Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pacheco makes impact, attention turns to Pomeranz

Jordan Pacheco is "the other guy."

Despite a great spring training which nearly saw him make the opening day roster, Pacheco is not the prospect that everyone is focused on.

With the attention focused on Wilin Rosario, the next great Rockies catching prospect, and Drew Pomeranz, the prized-possession that made the Ubaldo Jimenez trade become a reality, Pacheco has been lost in the shadows.

For one, he is older than most prospects, the infielder-turned catcher-turned infielder again was drafted out of college. That means that he is older than the average prospect. At age 25, Pacheco will be cast into the bucket of being too old to turn into an impact player at the big league level.

Pacheco is already seeing those conclusions being made. The experts are calling him nothing more than a utility infielder who will have minimal impact. According to their predictions, he will be more of an Omar Quintanilla type of player, or Jonathan Herrera.

The only problem with those conclusions is that Pacheco still has his chance to show that he can get it done at the big league level.

On Saturday, he once again showed that he has the mentality to prove his doubters wrong. With the game suddenly tied up in the sixth inning, Pacheco blasted a solo home run to give the Rockies the lead for good. The first big league home run of his career was a shot to center field. The solo home run gave the Rockies the lead, but Pacheco wasn't done. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the team still clinging to that lead, Pacheco came through with a bases-loaded two-run single, giving the Rockies a cushion.

It is easy to write Pacheco off. However, the same experts that relegate the 25-year old to a utility role are also the same experts who said that both Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart would be regulars on the National League All-Star roster. With all due respect to Iannetta, who has made strides in his game, no one confuses him with a regular All-Star.

With the Rockies glaring holes at both second base and third base, Pacheco should not be written off before he gets a chance to prove himself as a player who can be a starter, not just a fill-in.

With Pacheco seeming confident at the big league level, all eyes turn towards Drew Pomeranz, who will make his Major League debut on Sunday.

His debut is odd, if nothing else. He will be 22 days removed from an emergency appendectomy, which at the time ended his season. However, he was back throwing a baseball less than a week later, and made another start for Tulsa last week.

There should be plenty of pressure on the left-hander. With the odd circumstances, to go along with the fact that he should have all of the nerves of making his big league debut. That, on top of the fact that Pomeranz is 15 months removed from being drafted and has just over 100 minor league innings under his belt should make for an interesting debut.

Obviously, nothing will be determined by one outing. Considering the surgery and the time off due to it, Pomeranz probably won't go past the fifth inning. Still, the impression that he leaves in his first outing will leave a lasting impression for disgruntled Rockies fans. If he looks bad, there will certainly be fans calling for the head of Dan O'Dowd for trading the best pitcher to don a Rockies uniform for a pitcher who doesn't show potential.

Whether Pomeranz has success on Sunday or not should not be a determining factor in how wise the trade of Jimenez was. That decision will be made well into the 2012 season, once both Pomeranz and Alex White have had a chance to get comfortable on the big league stage.

Regardless, watching what Pomeranz brings to the table should be very interesting. A successful outing could go a long way to bring back interest and excitement from a burned out Rockies fan base.

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