In addition to DanO’s desire to acquire all the young starting pitchers candidates (you likely have seen the list by now) this past off-season there is another trend to his player shopping targets. While DanO has an appropriate share of Dominican Republic players like Nicasio, Rogers, Rosario, Cabrera and Gomez, he has doubled down the “Venezuelan connection” by adding Scutaro and Hernandez.
At any single point in time you can estimate (Google this) that there will be about 50 Venezuelan players in the MLB. Now without trying to stretch those numbers, I count 8 Rockies players that come from Venezuela on the 40 man roster, and the kicker is that all eight have a very good chance to make the Opening Day Rockies 25 man roster:
- Betancourt (your 2012 closer)
- Chacin (probably the #2 starting pitcher)
- Escalona (7th inning guy in the bullpen)
- Gonzalez (All star outfielder)
- Hernandez (Starting catcher)
- Herrera (Defensive infield utility option)
- Moscoso (5th starter/bullpen candidate)
- Scutaro (Starting second baseman)
25% of the Rockies “40 man roster” = players from Venezuela!
So barring injury the guys that might be questionable on this list are Escalona, Herrera and Moscoso, however in each case the chances are at least 50/50 that these players make the Opening Day roster as well. Without looking it up I believe that Chacin, Escalona and Herrera were the only Venezuelan born players listed above that were developed internally by the Rockies through their Latin American baseball facility.
Players that come from Venezuela that have already “come and gone” from the Rockies roster include Henry Blanco, Jorge Julio, Jose Lopez (the V was all that this guy had), Melvin Mora, Ronny Paulino and last but not least Yorvit Torrealba.
One of the biggest off-season targets that DanO failed in his attempts to acquire was Martin Prado, who is also from Venezuela! And, I would probably bet that if DanO had it to do over Felipe Paulino would still be on the roster (that had to hurt watching him blank the Rockies last week)? Nope sorry about that – my fact checking shows Felipe is actually from the Dominican Republic – but it still hurt anyway.
The point here is that these numbers are more than a mere coincidence; DanO has been specifically targeting Venezuelan born players to fill MLB roster holes as well as players that fit within the Rockies clubhouse culture that he is desperately trying to change. That’s not to suggest that these players are anything other than competent MLB players, because the latest additions in Scutaro and Hernandez are certainly solid MLB performers.
if you understand DanO’s trend here, the next time the Rockies are looking to fill a roster hole, you could do a lot worse than looking at a Venezuelan list of players for that position in an attempt at guessing who DanO might be trying to acquire.
As just one crazy example, Miguel Cabrera might be DanO’s next target to replace Todd Helton at first base when the Rockies icon ever retires.