Category Archives: Fake Rockies Jerseys

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Michael Cuddyer is now a special instructor for the Twins, and he recently busted out his old magic tricks, at the expense of Eddie Rosario. Maybe Rosie picked up a thing or two about leading the clubhouse, as the Twins will need someone to step up in that role, with Joe Mauer no longer around.

The Worcester Telegram, near Rocco Baldelli’s hometown, profiles the Twins’ manager, and his adjustments so far to leading the big league club. Some fun additional details about the Woonsocket Rocket: He misses the seafood of Rhode Island (someone introduce him to fried Walleye) and is starting to follow the Vikings, despite being a lifelong Patriots fan.

Miguel Sano might have been sidelined by injury already this spring, but one Twins legend certainly hasn’t given up on the young star. Rod Carew still believes in Sano and the peace he found within himself this winter. Let’s hope Sir Rodney is right.

The Hardball Times profiles the rise of the MLB Bullpen Catcher, including the Twins’ Nate Dammann, who was recruited into the role by Dan Gladden, and old friend Henry Blanco (hey, he spent a year with the Twins.) Another fun fact in this article: Kevin Slowey climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

MLB.com put together a list of the ten fastest teams in baseball. It probably comes as no surprise, since this is a Twins blog, but the Twins are on their list. Led by Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco, the Twins come in tied with the Rockies for the seventh fastest team in the MLB. The slowest players on the Twins? Jason Castro and Nelson Cruz.

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Cubs outfielder Carlos Gonzalez cleared waivers and elected free agency after being designated for assignment last week, manager Joe Maddon told reporters today (Twitter link via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune).

Gonzalez, 33, joined the Cubs on his second minor league deal of the season in late May and was selected to the Major League roster just days later. Unfortuately, CarGo’s time in Chicago didn’t go much better than his brief stint in Cleveland. After hitting .210/.282/.276 through 117 plate appearances with the Indians, Gonzalez batted only .175/.306/.300 in 49 plate appearances with the Cubs. He’s punched out in 31.3 percent of his plate appearances between the two teams.

While there’s plenty of name value attached to Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star and former MVP candidate, it’s been a few years since he delivered particularly strong offense. Dating back to 2017, Gonzalez has batted .260/.328/.423 (86 OPS+) and seen his power diminish. He did enjoy a strong all-around year in 2016 and crack 40 homers in 2015, but the combined .285/.337/.522 line he put together in those two seasons is well in the rear-view mirror at this point. While another club could very well look to roll the dice on a player with such a strong track record, it seems likely that he’ll have to settle for a third minor league deal.

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Third of a five-part series looking at the Rockies of 2020. Today: The infield

Shadows can’t obscure what Ryan McMahon accomplished in 2019.

Not the shadow of departed Gold Glove second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who’s now starring for the Yankees in the playoffs. Nor the shadow of the Rockies’ disappointing 71-91 season.

It can be argued that McMahon, 24, took a bigger step forward than any position player on the roster. A giant leap could be in the offing.

“I still think, and I’ve talked to ‘Mac’ about this, that there’s more in there,” manager Bud Black said. “It might take a year or two to have it all come out.”

McMahon hit 24 home runs and drove in 83 runs this season, both franchise records for a primary second baseman. A September slump, however, in which McMahon hit just .195 with a .271 on-base percentage, whittled his final batting average down to .250 and his OBP to .329.

“I need to improve my consistency, and I think there are a lot of young guys in this (clubhouse) who can take that next step, too,” McMahon said. “I watched guys like Nolan (Arenado), and Charlie (Blackmon) and (Trevor) Story, and they have been doing it for years.

“They have that consistency and that work ethic — for the whole season. That’s what’s next for me. That’s my goal.”

McMahon played in 91 games and had 181 at-bats in a middling 2018 season. But opportunity rose in 2019 because of LeMahieu’s departure via free agency and top prospect Brendan Rodgers’ season-ending shoulder surgery. McMahon became Colorado’s primary second baseman, playing in 141 games.

“This my first (full) big-league season and it definitely was a grind,” McMahon said. “You definitely feel it a little bit more, with altitude and all of that. But I’m trying to learn how to get through all of that. I’m trying to take my recovery a little bit more serious.”
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McMahon came up as a third baseman and his transition to the other side of the infield was not seamless. He made some mental errors — failing to cover second base a few times, being out of position a few other times — but he also flashed some LeMahieu-like plays.

“When you’re a kid and you’re playing one position, one side of the infield, you become very comfortable with that,” Black said. “And when you move, it takes time to get comfortable. But I see Ryan, looking forward, as an above-average defender, no matter where you put him, with repetitions and games played.”

McMahon committed 13 errors at second base and finished with a .972 fielding percentage. LeMahieu, by comparison, made just four errors with the Rockies in 2018 and committed 27 errors from 2015-18.

Diamond Appraisal
The left side of the Rockies’ infield is one of the best in baseball but questions loom regarding first base and overall depth:

3B Nolan Arenado (.315 average, 41 home runs, .962 OPS): On his way to his seventh Gold Glove, Arenado lived up to his new eight-year, $260 million contract, posting a career-high OPS and will likely finish in the top five in National League MVP voting.

SS Trevor Story (.294, 35, .917): Story just keeps getting better and is a strong contender to win his first Gold Glove. He’s the first shortstop in big-league history to begin his career with four consecutive 20 home run seasons. Story, in his second season of arbitration, will get a raise from $5 million to likely $11 million for 2020.

1B Daniel Murphy (.279, 13, .780): The veteran’s season was marred by a broken finger that kept him off the field for 20 games and affected him for much of the first half of the season. His batting average was his worst since hitting .266 with the Mets in 2009 and his defense was subpar. He’s owed $14 million in 2020, so he’s penciled in as the starting first baseman. If that remains the case, Murphy, who turns 35 on April 1, must improve.

2B Ryan McMahon (.250, 24, .779): Should Colorado be able to swing a trade for Murphy, which is unlikely, McMahon would become the primary first baseman. Manager Bud Black, however, likes McMahon at second.

2B/SS/OF Garrett Hampson (.247, 8, .686): An adjustment at the plate — he ditched his leg kick for a simpler toe-tap — turned his season around. Hampson hit .318 with five home runs, a .903 OPS and nine stolen bases in September. He’s Colorado’s fastest player and proved he could handle duties in center field. He’s set to be the Rockies’ top utility player in 2020.

2B/SS Brendan Rodgers (.224, 0, .522): The organization’s top prospect made his long-awaited big-league debut May 17 at age 22 but his season ended in July with shoulder surgery. Rodgers made a nice splash, hitting .313/.371/.375 with two doubles through his first 32 plate appearances, but fell into a deep slump, slashing .159/.196/.159 over his next 46 plate appearances without an extra-base hit. Rodgers, a natural shortstop, still needs to work on his mechanics at second. How quickly he returns from a torn labrum remains to be seen.

2B/SS Pat Valaika (.190, 1, .572): Valaika, 27, has thrived at Triple-A but he’s struggled as a role player in the majors since leading the majors with 16 pinch-hit RBIs in 2017. Valaika still has options, so the Rockies might hold on to him or they might want to give his spot on the 40-man roster to someone else.

3B/1B Josh Fuentes (.218, 3, .632): Arenado’s younger cousin had a hamate bone injury in spring training but came back to make his big-league debut April 6, filling in for Murphy and McMahon, who were both injured. He did not impress, hitting 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts in nine games. His 15-game stint in September was much better: a .270/.289/.541 slash line that included three homers. Sprin

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As any self-respecting purveyor of sporting cliche knows, it’s never a bad idea to keep quiet and let your football do the talking. The problem for Brendan Rodgers is that he has often wanted to let his talking do the talking – which is a shame since, by and large, his football has spoken loudly enough.

For a coach whose career is barely a decade old, Rodgers’ CV isn’t half bad. He has presided over one promotion, one staggeringly good debut top-flight campaign, one freewheeling title charge, one unbeaten league season and back-to-back domestic trebles. Yet throughout, he has continued to serve as a punchline, painted by a substantial cohort as a faintly buffoonish David Brent figure.

Eleven games into the current season, his Leicester side sit third, having played four of the ‘Big Six’. Only one team has scored more and no side has conceded fewer. Is British football finally ready to recognise Rodgers as an elite-level coach? In fact, why hasn’t it done so already?

The answer is not straightforward, no matter what some of his harsher detractors would have you believe, although it’s true that he’s often failed to do himself any favours when a microphone has been aimed his way. In today’s culture, it only takes one slip of the tongue – one tiny soundbite lacking in self-awareness – to make you look silly. And it’s fair to say that Rodgers, who as Swansea manager declared it “great that the public here at Sunderland could see us play” after overseeing a 1-0 defeat on Wearside, has given more than just the one.

Open a new tab in your browser now, and you won’t need to look hard to find a smarmy listicle detailing “Brendan’s best quotes”. That fact itself is instructive. Rodgers has had the misfortune to come of age in perfect timing with an online culture whose core currencies are put-downs, piss-takes and memes. During his three years at Liverpool, the number of active Twitter users doubled. The social media age has not always been kind to a man whose account of his evening jogs around the streets of Liverpool, when “the doors are open and the dinners are on and you can smell the mince cooking”, sounded like he was starring in his own Dickens novel.

How Fabinho became the world’s best defensive midfielder

Much of this, too, is probably tied into the very British instinct to take against someone who talks a good game before they’ve played one, to knock down the mouthy newcomer a peg or two. Yet the longer Rodgers’ career goes on, the more his words are backed up by his deeds. Take a look at his last four jobs – Swansea, Liverpool, Celtic and his nascent Leicester tenure – and it quickly dawns that each register somewhere between ‘mighty impressive’ and ‘transformatively brilliant’.

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What’s more, they have covered near enough the full gamut of remits and expectations. It’s become part of football’s received wisdom that managing a so-called smaller club is incomparable to presiding over a heavyweight – hence why the same rotating cast of coaches get the big jobs while the impressive mid-rankers are overlooked. Rodgers’ model has worked across the board: promotion-chasing minnow, sleeping giant, trophy-hoovering Goliath figure, and now an aspirational upper-middleweight.

In each instance he has found a new gear, improved his team beyond expectation and created a side better than the sum of its parts, at least for a time. Young players excel under his watch. Attackers – especially hard-running and bloodthirsty centre-forwards – flourish like never before. Best of all, he has never needed big money to make big progress. Has it just been bad PR holding him back?

Not exactly. His penchant for saying the wrong thing hasn’t just wound up anonymous fans on the internet – it’s had real-world implications too. At least one of his bosses at Anfield was “fighting the urge to call up and tear him a new asshole”, according to one internal missive, after fingers had been pointed at “the money men” over failed signings. Ultimately it was that friction which cost him his employment. Yet even at Liverpool, the least tangibly successful of his last three jobs and one where things went downhill badly towards the end, he put together a sensationally exciting team, nearly won the league, and turned Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho into players that would fetch the club around a quarter of a billion pounds.

By that time, of course, his faintly silly Shankly-lite soundbites had made him the star of a million memes, his whitened teeth lighting up the internet as a new breed of online fan began to find its voice. Combine this with a mainstream press that prizes quotes above all else, and you have a strange sporting culture in which managers are judged as much by what they say as what they do. Ironically, given the efforts Rodgers puts into his speechifying, it’s the talking that’s hamstrung him.

Now, though, he seems to have toned down the self-mythologising and, slowly but surely, he’s winning hearts and minds. In the wake of Leicester’s 9-0 demolition of Southampton, Gary Neville said Rodgers might soon find himself in the picture for the English football’s top jobs, including the one Pep Guardiola will sooner or later vacate. Which would be quite the ambition. But then, as a smart man once said: you can live without water for days, but you can’t live for a second without hope.

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On Friday, Mayor Steven Reed unveiled a new transition plan that will guide the next four years of his administration, as well as 11 members of a diverse coalition that will assist him, including four women and a college student.

The Montgomery United Transition plan includes six committees that will help the new mayor set his agenda for the city by offering policy recommendations based on research and public input starting from Dec. 2.

“It is my expectation that these recommendations will not only align with my vision for the city, but also fuel the movement toward an innovative, inclusive, and united Montgomery,” Reed said in a press statement.

Chaired by retired Judge Vanzetta Penn McPherson and investment banker John Mazyck, the committees will cover education; economic development; infrastructure and transportation; public safety; health and human services; and cultural arts and entertainment. The coalition includes four women, two black women, and three black men.
The committee members

Jake Aronov: CEO of the Aronov company, a commercial and residential real-estate management firm that operates in 14 states. In Montgomery, the Aronov company has developed residential properties that house more than 10,000 families.

Lori David Boone: Realtor, juris doctor and philanthropist. She has supported local charities working to improve education through her nonprofit the Lori and LaBarron Boone Education Foundation.

Katie Boyd Britt: the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama since January where she facilitates policies that encourage economic growth.

Dr. Brian C. Gary: Chief of Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Jackson Hospital where he has served in different capacities since 2006. He currently sits on the Alabama State Board of Prosthetists and Orthotists, and Alabama State University’s Masters program.

Lance Hunter: CEO of Hodges Warehouse & Logistics since 2000. The trucking firm specializes in third-party logistics in Central Alabama.

Ashley Jernigan: Founder of JDB Hospitality, a public relations firm that specializes in event management, marketing and media development. She is the project manager for Alabama’s Bicentennial celebration and currently serves on the board for Alabama’s Tourism Department, the Downtown Business Association and Montgomery Public Arts Council among others.

Tom Methvin: Managing attorney of Beasley Allen Law Firm. He was the lead attorney in a landmark case that resulted in the largest predatory lending verdict in U.S. history. Methvin was president of the Alabama Bar Association in 2009 where he focused on increasing free legal services for clients in need. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

Carl A. Stockton: Chancellor of Auburn University at Montgomery since 2016. He has worked 35 years in higher education and has a record of increasing enrollment and fundraising. Stockton serves on the board of various child advocacy organizations.

Boyd Stephens: Launched the I85 Cyber Corridor Initiative, a program aimed at creating services and infrastructure to feed a robust tech ecosystem throughout Central Alabama. He has worked with various Alabama technology firms including Netelysis, a company that analyzes organizations’ telecommunications infrastructure.

Laurie Jean Weil: Founder of Camp Sunshine, a summer program for kids and teenagers from low-income earning families. She has served on the boards of the Central Alabama Community Foundation, River Region United Way and the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama.

David Whitlow: President of Alabama State University’s Student Government Association. He is a graduate of Jefferson Davis High School and is currently a senior at ASU studying English and Secondary Education.

Reed’s administration has not yet specified which committees each member will serve on.

“I’ve been in Montgomery for 15 years and I’ve seen the growth it’s achieved,” said committee member Ashley Jernigan.

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Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

For the first time ever, David Dahl made an Opening Day roster in 2019. And he would have been on the roster all year if it were not due to more injuries.

I’m not going to run down the list of every injury Dahl has suffered in his career. We’re not writing a novel here. But there were a couple specific ailments that plagued him in 2019. It was a “left core side injury” that put Dahl on the 10-day injured list in April. He spent the minimum amount of time sidelined in that instance. But it was a high right ankle sprain that resulted in Dahl being carted off the field and sent to the IL on August 3 that would lead to him missing the remainder of the 2019 campaign.

When healthy, though, Dahl showed just how good he could be. In 100 games, he put up a .302/.353/.524 batting line (103 DRC+), with 15 home runs. And he was one of the Rockies’ representatives at the All-Star Game for his efforts.

On defense, Dahl spent most of his time in left field, but he started getting more reps in center field after the Rockies elected to move Ian Desmond to left. Unlike his previous two seasons in the majors, where defensive metrics graded him as a roughly average defender, Dahl was rated as decidedly negative in 2019 by Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating and Fielding Runs Above Average. DRS was the harshest, putting him at -11. However, Statcast’s Outs Above Average still had him in positive territory.

In last month’s post-season media briefing from general manager Jeff Bridich, manager Bud Black and co-owner Dick Monfort, Bridich made an interesting comment— ”Some guys that seem to be pretty injury prone got hurt again and it stinks, right?” It wasn’t too hard to view this as a bit of a swipe at Dahl. And it’s not a wrong take, per se. It’s true that the Rockies are at their best when Dahl is in the lineup, but he certainly isn’t the only one to blame for the team finishing at 71-91.

One thing is for sure, though—a healthy Dahl would go a long way to helping the team have sustained success going forward. He is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and projected to earn $3 million from MLB Trade Rumors.

We saw what Dahl was capable of in 2019. He was an All-Star. The next step is an All-Star who can remain healthy for the long haul.

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It’s been three years since Justin Morneau played Major League Baseball, but the former Twins MVP first baseman is making a bit of a comeback as he is on the roster for Canada’s national team.

Baseball Canada announced the roster that will compete to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and Morneau, from New Westminster, British Columbia, is among the 28 players on the team.

Canada will play in the 12-team WBSC Premier12 tournament in South Korea Nov. 2-17, with the two teams in the tournament qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.

The team that finishes first from the Americas will qualify, along with the top finisher in the Super Round/Finals from the Asia/Oceania region.

The top-12 baseball teams in the world rankings are in the tournament:

Japan
USA
Korea
Chinese Taipei
Cuba
Mexico
Australia
Netherlands
Venezuela
Canada
Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic

Morneau was named the American League MVP with the Twins in 2006 and went on to win the National League batting title with the Colorado Rockies in 2014.

Morneau is now a part-time analyst during Twins games on FOX Sports North.

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BOSTON—The Boston Red Sox, who have failed to win a single World Series since the departure of relief pitcher Curtis Leskanic in 2004, are attempting to defy the odds and do the impossible: reverse the curse of the journeyman reliever whose ghost has haunted this team since the mid-2000s.

Pitted against the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 Fall Classic, the team that for two long years seemed like it might be destined to lose forever has a chance to finally put an end to its 36-month-long World Series drought. However, the Red Sox must first overcome the famed Curse of Curtis Leskanic, which caused medium-to-long-suffering fans much anguish and heartache during the period between 2005 and 2006.

“It will take a miracle for the Sox to win the World Series as long as the spirit of Leskanic has anything to say about it,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who coined the phrase “Curse Of The Former Red Sox Relief Pitcher Curtis Leskanic” in March of 2005, when an error by shortstop Edgar Renteria allowed the Devil Rays to defeat the Red Sox 7-4 in a spring training game. “This curse will play a huge part in this series. Every home run that curves just foul, every dropped fly ball, every bad hop, every blown call—Curtis Leskanic will be there.”

Leskanic, a right-handed set-up man acquired by the Red Sox halfway through the 2004 season, pitched nearly 28 innings for the team from July to September, and was present as Boston defeated the Yankees in the ALCS and went on the win the World Series. However, as legend has it, the Red Sox refused to offer him a contract extension, despite the fact that he was coming off a 3-5 season with a 5.19 ERA and 37 strikeouts. Leskanic, unable to find work in the major leagues, retired—and the rest is history. Since then, the Florida Little League team that Leskanic went on to coach has enjoyed unprecedented success, winning the Lake County Round Robin two years in a row and going undefeated in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have made it to the playoffs just twice since 2004.

“I don’t usually believe in ‘curses,’ but how else do you explain the Red Sox’s early elimination from the 2005 Division Series, or their five-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees last August, or the fact that they didn’t even make the playoffs in 2006?” said longtime Red Sox fan Gary Everett. “No team is that unlucky.”

“We never should’ve gotten rid of Leskanic,” Everett added. “Just think of how many more rings we’d have now.”

“When [White Sox outfielder Scott] Podsednik hit that home run in Game 1 of the 2005 ALDS, all I could think was, ‘Damn you, Leskanic!'” said Allston, MA resident Terry Bresler. “But if the Sox can beat the Rockies this year, I might be able to finally forgive Tony Graffanino for that error he made in Game 2 of that series.”

In an interesting twist of fate, to end the curse, the Red Sox must first beat the Rockies, the team with which Leskanic began his career in 1993. Many fans believe destiny brought these two teams together—that it is only fitting that the Red Sox must exorcise the demons of their recent past against the very team with which Leskanic enjoyed his greatest success, including his 7-5, 6.23 ERA season in 1996 and his 1-1 effort in 1994.

“Ending the curse against the Rockies will just make it that much sweeter,” said Boston resident Terry McMahon. “Not even Curtis Leskanic can stop this team!”

“I just pray that my son can see the Sox win at least one World Series in his lifetime,” said Boston resident Sal Fischer of his son Cody, 2.

Many Red Sox fans believe the Curse of Curtis Leskanic was already broken this June when two diehard Red Sox fans traveled to Leskanic’s childhood home in Homestead, PA and burned it to the ground, while others think the curse was lifted in August when the Red Sox won three games in a row. Still others believe that the ghost of Leskanic was expelled from Boston in April, when Jimmy Buffett played to a sold-out crowd at Fenway Park; Leskanic was known for not being that into Jimmy Buffett.

Curtis Leskanic currently resides in Orlando, FL with his family, and works as a pro scouting consultant in the Red Sox organization. When reached for comment, he wished the Red Sox the best of luck.

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Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

The Colorado Rockies were beat up on the pitching side of things in more ways than one this past season. Relying once again on a batch of young starting pitchers, they saw their rotation get hit hard on the field and with injuries that kept guys off the field.

Antonio Senzatela’s 2019 season came to represent both sides of those struggles. The injuries to his counterparts meant that he pitched a lot, making 25 starts and pitching 124.2 innings. He registered enough decisions to go 11-11, so if you want to be cute next season you can refer to him as a 10-game winner.

As you know if you watched him, or as you could figure from that -0.6 rWAR, Senzatela was also one of those pitchers who got battered on the field. He had a ghastly 6.71 ERA and a career worst 77 ERA+. He allowed a career-worst 19 home runs and issued a career-high 57 walks. If there was a way to be bad, Senzatela probably pulled if off.

The most concerning change in Senzatela’s numbers was the drop in strikeouts. He just could not miss bats. To wit: Senzatela struck out 69 batters in 90.1 innings in 2018; he struck out 76 batters in 124.2 innings in 2019. That’s a dip from 6.9 K/9 to 5.5 K/9. He’s never going to be a big strikeout guy, but he’s not going to survive in the big leagues if he gets hit that often and that hard.

Here’s the good news: Senzatela is still just 24 years old. It’s perfectly reasonable to think that he’s still learning on the job, especially since he kicked back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen in 2018 before returning to full-time starting duties this year. Nick Groke wrote a piece at the beginning of September that looked at Senzatela’s struggles missing bats that also covered the steps that the Rockies were taking to help him adjust. I mention that to emphasize that this could all change quickly, as we have seen for better or worse with a number of young pitchers recently.

So what needs to change for the better? Those contact and strikeout numbers match up with what your eyes might tell you, which is that Senzatela’s fastball looks awfully flat. Maybe he develops more late movement or maybe he improves his secondary pitches to be able to set up hitters better. Maybe the Rockies focus on using him as a reliever so his velocity can play more in shorter bursts.

It takes a special starting pitcher to survive at Coors Field by primarily pitching to contact. I’m not here to tell you that Senzatela can’t be that pitcher or that he can’t make adjustments to strike more hitters out. I don’t know that, and you don’t either when it comes to a pitcher who’s still just 24. But the 2019 season told us that Senzatela isn’t a pitcher who can survive that way yet, and he’s got a long way to go to figure things out.

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After hitting leadoff in 799 of the 967 games he has started in a Colorado Rockies uniform, Charlie Blackmon slid down in the order in late August and September as Trevor Story primarily assumed the leadoff role with Blackmon behind him.

Colorado manager Bud Black felt the shift was a positive in order for the Rockies to take advantage of Story’s speed (the All-Star shortstop led the team with 23 stolen bases in 2019) as well as Blackmon’s ability to move him around the bases.

“Trevor’s base-stealing ability puts the pitcher (and) catcher in a little different spot with a true base-stealer,” Black told Rox Pile and other media members in late August. “Plus, if Trevor’s on, and they have to hold him, Charlie’s ability to pull the ball with certain pitches becomes greater. Charlie might get more fastballs if Trevor’s on base with a threat to steal. All the traditional baseball theories come into play a little bit, and both guys are good with it.”

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Chicago White Sox put end to Colorado Rockies’ slim catching hopes

In one of his final interviews before the 2019 season concluded, Blackmon admitted that his days as Colorado’s leadoff hitter could be limited in 2020 … and that’s something he’s going to think about and work on this winter.

“Having hit a little further down in the order this year, pitch selection is going to be the key for me,” Blackmon said inside the Colorado clubhouse as he looked ahead to the offseason and 2020. “I’m trying to limit my swings out on the periphery of the strike zone so I’m going to be focusing on that in the offseason, which is hard to do without pitching and feedback but I think I’ll be doing some more drills to help me swing at better pitches.”

Blackmon is a career .307/.364/.523 hitter in the leadoff role and has made a name for himself around Major League Baseball with his historic feats from the top spot in the lineup. This isn’t. however, the first time that the discussion about the 33-year-old Blackmon moving into more of a traditional power lineup spot has occurred. Rockies fans well remember 2018 spring training when talk of DJ LeMahieu in the leadoff slot and Blackmon behind him was a big topic of conversation.

Batting anywhere but first, Blackmon knows the selection of pitches he sees will be different.

“If you’re hitting further down in the order, you’re going to be in situations where guys aren’t going to come right after you with a first-pitch fastball,” Blackmon explained. “They’re going to want to keep that run off the board and they’re going to try to pitch to the edges and mix it up a little more. I think that will help me give away less at-bats.”

So is Blackmon OK with moving out of the leadoff spot? Absolutely, he said.

“I like hitting in other places (in the lineup),” Blackmon said. “I like watching someone else hit leadoff. It’s something I enjoy doing and it’s something I’ve gotten comfortable with.”

While Rockies fans have been warned against the team making “some great big splash” in the offseason, Blackmon expects next year’s lineup to be somewhat different … even if it involves the same players.

“I don’t think it will look exactly like it looked this year,” Blackmon said. “I think we’ll try some new things out and reevaluate the best way to structure our lineup.”