Joe Gardner, a pitcher in the Colorado Rockies organization, will be fighting for a Major League roster spot this spring. What are the chances that Gardner will be on the 25-man roster?
The 24-year-old was part of the trade that saw starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenz go to the Cleveland Indians. Three of the four players that the Rockies got in return for Jimenz have spent time in the big leagues, including Drew Pomeranz who could be a member of the starting rotation, while Gardner still competes in Double-A.
The right-hander has posted decent numbers in the minors in which he has a career 31-25 record with a 3.65 earned run average and 323 strikeouts in 81 career games (76 starts). Gardner went 8-8 this past season with a 3.97 ERA and a team-high 99 strikeouts in 138 1/3 innings. He also had 2.04 groundouts to flyouts in 2012, which is something that definitely caught the eye of several members in the organization. His numbers in recent years is the reason why he was placed on the 40-man Spring Training roster, nothing more and nothing less.
“It’s good that you have those frontrunners like (Alex) White and Pomeranz, while I can kind of fly under the radar,” Gardner said. “We all came in together and we’re all here for the same goal. They’ve been talking and preaching ground balls, double plays, and I feel like I can help the team in that way, being a sinkerballer.
“But I don’t get upset that way. I’ve always been under the radar my whole life.”
The Tulsa Drillers (Rockies Double-A affiliate) had begun to use him as a reliever, which could be to get him better adjusted to the bullpen where he could finally catch his break in the majors. The Rockies already have a decently intact starting rotation, but they could use some help in the bullpen. This is where Gardner could be useful and give the team a much needed boost.
It is unknown if Gardner will be on the Rockies’ Opening Day roster, but what is known is that he certainly has what it takes to be one of the 25 men to help Colorado compete in the National League West.