On Sunday, Colorado announced the 52 members in their player pool for the 2020 season.
Due to the delayed start of the season, coupled with a shortened 60-game schedule and all the complications that come along with it, each team will operate with a 60-man roster.
While the Rockies did not utilize all 60 spots, it is much easier to add players through the season than to remove one as removing participants from the expanded roster will be similar to the rules that govern the 40-man roster.
Once the season begins on July 23 or 24, teams will operate the first two weeks with a 30-man active roster, followed by a 28-man roster for the next two weeks, and a 26-man roster for the remainder of the season.
All remaining players not on the active roster – hereby known as the taxi squad – will train at a facility nearby. MLB has instructed teams to find a site within 100 miles of their stadium to help reduce travel.
LHP: Kyle Freeland, Ryan Rolison
RHP: Ryan Castellani, Chi Chi González, Ashton Goudeau, Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Peter Lambert, German Márquez, José Mujica, Antonio Santos, Antonio Senzatela
It seems like Colorado has a lot of starting pitching depth at this point; however, after Gray and Márquez, there are question marks about the remainder of the rotation.
There’s plenty to suggest Freeland will bounce back and contribute in a fashion akin to his 2017 rookie season: 4.10 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a WAR in the positive digits.
Bud Black won’t have much of an option to send out any starter that struggles in consecutive outings, so González, Senzatela, and Hoffman will have to be on point or else Goudeau, Castellani and Santos will be needed at some point.
Lambert and Mujica are returning from injuries and could also feature on the bump for the Rockies.
Missing: Matt Dennis, Brandon Gold, Ubaldo Jiménez, Chris McMahon, Wes Parsons, Jack Wynkoop
The most notable name left off the 60-man roster is former ace Jiménez, who attempted a comeback with Colorado following two years away from the game.
A scan of the other 29 rosters shows that 2020 draftees are being giving a chance to contribute immediately – like Bryce Jarvis (Arizona) and Jared Schuster (Atlanta) – or, depending on how a front office views these expanded rosters, get some valuable development in a lost season as with Robert Hassell III (San Diego).
McMahon, the Rockies 2nd round pick in 2020, was amongst the pitching leaders across all categories in ACC this season and could provide depth in the bullpen beyond continuing his development.
Dennis, Gold and Wynkoop pitched well at Double-A Hartford in 2019 and could provide useful innings. Wynkoop, the lone left-hander of the trio, might benefit from a move to the bullpen especially as he’s been exceptionally better against left-handed hitters.
LHP: Ben Bowden, Tim Collins, Phillip Diehl, Jake McGee, James Pazos
RHP: Yency Almonte, Daniel Bard, Wade Davis, Jairo Díaz, Carlos Estévez, Alexander Guillen, Joe Harvey, Tyler Kinley, Scott Oberg, Bryan Shaw, Jesus Tinoco
Patience will not be a virtue during a 60-game season, so each of the 16 relievers on this list – not to mention any of the starters left out of the top five – could get a chance to contribute.
Considering starting pitchers will be lucky to go five innings the first time through the rotation, the boys in the bullpen will have every opportunity to assert a spot on the 26-man roster.
Missing: Tommy Doyle, Julian Fernández, Zac Rosscup
Doyle and Fernández received limited action during the original Spring Training down in Scottsdale, but Doyle impressed through four innings of work with a 2.25 ERA. Rosscup has a lot of major league experience over since the southpaw debuted in 2013.
Drew Butera, Elias Díaz, Dom Nuñez, Chris Rabago, Tony Wolters
No real surprises from this group, other than the absence of Triple-A catcher Brian Serven. The intrigue will come once the games start and we see if Díaz has anymore lightning in the bottle he cracked open at Salt River Fields during February and March.
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
Having 13 players for four positions – make that 11 players for two positions with Arenado and Story on the left side of the infield – seems overkill, but anything can happen when every nine-inning matchup is worth at least twice as much as normal.
The runner on second base rule for extra innings will make having quality depth all the more important as we could see players like Hampson and Stamets changing the game with their legs.
Missing: Grant Lavigne, Michael Toglia, Terrin Vavra, Ryan Vilade, Colton Welker
The omission of Vilade and Welker is curious considering both were in big league camp earlier this year. Welker had one of the better seasons in the Eastern League in 2019 and Vilade has shown the ability to play both infield and outfield. Besides being incredibly close to the majors, preventing further development this season could minimize their future potential.
Next season, Vavra will be 24 and Toglia turns 23; neither has had a single at-bat above Low-A. Losing a season like this could have ripple affects for seasons to come if they cannot progress their abilities.
Lavigne will be only be 21 before the season ends, but the same rationale applies when it comes to one of the top prospects in the entire organization.
Charlie Blackmon, David Dahl, Yonathan Daza, Ian Desmond, Sam Hilliard, Raimel Tapia
Six outfielders seems light until you consider infielders Hampson and Mundell can also patrol the expanse at Coors Field.
Should David Dahl not be able to play this season, in addition to the affects of COVID-19 to Blackmon, Colorado may be in some serious trouble with this group even if Hilliard and Tapia continue their growth.
Missing: Brenton Doyle, Vince Fernandez, Mike Gerber, Casey Golden, Zac Veen
Gerber struggled in the spring and Fernandez is coming off a solid season in Double-A that included a 50-game suspension for use of amphetamines.
Doyle and Golden have a way to go before debuting in purple, but both have upside to be potent bats in future Rockies’ lineups.
Seeing the Padres include the 8th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft on their 60-man roster has to make one wonder if Veen, the 9th overall pick, would also benefit as much from working closely with an experienced big league coaching staff.