SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Top-ranked Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers and five other players were sent to the minor-league camp on Saturday morning in the latest roster reduction. The moves leave 47 players in camp. None of the players were on the 40-man roster.
Rodgers, the 14th-ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, is naturally a shortstop, but has played some third base and this spring saw some time at second base, where he figures to get a longer look at Triple-A Albuquerque this season.
Also reassigned to the minor league side were left-handed pitcher Ben Bowden, right-handed pitcher Matt Pierpont, catcher Dom Nunez, second baseman Bret Boswell, and first baseman Brian Mundell.
Rodgers was the third player taken overall in the 2015 first-year player draft, behind Dansby Swanson, who went to the D-backs, and Alex Bregman, who went to the Astros. Swanson and Bregman were both college drafts. Rodgers, 22, was a high school draft, who has progressed on course at each level of the minor leagues. Bregman, with Houston, and Swanson, with Atlanta, both debuted in the big leagues after the All-Star Break at the age of 22.
He split the 2017 season between High-A Lancaster and Double-A Hartford, and after opening 2018 at Hartford he spent the final weeks at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he was limited by a left hamstring injury, and a right shoulder injury on a swing, which kept him from playing in the Arizona Fall League.
“To be a Major League middle infielder a player has to become proficient defensively,” said manager Bud Black. “This spring he showed us versatility. I’m satisfied he finished off his defense. Offensively, he made great strides just in spring training at-bats, laying off breaking balls, not expanding the strike zone.”
Rodgers, who has struck out 298 times in 1,383 professional regular-season at-bats, struck out only three times in 36 at-bats this spring compared to 13 strikeouts in 46 at-bats a year ago.
Rodgers is the only one of the six who has even played a game above the Double-AA level, and Bowden and Boswell have yet to appear above the Single-A level.
The Rockies have played Rodgers at third base, particularly considering the possibility that Nolan Arenado could have become a free agent until he signed an eight-year contract earlier this spring. They have begun looking at him at second base, where Garrett Hampson and Ryan McMahon are expected to get the bulk of the player time this year considering the free-agent loss of DJ LeMahieu.
Trevor Story, who has three years of big-league service time, has become one of the top shortstops in the major leagues, earning his first All-Star selection last year. Story’s 88 home runs are the most for a shortstop in his first three seasons in major-league history.
Last season, he became the first shortstop major-league history to record at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 stolen bases.