The Rockies’ wait to see longtime top prospect Brendan Rodgers get everyday at-bats at the MLB level will last a bit longer, as manager Bud Black announced to reporters Friday that Rodgers will miss at least a month with a strained hamstring (Twitter link via Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post).
Rodgers, 24, has been considered one of baseball’s top all-around prospects since the Rox selected him out of high school with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft. As with most teenaged prospects, his ascent through the minor league ranks took some time, but he debuted in the Majors in May 2019 after utterly crushing Triple-A pitching that year (.350/.413/.622).
Adjusting to the big leagues was a struggle for Rodgers, who hit poorly for his first few weeks before being optioned back to Triple-A. He was quickly recalled when the Rox suffered an injury on the big league roster, but Rodgers unfortunately never got a real chance to right the ship and show off the talent that made him such a touted prospect. Just five days after rejoining the MLB roster, Rodgers himself went on the IL due to what was initially termed a right shoulder impingement. The injury proved to be far worse, however, as the Rockies announced three weeks later that he’d undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum in that problematic shoulder.
Rodgers spent the early portion of last year’s shortened season finishing his rehab at the Rockies’ alternate training site. He was brought back to the big leagues in late August but only appeared in seven games before again going on the injured list due to lingering problems in that right shoulder. He didn’t return before season’s end.
Following the trade of Nolan Arenado this winter, Rodgers looked to have an avenue to everyday at-bats. Ryan McMahon and Josh Fuentes were expected to work primarily at the corners now, clearing a path for Rodgers to take everyday at-bats at second base. Looking beyond the 2021 season, he’d be the likely successor to Trevor Story in the seemingly inevitable event that he lands with another club (be it via free agency or even this summer via trade).
It’s a frustrating setback for the Rockies and their fans, although if there’s a silver lining, it’s that Rodgers’ shoulder seems to be fully healthy for the first time in two years. He was having a monster Spring Training through 10 games, hitting .348/.400/.652 with a pair of homers and a double through his first 25 trips to the plate. At some point early this season, he’ll likely be given an opportunity to seize an everyday job with at Coors Field, but today’s announcement means Rodgers will open the year on the 10-day IL. In the meantime, the Rox seem likely to fill out the starting infield with McMahon and the versatile Garrett Hampson.