33-year old righty reliever Jason Motte will start the 2016 season on the disabled list due to a strained right shoulder. Motte pitched in 57 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 8-1 with 6 saves, a 3.91 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Motte has now pitched in 368 games (0 starts) in his first 7 years in the majors and he is 26-14 with 60 saves, a 3.16 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Motte was competing with 29-year old Jake McGee for the closer’s job this spring, but it’s a moot point now. McGee will be the closer on Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies. McGee pitched in 39 games (0 starts) for the Rays last year and he was 1-2 with 6 saves, a 2.41 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. McGee has now pitched in 297 games (0 starts) in his first six years in the show and he is 21-11 with 26 saves, a 2.77 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. McGee was never the closer for the Rays because they didn’t want to pay him the money he was worth. He will be a great closer for the Rockies, as he has outstanding stuff.
The Colorado Rockies have sent 28-year old righty swinging catcher Dustin Garneau to AAA. Garneau played in 15 games this spring for the Rockies and he was 4 for 24 (.167 avg, .494 OPS) with 4 runs scored. He played in 22 games for the Rockies in his first taste of the majors in 2015 and he was 11 of 70 (.157 avg, .509 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 2 homers and 8 RBIs. Garneau also played in 81 games in AAA-ball last year in which he was 83 of 303 (.274 avg, .811 OPS) with 44 runs scored, 15 homers, 61 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He could get back to Colorado this year, if he plays well in AAA.
The Colorado Rockies have sent 28-year old switch-hitting 3B/OF Rafael Ynoa to AAA. Ynoa played in 22 games in spring training for the Rockies and he was 14 of 39 (.359 avg, .831 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 0 homers and 3 RBIs. He played in 72 games for the Rockies last year and he was 33 of 127 (.260 avg, .616 OPS) with 14 runs scored, 0 homers, 9 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Ynoa has now played in 91 games in his first two years with the Rockies and he is 56 of 194 (.289 avg, .695 OPS) with 19 runs scored, 0 homers, 22 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Ynoa will probably come up at some point in 2016 for the Rockies.
30-year old righty reliever Adam Ottavino is recovering from Tommy John surgery and he won’t be ready to return to action until mid 2016. Ottavino pitched in 10 games (0 starts) for the Colorado Rockies last year and he was 1-0 with 3 saves, a 0.00 ERA and a 0.48 WHIP. He has now pitched in 189 games (0 starts) in his first four years with the Rockies and he is 8-8 with 4 saves, a 3.44 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. The Rockies will welcome back Ottavino with open arms, as he is not intimidated by pitching in Coors Field.
The Colorado Rockies will be without 29-year old lefty starting pitcher Chris Rusin and 24-year old righty starting pitcher Jon Gray from mid to late April. Rusin has a finger injury and Gray has an abdominal injury. Rusin pitched in 24 games (22 starts) for the Rockies last year and he was 6-10 with a 5.33 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. Rusin has now pitched in 48 games (42 starts) in his first four years in the show and he is 10-19 with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. Gray is one of their better prospects. He pitched in 9 games (all starts) in his first taste of the majors for the Rockies last year and he was 0-2 with a 5.53 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. Gray also pitched in 21 games (20 starts) in AAA-ball for the Rockies last year in which he was 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. Gray has a huge upside, if he can learn how to handle using his plus stuff at Coors Field.
You would think that playing half of their games at Coors Field would help the starting pitchers batting wise with the light air at home. But, that has just not been the case so far. Here is a look at the starting pitchers of the Colorado Rockies and how they have hit in their careers so far:
Jorge De La Rosa, lefty swinger – De La Rosa was only 3 for 48 (.063 avg, .125 OPS) with 3 RBIs. He is now 41 of 340 (.121 avg, .263 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 0 homers and 21 RBIs so far in his career.
Chad Bettis, righty swinger – Bettis was 2 for 29 (.069 avg, .251 OPS) with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI. Bettis is now 2 for 43 (.047 avg, .174 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 0 homers and 1 RBI.
Tyler Chatwood, righty swinger – Chatwood was only 1 for 10 (.100 avg, .200 OPS) last year. He is now 19 for 69 (.275 avg, .610 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 0 homers and 8 RBIs so far in his career.
Jordan Lyles, righty swinger – Lyles was 0 for 19 (.000 avg, .000 OPS) last year. He is now 18 for 136 (.132 avg, .375 OPS) with 9 runs scored, 2 homers and 7 RBIs so far in his career.
Jon Gray, righty swinger – Gray was 0 for 11 (.000 avg, .154 OPS) with 1 run scored last year in his first taste of the show.
Chris Rusin, lefty swinger – Rusin was 10 for 46 (.217 avg, .500 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 1 homer and 4 RBIs. Rusin is now 14 of 80 (.175 avg, .413 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 1 homer and 6 RBIs so far in his career.
David Hale, righty swinger – Hale was only 2 for 23 (.087 avg, .174 OPS) with 1 run scored. Hale is now 3 of 44 (.068 avg, .135 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 0 homers and 1 RBI.
The Colorado Rockies will be without 29-year old lefty swinging Daniel Descalso for the next several weeks due to a fractured left hand! He played in 101 games for the Rockies last year and he was 38 of 185 (.205 avg, .607 OPS) with 22 runs scored, 5 homers, 22 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Losing Descalso combined with the suspension of Jose Reyes likely means that both 24-year old switch-hitting Cristhian Adames and 23-year old Trevor Story will make the Opening Day roster for the Rockies. Adames played in 26 games for the Rockies last year and he was 13 of 53 (.245 avg, .600 OPS) with 4 runs scored and 3 RBIs. He also played in 116 games in AAA-ball for the Rockies last year in which he was 144 of 463 (.311 avg, .800 OPS) with 62 runs scored, 11 homers, 51 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Story played in 130 games in AA+AAA-ball for the Rockies last year and he was 143 of 512 (.279 avg, .863 OPS) with 83 runs scored, 20 homers, 80 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.
Pinch hitting is really important, especially when you play half of your games at Coors Field. That being said, the Colorado Rockies have to be happy with the makeup of their bench for the most part. Here is a look at the guys most likely to pinch hit for the Rockies in 2016:
Mark Reynolds, righty swinger – Mark Reynolds will be on the wrong side of a platoon at 1B. He generates a lot of power as a pinch hitter. Reynolds is 13 of 62 (.210 avg, .702 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 3 homers, 12 RBIs and 2 stolen bases as a pinch hitter so far in his career.
Daniel Descalso, lefty swinger – Descalso has a lot of experience as a pinch hitter, just not much production. He is 29 f 158 (.184 avg, .499 OPS) with 14 runs scored, 1 homer, 14 RBIs and 3 stolen bases as a pinch hitter.
Ryan Raburn, righty swinger – Raburn is a very productive pinch hitter, despite having a weak batting average in that role. He is 21 of 114 (.184 avg, .677 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 4 homers, 23 RBIs and 1 stolen base.
Brandon Barnes, righty swinger – Barnes is a rock solid pinch hitter for the Rockies. He is 23 of 84 (.267 avg, .796 OPS) with 14 runs scored, 3 homers, 9 RBIs and 2 stolen bases.
Tom Murphy, righty swinger – Murphy is battling Dustin Garneau for the backup catcher job this spring. He has yet to pinch hit in his Major League career.
Dustin Garneau, righty swinger – Garneau is battling Tom Murphy for the backup catcher job this spring. He has yet to pinch hit in his Major League career.
24-year old righty swinging 3B Nolan Arenado really broke out last year as he was dominating both with the glove and the bat in 2015. He played in 157 games for the Colorado Rockies last year and he was 177 of 616 (.287 avg, .898 OPS) with 97 runs scored, a N.L. leading 42 homers, a Major League leading 130 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He was a N.L. All-Star last year, won a Gold Glove Award, a Silver Slugger Award and he finished in 8th in the N.L. MVP vote! Arenado has played in 401 games in his first three years with the Rockies and he is 431 of 1,534 (.281 avg, .818 OPS) with 204 runs scored, 70 homers, 243 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Arenado has won a Gold Glove at 3B in all three of his seasons with the Rockies, as he is a wizard with the glove.
The Colorado Rockies will have a platoon set up at 1B in 2016 with 28-year old lefty Ben Paulsen and 32-year old righty swinging Mark Reynolds sharing the job. Paulsen played in 116 games for the Rockies last year and he was 90 for 325 (.277 avg, .787 OPS) with 42 runs scored, 11 homers, 49 RBIs and 1 stolen base. In his first two years in the show, Paulsen is 98 of 342 (.287 avg, .813 OPS) with 45 runs scored, 12 homers and 48 RBIs against righty pitchers. Reynolds played in 140 games for the Cardinals last year and he was 88 of 382 (.230 avg, .713 OPS) with 35 runs scored, 13 homers, 48 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. In his career against lefty pitchers, Reynolds is 257 of 1,114 (.231 avg, .804 OPS) with 184 runs scored, 63 homers, 188 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. I like the set up for the Rockies at 1B in 2016.