Kaz Matsui was a very important player in the Colorado Rockies' Cinderella fun in 2007.
Matsui, as a free agent, signed with the Houston Astros and is no longer part of the Rockies organization.
The question that is now on the minds of all Rockies fans is:
The Rockies pride themselves on having a roster consisting of many homegrown players. To the outside world, many of these players have never been heard of.
The Rockies have three choices for second base: Jayson Nix, Clint Barmes, and Ian Stewart.
Jayson Nix (Colorado Springs Sky Sox)
Nix has been very impressive this spring so far.
He even impressed many scouts last spring, but due to Kaz Matsui, he was left off the Opening Day roster and designated for assignment in Colorado Springs where he spent the entire season.
Nix has a better bat than Matsui, in terms of power. Nix could potentially be a 20-home run hitter. His speed is above average, but is not considered to be a dangerous base stealer.
It would not be probable to see Nix hitting in the two-hole as Matsui did.
Look to see Nix hitting in the seven-hole behind Hawpe.
Defensively, Nix is solid. He had a great year defensively in Colorado Springs. His only trouble on defense would be his quickness and range. He will not be able to get the ball deep into the hole and still make a play on the ball to get the out.
Clint Barmes (Colorado Springs Sky Sox)
Clint Barmes is no stranger to the pressure of the big leagues.
He was the starting shortstop for the Rockies in his rookie season.
He was sent down to Colorado Springs after he broke his collarbone while carrying deer meat to his apartment.
He has bounced back and forth between AAA and the big leagues, mainly used as a utility player or to give Clint Hurdle an extra bat off of the bench.
In his rookie year, Barmes was an early candidate for Rookie of the Year.
He has a powerful swing and, like Nix, could hit 20-30 home runs.
Barmes has the ability to steal bases and is a skilled bunter, which will be a big asset if Willy Taveras can get on base.
Defensively, Barmes can easily get to the ball in the hole. He proved that when he was playing shortstop before he got injured. However, it appears that he is a natural shortstop and the transition to second base may have a mental effect on his play.
When it comes to turning two, Barmes is one of the best in the business.
Ian Stewart (Minor Leagues)
Ian Stewart has tremendous power.
His natural position is third base.
The only reason he is not on the roster is Garrett Atkins. Stewart and Atkins both have power but Atkins will get the job without question.
Stewart is trying to make the roster as a second baseman.
The problem with Stewart is going to be the transition for the hot corner to a position that has to turn two. Stewart is not used to the art of double plays up the middle.
Stewart also has limited range, but is very athletic. He is also a smart kid and is very coachable.
It would be a huge mistake to keep Stewart off of the Opening Day roster.
As we Rockies fans know, Hurdle has done stupid stuff before, this wouldn't surprise any of us. Even if Stewart doesn't get the second base job, he will be very productive as a pinch hitter and a utility player.
Opening Day second baseman for the Rockies will be Jayson Nix.