Colorado Rockies: Spring Training Battle

Colorado Rockies: First base

Last season, first base in Colorado was occupied by the now-retired Daniel Murphy (29 games), Josh Fuentes (26 games), Ryan McMahon (12 games) and Drew Butera (5 games). Amazingly, they were not the worst team in the majors at first base, that honour went to the Washington Nationals.

Whereas the Nats have addressed their hole by trading for the Pirates’ Josh Bell, the Rockies just invited three non-roster hopefuls to spring training.

It looks like former Yankee, Greg Bird, won’t make it out of camp as he is currently 3-for-23. The 28-year-old has a home run, and four walks to five strikeouts, but it’s not an audition performance to persuade the Rockies front office to add him to the 40-man roster.

The player in the quartet of candidates with a place on the 40-man is Josh Fuentes. He showed last season with 90 OPS+ that league-average would be an achievement. But it is his job to lose.

Personally, as I drafted him in my fantasy baseball league, I hope that one-dimensional slugger C.J. Cron gets the first base gig. Fuentes and Cron have almost identical spring stats: 28AB, .286AVG, but Cron has gone deep twice, whereas Fuentes is just hitting doubles.

The fourth name in the mix is the former Pirates, Braves, Dodgers, Reds and Giants utility player, Connor Joe. That’s a lot of clubs for someone with just 15 big league at-bats to his name. The former first-rounder has matched Cron with two homers but has a more impressive 1.075 OPS. Perhaps his time has come.

Cron has hit 35 home runs over his last 162 games in the majors with an OPS around .800, so surely the sensible decision is to sign him and see what damage he can do in the thin air at Coors Field. But as it is the Rockies, who knows.

Make sure you check out the Bat Flips & Nerds NL West preview, where the team chat with some of the most respected reporters in the business.

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

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