Colorado Rockies Should Give Tim Wheeler Playing Time in September

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IAugust 31, 2012

Harry How/Getty Images North America
Harry How/Getty Images North America

When rosters expand this weekend all around baseball, prospects and forgotten veterans will get a chance to play in the majors again and essentially audition for next season.

The Colorado Rockies, who have been out of contention for most of the year, should take advantage of September to take a long look one of their 2009 first-round picks, Tim Wheeler.

The 32nd pick in the 2009, Wheeler was the free-agent compensation for reliever Brian Fuentes, who went to the Angels. A left-handed power hitter from CSU Sacramento, he exploded in 2011 at age 23 for Double-A Tulsa.

In 138 games, he clubbed 33 homers and posted a .900 OPS. He looked like the type of power hitter that was going to thrive in Coors Field. Throw in the 21 steals and the young outfielder looked like the total package.

However, a hamate injury at the beginning of the season slowed his power numbers in Triple-A Colorado Springs, and has prevented him from making the leap to the majors.

He has only two homers this season and his slugging percentage has dipped from .535 to .397. But his doubles total has remained steady (28 in 2011 and 27 this season) while his batting average has gone up from .287 to .294.

He is a talented hitter who should be given a shot in the big leagues. With Eric Young hurt and Carlos Gonzalez slumping, now is the time to see if outfield depth can be found from within the organization.

Besides, where better in the world to regain a power stroke than in Coors Field?

He will be 25 years old next season. There is no need to have him rot in the minors. If he is a big leaguer, give him the stage.

Call him up and put him in. No time like now to see what he can do.