MLB Top Prospects: Will We See Brendan Rodgers in 2019?

Rated as MLB.com’s No. 9 overall prospect and the Colorado Rockies’ No. 1 prospect, infielder Brendan Rodgers is nearing his MLB debut, and it could finally come in the 2019 MLB season.

The 22-year old Rodgers, who was the third overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, has slowly advanced up the minor league latter and has put up strong numbers at each level. He reached Triple-A for the first time last season and while he batted just .232/.264/.290, it was in a small sample of just 69 plate appearances. He spent most of his 2018 season in Double-A, where he hit a strong .275/.342/.493 with 17 homers in 357 PAs.

As mentioned above, Rodgers went No. 3 overall in the 2015 draft and the two players that were drafted above him, Alex Bregman and Dansby Swanson, are both already contributing at the MLB level. It’s only a matter of time until Rodgers himself starts to contribute, but when will he?

Brendan Rodgers had primarily been a shortstop before he was drafted, but ever since the Rockies drafted him, they have moved him around the infield at second and third base as well in the minors. Rodgers has the ability to play each of those positions, but with Nolan Arenado at third base and Trevor Story locked in at short, Rodgers’ best chance at seeing time if he’s to make it to the big league level next season would probably be at second base. Of course, he could split time at all three positions, and if Arenado leaves Colorado in free agency in the 2019-20 offseason, Rodgers could be the long-term solution at third.

There’s always those out there that would wonder what Colorado could get if they were to use Rodgers to headline a trade for an elite big league player, but that is highly unlikely to happen. It would take more than just a lot to even consider trading a potential future franchise cornerstone in Rodgers. Of course, Dansby Swanson was traded to the Braves before he could even climb up the latter in the D-Backs farm system, so you never know.

While Brendan Rodgers could finally make his MLB debut in 2019, don’t expect it until later in the season, as Rodgers will have to spend more time mastering the Triple-A level.

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Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado?

It’s a simply put question, but as always there’s no answer without a discussion. So here we go.

Two players who have been franchise cornerstones for their respective teams, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are both nearing free agency and that has gotten many to wonder whether or not Arizona will trade Goldschmidt and whether or not Colorado will trade Arenado. It’s two different situations however with both players.

The Diamondbacks are gearing up for somewhat of a rebuild and have been open to offers for their star 1st baseman. They’ve even been rumored to possibly consider a package deal where the team would attach the massive contract of Zack Greinke to get Greinke’s contract off the books at the same time trading Goldschmidt for some prospects. That would limit a return in prospect capitol and/or major league assets so that may not ultimately be the route Arizona goes.

As for Goldschmidt suitors, the most recent of teams to have expressed interest are the Minnesota Twins. While they inquired about Goldschmidt, they may not end up fully pursuing him. There are other teams that have been reported to express early interest but right now nothing has gotten far enough between the D-backs and another team to see a deal close at this time.

No doubt Arizona is going to want a strong return for Goldschmidt given his performance over the years, and speculative fits like the Astros and Yankees, have the farm systems to give a strong return. He’s got one remaining year of control however, so it could somewhat limit a major prospect haul.

Now onto Nolan Arenado, perhaps the top third baseman in the game. Another perennial MVP contender, Arenado, despite one year of team control remaining himself, could net an even bigger package in a trade, given both his numbers and elite defense at the third base position. Teams will lineup for his services if Colorado dangles him on the trade block.

The “if” means a lot. The Rockies have discussed a potential contract extension with Arenado in the past but have come to no deal to this point, setting up his free agency following the 2019 season. Plenty of time still to get a deal done. And unlike the Diamondbacks, the Rockies are aiming to get back to the playoffs again next year and contend for a World Series title. While that’s a tall task, they have made it to the postseason in each of the last two years. Trading Arenado is definitely a route they don’t want to take. They could however, cash in Arenado for major league assets that could fill other holes on the roster immediately if they so choose.

While Paul Goldschmidt seems the likelier to move based on Arizona’s intentions on rebuilding the roster, don’t be surprised if Colorado at least considers shopping Nolan Arenado to see what teams are willing to offer. So, who would you want to see on you’re team, feel free to leave a comment.

Goldschmidt’s 2018 numbers: .290/.389/.533, 33 HR, 83 RBI, 5.4 WAR, 6th place in MVP voting

Arenado’s 2018 numbers:

.297/.374/.561, 38 HR, 110 RBI, 5.6 WAR, 3rd place in MVP voting, Gold Glove Award

2018-19 MLB Free Agent Class; Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu

We’ve already heard it plenty of times that next winter we will see one of the most star studded Free Agent classes of all-time, and among that class will be two prominent Colorado Rockies stars in Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu. While we still have this offseason and the 2018 MLB season ahead, it’s no doubt that next offseason will be on the minds of many, including Rockies fans who may end up losing these two franchise stars. That’s why we are going to take a look at what the Rockies may do with these two players.

Since his debut with the Rockies in 2011, Charlie Blackmon has gradually become a star in the Colorado lineup. He’s had a steady rise in just about every offensive category, and 2017 he put up the best numbers of his career. Despite nearly eclipsing the 30 homer mark in 2016, Blackmon had never had more than 19 homers in a season prior to 2016. This past year however, he crushed 37 long balls, easily a career high. 2016 saw him earn MVP votes for the first time in his career, but 2017 saw him finish 5th in the MVP voting overall. His total WAR output to this point in his career is valued at 15.2(6.0 in 2017). He’s a 2-time all-star, a winner of the batting title in 2017, and is a 2-time silver slugger winner. Another year like this in 2018 and he could be in for a massive payday next winter.

Meanwhile, DJ LeMahieu is no slouch himself. While he’s not nearly the type of star Blackmon is, he’s still been a big part of the Colorado Rockies for the better part of 6 seasons. A 2-time gold glove winner, LeMahieu won the batting title in 2016 with a whopping .348 BA in 635 plate appearances. That season saw him garner a few MVP votes, however not enough for him to finish in the top 10. He’s valued at 14.4 WAR in his career(2.9 in 2017), and he’s sure to aim high next winter in his age 29 season on a multi-year deal.

With this being said about the two Rockies stars, the team is currently slated to have just $23.5MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2019 season, which certainly has plenty of room for Colorado to add plenty of salary.

Extensions for Blackmon and LeMahieu are definitely a possibility, but aren’t a certainty due to the fact that the team will need to use a significant amount of money if they want to extend franchise star 3rd baseman Nolan Arenado, who will surely command a monster contract. That, on top of the fact that the Rockies have top prospects waiting in the wings in Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers, could impact the future’s of both Blackmon and LeMahieu.

These next couple of winters will see the Rockies work with some payroll flexibility on top of the fact that they contain a few trade chips that they can use to fill some areas of need, if necessary. As for Blackmon and LeMahieu, their futures will depend upon how the Rockies view them going forward and the progress of some of their younger players who can fill those positions.

Examining Greg Holland’s Market

Free agent closer Greg Holland enters the market coming off of a solid season in which he racked up 41 saves to go along with a 3.61 ERA in 57.1 IP in a Rockies uniform. He will now try to turn that production into a lucrative multi-year contract with a new team(or if the Rockies are to re-sign him).

It’s easy to see why teams will want to lineup for a player like Holland, as he’s just about always shown he is a reliable option in the 9th inning his entire career to this point. Even pitching in the tough Coors Field in Colorado didn’t do much to decrease his performance. Before signing with the Rockies in the 2016-17 offseason, Holland had just been coming off of a year that was wiped out due to Tommy John surgery, which caused him to sign a 1-year deal with a player option(which he then declined) so no one knew what to expect out of the former Kansas City Royal. He silenced any critics however, and proved he’s the same pitcher he was before, once again pitching brilliantly.

While it’s easy to point to the success he’s had, it’s also easy to point to the blemishes that may impact his market. Holland’s Tommy John surgery history alone will always at least make some teams a little concerned at what to expect going forward in his career and whether that will affect him down the road at some point. It’s also worth noting that despite the fact that he recorded 41 saves, he faded down the stretch for Colorado after pitching amazingly in the first half of the season.

With all of that being said, exactly who will be vying for Holland’s services? The St. Louis Cardinals are the first team to mention, due in part to the gaping hole in the back of their bullpen. The Cardinals are willing to do whatever it takes to land an elite closer and prefer to sign Holland over anyone else that is available. It’s not known exactly how much they are willing to offer Holland, but they will surely be one of the top bidders.

Next is the Rockies, the team he just wrapped up his contract with. While he declined his player option with the team, there is interest between the two sides in a reunion. Colorado will have to cough up a pretty penny to get their closer back though. However, despite Holland’s potentially big asking price, the Rockies are reportedly going to make a play to retain their closer on a long-term deal.

The Minnesota Twins will be in the market for a closer and are plenty familiar with Holland from his time with the Royals. Holland would be a huge boost to the Minnesota relief corps and for a Twins team that is looking poised to contend on top of the fact that they have plenty of money to spend going forward, they could easily make the biggest bid if they are interested enough in Holland.

Other teams that could be linked to Holland this offseason could be the Astros, Cubs, D-Backs, Rangers, and Phillies. Even though he endured a rough second half of the 2017 season, most teams will probably look past that as Holland has always shown he is a capable and elite closer.