Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Another subpar performance and shoulder injury leads to questions about the young infielder’s future.
Welcome to the 2020 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2020. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.
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No. 33, Brendan Rodgers: -0.5 rWAR
The short season in 2020 treated Brendan Rodgers much like the previous year where his opportunity to break out was stalled by a crowded infield and a significant injury. The Rockies’ number one prospect entering 2020, many hoped this would be the season that he would break out. The front office and Bud Black, however, chose to keep him bottled up at the alternate training site to begin the season until he was called up to the big leagues on August 19.
On the field performance
It’s almost unfair to grade Rodgers’ performance in 2020. With a mere 21 plate appearances, he had no real opportunity to get comfortable. His first appearance was as a mid-game substitution on August 19 against the Houston Astros where he belted a two-run single, notching his only RBIs on the season. He ended the season going 2-for-21 with one double.
Again, there’s nothing conclusive that can come from such a small sample, but it’s encouraging that Rodgers reached a maximum exit velocity of 112.8 miles per hour according to Statcast, which ranked him 56th among all hitters in 2020 for maximum exit velocity. On the downside, the small sample was really bad. Despite the raw tools, he’s been unable to show he can contribute at the major league level. Now, with a total of 102 plate appearances over the last two seasons, he has a grand total of three doubles, zero homers and an OPS of .462.
Rodgers’ departure from this season was hastened by a trip to the injured list on August 31 with a right shoulder capsular strain. Although not considered a serious injury, it did sideline Rodgers for the remainder of the 2020 season. It’s also the same shoulder that required surgery last offseason. This, along with his performance in the majors so far, brings a lot of concern to his future outlook.
Where to go from here
Nothing has really changed for Rodgers from a year ago. He is still looking at a crowded infield that includes Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Garrett Hampson, and Ryan McMahon. He finished the year as a big leaguer and will be expected to start next year in the MLB ranks. As long as he’s able to get to and through spring training healthy, he will likely be a bench bat and backup to McMahon at second base and Story at shortstop. He remains a breakout candidate at age 24, and the possibility that he could rake in a Rockies uniform the same way he has in the minor leagues is certainly something to hope for in 2021.