The Colorado Rockies Charlie Blackmon and two other players have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The news comes as Major League Baseball announces a return to play in roughly one month. There is plenty of time for players to recover in isolation but this will be a serious concern for all involved as baseball returns. The Denver Post announced the positive results late Tuesday night.
After the three players tested positive, all of the other players who were working out at Coors Field were tested for coronavirus. https://t.co/SdiUn2AES5
— Denver Post Rockies (@DPRockies) June 24, 2020
Rockies Charlie Blackmon Test Positive for COVID-19
This could mean big things for one of the Rockies’ most famous and productive players. He hit .314/.364/.576 with 32 home runs in 634 plate appearances in 2019. Blackmon put up a 123 OPS+ last year, which was the third-best in his nine years in the majors. He isn’t a great defender anymore but his bat is one of the most important in the lineup.
The Post also announced that minor league pitchers Phillip Diehl and Ryan Castellani tested positive after recent workouts. Diehl pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Rockies last year with a 7.36 ERA and eight strikeouts. He wasn’t much better in AAA-Albuquerque but he was having a good spring before everything shut down. His 3.60 ERA and ten strikeouts to no walks in five innings made him an extended bullpen candidate in 2020.
Castellani hasn’t reached the majors yet but is also getting close to a major league debut. He pitched 43 1/3 innings for Albuquerque last year with an 8.31 ERA and 47 strikeouts to 30 walks. Castellani has battled injuries but has a starter’s frame at 6’4″, 223-pounds. His Arizona Fall Leagues results showed promise with a 2.16 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. There is still time for him to develop at just 24-years-old but he needs to overcome this illness and get back on the field.
What This Means for the Future
Blackmon is the story here. There is time for him to recover but the longterm effects of the illness are still unknown. It is unknown how much the team will push him when he is back. The Rockies could use a combination of prospect Sam Hilliard and bench players Raimel Tapia and Yonathan Daza to cover if he doesn’t play every day. Diehl and Castellani wouldn’t have been candidates for the opening day bullpen, but they are still relief options in 2020 assuming there are no lingering issues when baseball fully resumes in July.
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