The Colorado Rockies broke camp this spring without the likes of outfielder Dexter Fowler. With Carlos Gonzalez staying in left field and All-Star Michael Cuddyer roaming around in right the only questions about the outfield is who’s going to take up the space in between the two veteran sluggers? Last winter in an awkward and uncomfortable move the Rockies sent Fowler to the Houston Astros for right handed pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes undoubtedly freeing up some extra cash to fill the void at first base with the signing of Justin Morneau coming just days later.
With the acquisition of Drew Stubbs from the Cleveland Indians, the early thought was he would be the one trying to save ERA’s this summer in the expansive outfield of Coors Field. Not so fast! With Manager Walt Weiss trying to put his stamp on the franchise he has elected to keep all six of the outfielders on the big league roster while keeping only one extra infielder. So…who is the Rockies new Center Fielder?
With so many outfielders breaking camp this spring it looks like the battle will continue into the summer months as to who is the true regular. The biggest surprise out of the 4 man competition was the Rockies electing to keep young Charlie Blackmon on the 40 man roster after struggling this spring with just a .212 batting average in 52 at bats by far the lowest average of the 4 man competition. Also playing his way into the mix is up comer Corey Dickerson who proved this spring he can consistently stroke the ball with consistency scorching a .361 average this spring in 61 at bats.
Stubbs adds the most pop and experience to the lineup with his best year coming in 2010 when he knocked 22 balls over the wall with The Cincinnati Reds and by far the best option to replace Fowlers stolen base numbers with a career of 172 stolen bases while being caught only 29 times. That’s something Barnes can’t do with a lifetime success rate of only 12 stolen bases in 24 attempts. It seems to me that Stubbs is the best option to cover the expansive grounds at Coors Field while Barnes and Dickerson can provide quality at bats in pinch hit situations or when somebody needs a day off. In any case it looks like the Rockies have put together a talented outfield and with the hopes of staying healthy to try and keep pace with the likes of The Los Angeles Dodgers and make a run deep into October.
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