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Rockies going young with Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco

Sep 9, 2011, 7:00 PM EDT

Wilin Rosario AP

Rockies manager Jim Tracy indicated that both Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco would be in the lineup most of the time the rest of the season, sending veterans Chris Iannetta and Kevin Kouzmanoff to the bench.

Iannetta has a right to be upset by the arrangement.  Among regular catchers, only Alex Avila (.391) and Carlos Ruiz (.371) have higher OBPs that Iannetta’s .370 mark this season.  Only Avila (.907), Brian McCann (.843), Miguel Montero (.804) and Nick Hundley (.801) top him in OPS (Iannetta is at .779).

Rosario, in comparison, hit .249/.284/.457 in Double-A this year.  He’s just 22 and he has the tools to excel defensively, but he’s likely a big downgrade from Iannetta right now and it’s doubtful he’ll overtake him at any point within the next year or two.

But Rosario is at least a prospect.  Pacheco, 25, hit .278/.343/.377 as the catcher for Triple-A Colorado Springs this year.  He was originally a middle infielder before converting, and the Rockies intend to give him most of his playing time at third base for now.  At best, his versatility could make him a fringe major leaguer.

The Pacheco plan could be taken as a strong indication that the Rockies don’t like what they’ve seen from Kouzmanoff since grabbing him from the A’s earlier this month.  Auditioning for a spot in the 2012 lineup, Kouzmanoff has hit .244/.306/.289 with no homers, one walk and 10 strikeouts in 45 at-bats.  The Rockies will probably end up releasing him, trading Ian Stewart and going outside of the organization for a new third base solution for next year.

For what it’s worth, the Rockies are also going a bit younger at shortstop tonight, with Chris Nelson getting the start in place of Troy Tulowitzki.  That’s likely a one-day thing, though, as Tulo is getting a night off to deal with a sore hip.

  1. richeich - Sep 9, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    What a waste of a good player providing good numbers, and they are going to bench him. More dumb management in baseball.

  2. scatterbrian - Sep 9, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    How many plate appearances are required for a player to be referred to as a “veteran”? Iannetta’s 1701 PAs seems a bit light.

  3. mjay424 - Sep 9, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Chris Iannetta has worked very hard to increase his once unacceptable batting average and he’s succeed. To bench him now really is not good for morale nor does it earn respect in the clubhouse I imagine. I bet Jim Tracy is being told what to do.

    Wilin Rosario’s OBP was awful at Double-A. He will run into some home runs because of his excellent power but sooner or later, and likely sooner, he’ll be exposed by big league pitching and hitting in the low .200s or worse.

    Jordan Pacheco was once a much brighter prospect than he is now – his star has dimmed. He could be an offensive improvement over what the Rockies had earlier in the season and cheaper than Mark Ellis.

    It seems the Rockies are trying to force the issue more than let things develop naturally.

    In a year, maybe just a little more Josh Rutledge could be the answer at second base (playing shortstop now at High-A).

    Rosario will be at Triple-A to start the 2012 season.

    Colorado Rockies Prospects Report (google)
    Rockies Analyst (google)

  4. nvaliant - Sep 9, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Rocks know what they have in Iannetta. An excellent defensive catcher who will handle the pitchers even better. Hit .230 with a pretty good OBP. He is also garnering a lot of interest from good teams in the American League (i.e. the Red Sox) who don’t necessarily need a stud offensive catcher if he does everything else very well. Why wouldn’t they see what they have at the end of this lost season with Rosario? If he shows promise against Major League pitching and can hold his own defensively through the end of the year and in Spring Training next year than they have the option to trade Iannetta to improve the farm system. Sure Iannetta is a good locker room guy, but you know what guys like Tulo, Helton, and Cargo are all about? Winning a championship. If Rosario can transition into the starting role and the team can get some potential future contributors, the big guns on the team will undoubtedly sign off on the deal. Also, Kouzmanoff sucks, no one cares if he doesn’t really have a chance to prove his worth with Pacheco getting a lot of playing time at third. Rocks WILL make the playoffs next year

  5. bleachedpeace - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I would guess that the Rockies know that they are going to want Iannetta as their main guy next year but they want to find out if they want Rosario as their back-up. If they give him some chances to play when the season is already shot then the Rockies can find out if he might be ready and worth making the opening day roster next year.

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