Associated Press/Alan Diaz
On the back of more injury news, the Rockies will be relying on their star players ever more. David Dahl has been sidelined with a rib injury, Ian Desmond will start the season on the DL with a fractured hand, and Tom Murphy will be out at least 4-6 weeks with a broken arm. What that means for the Rockies is players like DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon, and Nolan Arenado will have to drive the offense in the early parts of the season. Luckily, that should not be a problem for the All-Stars.
Starter: Nolan Arenado
Nolan Arenado is coming off another 40 home run season and a season in which he won a gold glove. Expectations are high for Arenado but he has had no problem meeting this expectations. Arenado led the league last year in home runs, RBI, and total bases, for the second season in a row, and ranked fifth in MVP voting. Arenado is a defensive and offensive superstar, one of the leagues best players, and the National League’s best third baseman. There is little doubt over what Arenado can do and this year could see Arenado winning an MVP, pending a successful season from the Rockies as a team.
Arenado is currently playing in the World Baseball Classic for team USA and hit his first homer last game, a three run shot that clinched the USA’s trip to the second round. The classic gives Arenado some good, high-leverage playing time before the season starts.
Backup: Amarista, Adames, Valaika
This is yet another position for Colorado where the starter is locked in and there will be no competition at all. This is also another position, like second base, where a backup will likely see very little playing time. Arenado played 157 games in 2015 and 160 in 2016. Pending some major injury, Arenado will again see playing time in nearly every game leaving little playing time for a backup player at third base.
Player to Watch: Ryan McMahon
Roadblocked by Arenado, McMahon may not ever see time with the big league club. What this means for the Rockies is a sell high type of player in hopes of going in on a big name trade. This is not something that will happen until midseason or next offseason, but it is something the Rockies may be able to do. McMahon is no Moncada or Giolito who will warrant star player type value, but a package deal at some point could yield the Rockies a decent name that improves their team.