Randall Delgado is expected to be back in the Gold Sox’s starting rotation come April 2016. The team is looking for the 29 year old righty to make great strides this year and bring his ERA down to under four.
Doug Fister and Clayton Kershaw were two of Colorado’s big signings this offseason so it is widely believed that they will both start the year in the rotation. Kershaw struggled in Minneapolis and Traverse City in 2018 but had a very strong 2017 season. The Gold Sox are hopeful that Kershaw will pitch like he once did and emerge as the club’s ace.
Fister is on a 2 year deal and got lit up his first preseason start. Gold Sox skipper Tommy Shields says that this isn’t a huge concern of his. “It was his first time out there since last season and he was more worried about getting the feel of his pitches back more than anything and we believe he did a fine job accomplishing that.” Tommy Shields said after the preseason opening game.
Francisco Liriano is set to make his Colorado debut after missing the 2018 season with a torn rotator cuff. In 2017 Liriano went 9-2 in 16 starts with a 2.82 ERA for the Syracuse Orange.
LHP Mac Marshall was the team’s first selection in the rule five draft and he is expected to be the team’s fifth starter this coming season but Tommy Shields has said “We could surely use him out of the bullpen if we felt that is what would give us the best chance to win games.”
It appears that Jeff Brown and Juliano Mercs are up to just are up to get some experience and work in before heading to Kanab. “We need to start really developing our minor leaguers” Brandon Zima said last week.
Relievers Yordano Ventura and Matt Wisler are expected to get plenty of innings this March and while it is possible one of these two snatch the last spot in the rotation it is much more likely that they head back to the bullpen and the Gold Sox put their eggs in rule five draft selection Mac Marshall’s basket.
There are plenty of other relievers on the roster as well. The most notable of which is obviously closer Jonathan Broxton who had a disappointing 2018 season with a plus 4 ERA and only 23 saves. It is not known what the Gold Sox’s plans are for closer but it seems like Broxton will be their best bet. Heath Hembree, Al Alburquerque, Justin Freeman, Doug Patrick, Jesse Biddle, Jhan Martinez, Donnie Joseph, Phil Coke, and Caleb Theilbar are all in contention to get spots on the 25 man roster come April. The bullpen is clearly where most of Colorado’s question marks lie.
Tommy Shields has said that Tony Sanchez and Christian Betancourt are in a spring competition this March to see who will be Gary Sanchez’s backup. Our exports believe that it will indeed be Sanchez who is in charge of relieving Sanchez.
The Sox have 12 infielders on the roster. SS Hak Ju Lee is more than definitely going to retain the roster spots he had last year and start at and SS. Joe Wendle is surely going to play 2B this season again after his .307 AVG in 2018.
The team is also very excited to have drafted INF Nolan Fontana in the rule 5 draft. The 27 year is known to have a very good glove but has struggled hitting his last 2 seasons in the minors.
The team looks very thin at first base so it seems that Ji Man Choi will probably get the promotion to every day starter, after the team lost first baseman Chris Davis to the Storm, despite a very poor showing in 42 games last season. However, there is rumors that an outfielder such as Alex Dickerson or Carlos Gonzalez may be put at the position.
The Gold Sox signed 3B Josh Donaldson this offseason to replace Moustakas. Tough shoes to fill but at the very least he should bring some power to the lineup.
That leaves eight other infielders on the roster and only one or two spots available. Look for signee Rio Ruiz, Wilmer Flores, or Tzu Wei Lin to grab the spot.
The starting outfield and DH roles are probably already set in stone with Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez, Alex Dickerson, and Dwight Smith Jr. returning to the club. The team has to decide who to be their fourth outfielder and it is going to be a tough decision between Barrett Barnes, Will Venable, and Carlos Tocci.
Its could be a very tough season for the Gold Sox. They are asking a lot out of a rotation with to many question marks. The team can succeed if and only if the starters take control of this team.