The Colorado Rockies have called up their top prospect, infielder Brendan Rodgers. Is Rodgers up to stay?
That’s hard to know, given the Rockies’ whipsaw treatment of their prospects and the crowded and confused infield situation in Denver.
Rodgers returned to AAA Albuquerque this spring, where his season was cut short by injury last year, after raking at AA Hartford earlier in 2018. His bat was back, big time, in the Pacific Coast League, where he had 9 home runs and 21 runs batted in in 35 games, was fifth in batting average (.356) with a .489 on-base percentage and .721 slugging percentage and was second in runs scored with 34.
But the PCL is normally a hitter-friendly league because of altitude and lack of humidity. This year even more so because the league is, for the first time, using the major-league baseball, and home runs are up substantially. The Albuquerque Isotopes hit 62 in their first 38 game and the El Paso Chihuahuas hit 89 in their first 38 games, both on pace to well exceed last year’s seasonal numbers.
Rodgers will, of course, be playing most of his games in high-altitude and dry Denver, but the quality of major-league pitching certainly could put a damper on his production.
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) May 17, 2019
The season began with former Rockies prospect Ryan McMahon and current prospect Garrett Hampson sharing second-base duties, but McMahon has been inconsistent and fantasy darling Hampson played little and produced less and has found himself back in Albuquerque. Until this week infielder Pat Valaika was on the Albuquerque to Denver shuttle to fill infield needs but now, with first baseman Daniel Murphy and shortstop Trevor Story both banged up, McMahon will play more at first and Rodgers will get his chance at second or short.
But Rodgers is just 22, and if he scuffles don’t be surprised to see him return to Albuquerque. And yet, this could be his time. God knows the Rockies need more consistent hitting if they are to compete this year in the National League West. After a terrible start the team has played better but still strikes out at a record pace and fails to get on base enough and get enough runs scored when they are on base.
Rodgers has been on top prospect lists for awhile now, but the experts are mixed on his future success. Some see a sure star, others see a solid major league regular but not necessarily an all-star.
We’re about to get a first read on that. As of press time Rodgers has played in 2 games for the Rockies, going 1-8 with 1 RBI and four strikeouts. Has the Brendan Rodgers era truly begun?
Good morning, and welcome to the Brendan Rodgers era pic.twitter.com/Ydx7mEZDS0
— Jake Shapiro (@Shapalicious) May 16, 2019
Michael Parnell is a retired newspaper editor who covers the Colorado Rockies for Prospects1500. He is a longtime fantasy baseball fan who now focuses on his dynasty teams in Diamond Duos and Dynasty Sports Empire leagues. He recently relocated from Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Albuquerque, N.M. Follow him on Twitter @parnellmichael.