they don’t earn rotation spots they’ll have to show they can handle a role. The big question is whether the Rockies can swing a trade or, with limited payroll availability, sign a free agent who profiles for Coors.

Relievers

Locks: Wade Davis, Scott Oberg, Jairo Díaz, Carlos Estévez, Yency Almonte

Possibilities: Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, James Pazos, Wes Parsons, Joe Harvey, Phillip Diehl, Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, Chi Chi González

This unit -- one that screams for one or more experienced, economical additions -- will be much stronger if Davis can rebound from a down 2019. Oberg, Diaz and Estévez are useful as late-game hard-throwers. Almonte, who had some solid performances and some not, is out of Minor League options. With rotation candidates Senzatela, Hoffman and González out of options, one or more may have to go to the bullpen.

Rockies to address 'pen, prospects in offseason

Shaw and McGee have large contracts but are in the “possibilities” category because the Rockies will seek trade interest. The Rockies collected Pazos, Parsons, Harvey and Diehl -- all with options, all but Diehl with Major League experience before 2019 -- to build depth and competition.

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