Rockies Prospect Roundup: Slow Starts and Why We Shouldn’t Worry

Will Swanner - by Charlie Drysdale

Several of the very top Rockies prospects have struggled out of the gate, but Will Swanner isn't worried and neither should we.

We're about 15 games into the minor league season and so far there has been some disappointing performances from players with high expectations on their shoulders. Through Thursday three of the top five Rockies prospects - as voted on by Purple Row (PuRPs) - were putting up some disappointing numbers.



Games

Avg

OBP

SLG

OPS

Trevor Story

12

.136

.255

.250

.505

WIll Swanner

9

.125

.200

.250

.450

David Dahl

1

.000

.000

.000

.000


Probably the biggest disappointment of the season has to be in the actions of David Dahl. It's one thing when a player doesn't perform up to expectations, but quite another when something outside the game crosses the lines and keeps a player from performing at his best. David was the 10th selection in the 2012 draft and was voted the best athlete in the Rockies system by Baseball America. He was sent back to Extended Spring Training after playing in one game. The punishment was later revealed to be due to a missed flight and another event that was never disclosed.

Remember how hot Trevor Story started last season? He hit five home runs the first month and posted a .964 OPS. Well this month has been the opposite, Story has struggled in Modesto with only one home run and a .136 batting average. Trevor was the Rockies Supplemental First Round draft pick back in 2011. He had a solid debut in the Pioneer league before being promoted to Low-A Asheville in 2012 and leading the team to the SAL championship.

The other player struggling in his first stint in High-A is catcher Will Swanner with a .450 OPS. Will was a 15th round selection in the 2010 draft, committed to Pepperdine the Rockies enticed him to forego college and play in Casper, Wyoming instead. But Will isn't concerned about his slow start, as he told Modesto's Brian Van Der Beek:

"I'm not worried at all," Swanner said. "I mean, look at Todd Helton. He went two for his first 24, and if Todd Helton can do that, it makes me feel a little better. You just have to come out and do your work and get better. You can't focus on the first few games of the season."

Swanner is right, it's way too early to be worried about a slow start. It's almost like he's saying the sample size is way too small. In reality most players go through this type of slump at some point in their season. We just don't always notice it because the poor numbers are buried in their season tally.

Trevor Story for instance, posted a .539 OPS with no home runs in June last year. It barely registered with most people because it was surrounded by months with tremendous numbers. Back in 2011 Nolan Arenado struggled his first month in Modesto, putting up a pedestrian .620 OPS and scaring Purple Row voters who dropped him to fifth in the Spring PuRPs voting. By the end of the season Arenado was named the Arizona Fall League MVP and had vaulted into nearly everyone's Top 100 prospects list.

Examples of bad months and the players final result:


Bad Month/Yr

OPS

FinalOPS

Trevor Story

Jun-2012

.539

.872

Will Swanner

Aug-2012

.627

.914

Nolan Arenado

Apr-2011

.623

.836


Even David Dahl's poor showing this season isn't one we should be too upset over. Remember, he spent all off-season in Phoenix working out preparing for this year, which shows heart and dedication to his craft. One mistake that was probably compounded by poorly chosen words shouldn't change our view of the young player. He's still the youngest Rockies prospect to make an appearance this year-- by nearly a year and a half.

There's still months of baseball left for Dahl and the other struggling athletes to prove again how good they are. Besides, adversity can be a character builder for a young athlete and anyone willing to play in front of fifty thousand fans should have the attitude of, "Give me this mountain, give me these challenges."

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