As the Rockies move into the second quarter of the 2019 season, they’re looking to continue their climb out of the big hole they dug themselves in April. Sitting at 19-21, that 3-12 start is almost a thing of the past.
The recent success has come thanks to the usual suspects, with Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon busting out of early season slumps to once again dominate at the plate. But those two stars can only carry Colorado so far; at some point, others have to shoulder some of the offensive load.
That’s where things get a little dicey.
Trevor Story and David Dahl have been solid thus far, while Raimel Tapia and Tony Wolters have given the Rockies occasional boosts. But two positions have been desolate when it comes to offensive production.
No matter who Bud Black has penciled in the lineup at first or second base, they’ve struggled. Ryan McMahon (.232/.318/.358) and Daniel Murphy (.203/.273/.390) have been less than expected as the everyday starters, while Mark Reynolds (.181/.315/.389) and Garrett Hampson (.194/.224/.269) have provided the skipper with a better option. The right side of the Rockies infield has been a virtual wasteland when it comes to hitting the baseball.
But there is someone who could help the situation. The Rockies just need to be willing to make the move.
And it’s not bringing Pat Valaika back up for another look, as Colorado announced on Tuesday. During his 15 games with the Rockies earlier this season, Valaika hit .074, with zero home runs and zero RBI.
So he’s back and Hampson is out. What are the Rockies doing here? What’s the point?
It’s time to bring Brendan Rodgers up from Albuquerque. And it’s time to make him the everyday starter at second base.
Since being taken in the first round of the 2015 draft, Colorado has been touting this kid. Initially, he was the heir apparent to Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, a lofty expectation for a young player. It’s time to move him across the diamond and let him be the replacement for D.J. LeMahieu at second base.
Rodgers competed with McMahon and Hampson for the gig during spring training, but ultimately lost the battle. Through the first six weeks of the season, however, the situation has changed.
Through 34 games this season in triple-A, Rodgers is hitting .351 with nine home runs and 20 RBI; his on-base percentage (.419) and slugging percentage (.641) are also impressive. Of late, he’s been on an exceptionally torrid pace, hitting .423 with seven home runs, seven triples and 16 RBI in his last 20 games with the Isotopes.
That kind of bat would be a welcome addition to the Rockies lineup.
Having Rodgers at second base would give Black options at first. Essentially, he could go with whoever is swinging a hot stick, whether it’s Murphy, Reynolds, McMahon or even Ian Desmond. More than likely, it’d be a daily decision between Murphy and McMahon, with Reynolds providing the right-handed bat.
At this point, the Rockies have nothing to lose. If they don’t call the 22-year-old prospect up to the big club soon, when are they going to do it? What are they waiting for?
It’s time to see if Brendan Rodgers is as good as everyone thinks. It’s time to see if the reality can match the hype.
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