Rockies going young with Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco

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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.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves