Colorado Rockies: Ranking the 40-Man Roster: 21-25
Our countdown of the Colorado Rockies 40-man roster continues today. As a reminder, we compiled this list by asking each of our six contributors to Rox Pile to rank each member of Colorado’s 40-man roster from 1-40. To reach our final standings, we combined the points to see who fit where. The more points, the lower the ranking.
Jason Motte: Relief Pitcher Points: 147 Highest Rank: 36 Lowest: 27
Mr. Motte is a 34-year-old reliever who has amassed 60 saves in his career. The Rockies signed Motte to a two-year contract prior to last season.
In 2016, Motte was expected to help anchor the back part of the Rockies bullpen as a key set-up man. Due to nagging injuries and ineffectiveness Motte only managed to pitch 23.2 innings. The lowest number of innings in his career. On that same note, Motte posted the highest ERA of his career at 4.94. The long ball seemed to plague Motte the most when he was able to get to the mound. Surrendering 6 home runs along with 28 hits on the season. On a positive note, strikeouts don’t seem to be an issue. In 2016 Motte struck out more batters than innings pitched for the four time in his career.
It is highly documented that the Rockies sported the worst bullpen in the Majors last season. As a response, the Rockies have added some high profile relievers to stop the bleeding. Prior to 2016, Motte was considered a contender for the closer role, but will certainly be on the outside looking in for 2017. Hopefully, a fresh start and a full bill of health can help Motte provide much need pen depth.
As the Rockies head in 2017 with winning on their mind; Motte does own a World Series ring, so his leadership will be key for a young Rockies pitching staff.
Jairo Diaz: Relief Pitcher Points: 145 Highest Rank: 18 Lowest: 33
Jairo Diaz was meant to settle into the Rockies’ pen full time in 2016 according to the game plan. A blown up elbow threw a wrench into the ideal plan, however. At just 25 years old, Diaz as plenty of time to rebound from his injury and return to his flame-throwing self.
Little is known about the progress of the Diaz’s injury. We do know that Jairo has been rehabbing at the Rockies’ facilities over the off-season and is on a limited throwing program. Then again, you know what they say; no news is good news. The most conservative bet is that Diaz will return to the Majors within the first 4-6 weeks of the 2017 campaign.
Denver aqcuired Diaz in a 2014 trade. Diaz has pitched 24.2 innings in his big league career, posting an ERA of 2.55 with 26 strikeouts. With his potential, Diaz will be a welcome addition to a bullpen in desperate need of depth and consistency. Due to the little information available on the progress of his injury, Spring Training will shed a lot of light on the Rockies bullpen situation and Diaz’s role within it.
Chris Rusin: long reliever, spot starter Points: 143 Highest Rank: 18 Lowest 28
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Chris Rusin, the 30-year-old University of Kentucky product, was the brightest part of a shaky Rockies bullpen in 2016. Rusin did it all for the Rockies as he embraced the long man role. For example, Rusin eat up innings, limited damage, and spot started, all on a moments notice. In 84.1 innings, Rusin managed to post a career-bests in ERA (3.74), WHIP, SO per 9, and walks per 9.
Rusin doesn’t overpower hitters but rather relies on moxie, intelligence, and deception to get hitters out. Originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 draft by the Cubs, Rusin was waived by in 2014. The Colorado Rockies took a shot on the lefty. Rusin has developed an unshakable mentality on the mound thanks to being waived, overlooked and bounced in and out of the rotation. As a result, Rusin is known as one of the Rockies fiercest competitors.
As we head into Spring Training, Rusin figures to be the favorite to earn the long man role man out of the pen. Expect continued success in 2017 if Rusin continues to pitch with a chip on his shoulder.
German Marquez: starter Points: 143 Highest Rank: 18 Lowest 31
21-year-old Venezuelan German Marquez came out of general obscurity to reach the big leagues late in 2016. In total, Marquez started three games, while appearing in six games total, pitching a total of 20.2 innings. Marquez looked exciting times and young in others. Marquez is just one of many Venezuelan nationals currently on the Rockies 40-man roster.
Over five minor league seasons, Marquez sports a fantastic ERA of 3.63 and competed over three different in 2016. The vast majority of Marquez’s logged innings came at Double-A Hartford where he was outstanding. In 21 starts, Marquez was 9-6 with 2.85 ERA and striking out 8.5 batters per nine. Keep in mind that while Marquez was dominating Double-A, he was 3.5 years younger than the average age of the competition.
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With Spring Training just over the horizon, Marquez will be competing for a rotation spot. Ultimately, Marquez figures to be the odd man out on Opening Day, but then again, more odd things have happened.
Alexi Amarista: utility Points: 142 Highest Rank: 20 Lowest 28
A 27-year-old six-year veteran is hard to come by. Nether the less, the Rockies acquired one in Alexi Amarista this past offseason. Amarista was not brought to Denver to rake as he is only a .230 career hitter. Amarista’s value rests in his versatility. The Rockies front office gave Amarista $1.1 million to serve as defensive utility man for 2017 with a club option $2.5 million for 2018. Amarista would have to play out his mind in 2017 to earn that club option.
As new manager Bud Black took over the reins, one can wonder how much influence his knowledge of Amarista played to acquiring the veteran. In addition to defensive versatility, Alexi provides the Rockies with a few major benefits. Firstly, Amarista is a natural shortstop, thusly he brings much-needed depth to a thin Colorado infield. Secondly, Alexi is a veteran baserunner that pinch run late in close games.
Entering the prime of his career, Amarista hit for a career-high .257 average with a .295 OBP in 2016. Perhaps Amarista can only build off of that production now in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field and the reunion with his old manager.