With Opening Day just around the corner, here’s a quick look around the web at some recent Rockies related headlines:
Carlos Gonzalez Reaches Mountaintop | ESPN.com A feature piece on the former Sky Sox meteoric rise to baseball stardom.
Jon Heyman’s Crystal Ball | SI.com Heyman predicts the Rockies to make the playoffs as the National League Wild-Card team and Ubaldo Jimenez to win the 2011 Cy Young Award.
Double-A Tulsa Brimming With Rockies Prospects | Inside The Rockies Blog An inside look at the Drillers opening day roster. Many future Sky Sox will be making noise in Tulsa this season.
Good News, Bad News As Rockies Close Out Camp | Inside The Rockies A recap of Rockies Spring Training 2011 with some quick hits on some 2011 Sky Sox:
“Prospects: Many of the Rockies’ best prospects are in the lower levels of the system, but Jordan Pacheco, Charlie Blackmon, Cole Garner and Rex Brothers showed the Rockies have some help close by if a need arises this season. The Rockies also got a great spring from Ben Paulsen, who significantly raised his profile, and promising showings from infielders Chris Nelson and Hector Gomez. All this comes without barely a glimpse of Wilin Rosario, the Rockies’ top position prospect who is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn ACL.”
And a positive development in the fight against concussions in baseball:
Yesterday evening the Rockies traded catcher Michael McKenry to the Boston Red Sox for Minor League pitcher Daniel Turpen.
McKenry was the Sky Sox primary catcher last season, playing in 99 games and hitting .265 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI. McKenry was drafted by the Rockies in the seventh round of the first year players draft out of Middle Tennessee State and has played with the organization for all five years of his professional career.
McKenry, a fan favorite who was well respected for his tough-nosed, hard working style of play, was likely the odd man out at a crowded position. With the emergence of youngsters Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario, there were simply too many bodies with limited playing time to go around.
Expect to see Pacheco become the primary backstop for the Sky Sox this season as the Rockies brass is anxious to see how he performs at the Triple-A level.
Turpen was 7-6 overall last season with the Double-A affiliates of the San Francisco Giants and Red Sox following a midseason trade. The 24-year old makes for an intimidating presence on the hill as he stands 6 foot 4 and weighs in at 245 lbs. He will provide another valuable young arm as the organization continues to build pitching depth.
Welcome to another season of Sky Sox baseball! The 2011 campaign promises to be an exciting one and we look forward to bringing you a closer look at the happenings in Colorado Springs and beyond.
With the Rockies just a few days away from breaking camp, lets empty the notebook and recap some of the highlights from spring training.
- The surprise (to some) of the spring was catcher/infielder Jordan Pacheco. The budding star was hitting well over .400 for much of camp, finishing at .286 with one homer and 8 RBI, and so impressed the coaching staff that he was one of the final cuts of the spring, despite having never advanced past the Double-A level and playing only 21 games for the Tulsa Drillers last season. His performance has likely earned him the starting nod for the Sky Sox this season.
- The Pacheco situation was fascinating because his presence on the Rockies would have meant they would carry three catchers, a rather rare occurrence for Major League teams.
- Another strong performer from the spring who will begin the year with the Sky Sox is reliever Matt Daley. The decision was a difficult one for Rockies Manager Jim Tracey, who elected to carry a fifth starter instead of an extra reliever. Daley didn’t allow a single earned run all spring over seven appearances and will be a key member of the Sky Sox bullpen.
- The Sky Sox rotation will likely feature a mixture of established Major League veterans and up and coming players. Players with Major League service time including John Maine (Mets), Eric Stults (Dodgers), and Clayton Mortensen (Cardinals, Athletics) will anchor a rotation replete with veteran experience. Mortensen, who won 13 games last season with the Sacramento River Cats, enjoyed a great spring posting a 0.82 ERA over 11 innings.
- Former first round pick Greg Reynolds is rounding back into form after a serious shoulder injury sustained in 2009 and will also begin the season in the Sky Sox rotation.
- Potential outfielders Willy Taveras, Cole Garner and Charlie Blackmon hit .350, .364, and .314 respectively and could prove to be a potent trio for the Sox this season.
- Yesterday, the Rockies acquired third baseman Josh Fields from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Fields is expected to provide depth at the position for the organization and is slated to be the Sky Sox opening day starter at third.