Drew Stubbs is having an awful spring.
Maybe that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but for now, it's worth worrying about, if only a little bit. Stubbs has struck out in nearly half of his plate appearances -- 23 Ks in 48 PAs -- and is hitting just .195 against pitchers that shouldn't be dominating him like they are.
Stubbs thinks he knows what is causing the problem, as he explained to Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post:
"I think 98 percent of it is mental. I've felt good in the cage and good in (batting practice), so it's just a matter of getting back comfortable in the game and being able to slow things down a little bit and regain my timing."
The 30-year-old outfielder went on to say that he's fortunate there's still time to work out the kinks, which is only kind of right; the Rockies have just four Cactus League games remaining, and Stubbs is going to have to split time with some other players during that time.
If it's an issue of confidence, Stubbs might be kind of screwed at this point. But there could be more to it than that.
Stubbs is the owner of an 8.6 percent career walk rate. This spring, he is drawing walks at a 14.6 percent clip. I don't have data for number of pitches seen in spring games, but the elevated walk rate is suggestive of deeper pitch counts, which could play a big part in Stubbs striking out so much.
Perhaps once the regular season starts, Stubbs will get back to a more aggressive approach. That doesn't benefit the Rockies as a whole (I'll have more on that later today or tomorrow), but it will probably help Stubbs get somewhere closer to his 29.7 percent career strikeout rate while still allowing him to be productive with the bat.
Washington Nationals top my rankings of MLB teams - MLB - ESPN
Buster Olney has the Rockies at No. 28 in his preseason rankings. A note on the purple pinstripers:
As Patrick Saunders noted on the podcast the other day, the Rockies are focused more on fastball/changeup guys, in the organization’s latest attempt to gain some footing with its pitching. I remember the Colorado front office loosely trying this approach many years ago, after the first wave of Rockies pitchers learned that breaking pitches tend to flatten out in the team’s home games, but that was back in the middle of the steroid era; maybe the context has changed in 2015, in a generation of pitchers who throw harder and hitters who tend to swing and miss more.
Top 50 MLB prospects update - ESPN
Keith Law has updates on three Colorado Rockies prospects who are among the game's top 50.
On David Dahl:
I'm expecting big things from Dahl this year, as he'll return to the high-A California League after turning 21 next week and shouldn't have the slow start he had in 2014 after missing nearly all of the previous year. Dahl is an outstanding athlete who is in tremendous shape -- one might say it's the finest condition of his existence to date -- and projects as a power/speed threat with plus defense.
On Jon Gray:
Gray's taken a small step backwards, with a longer arm swing that eliminates any deception he might have had in his delivery, along with slightly reduced stuff this spring. Hitters will be all over his four-seamer if he can't find a way to hide the ball better or to get some sink or plane on the pitch, at which point he's more of a big, durable, low-ceiling prospect rather than the potential No. 1 or No. 2 starter he was coming out of Oklahoma. Shortening that arm stroke would help.
On Ryan McMahon:
McMahon, like Dahl, will face a big test moving out of hitter-friendly Asheville this year, but both players are outstanding athletes who've shown the ability to make adjustments on the fly. The bigger challenge for McMahon will be improving his recognition of off-speed stuff from lefties, and adjusting to cover the outer third of the plate when they spin breaking balls away from him. His defense is already an asset, and he has middle-of-the-order upside with the bat.
BBTN 100: Players No. 51-100 - ESPN
Carlos Gonzalez (64) and Nolan Arenado (77) show up in the bottom half of ESPN's player rankings.
Wisdom serving Tulowitzki well at 30 | rockies.com
Troy Tulowitzki is trying to be more even keeled in his old age. Side note, doesn't it seem that Tulo has been much more talkative with the media in this year than in years past? I'm not sure if that's a product of him being more open and, for lack of a better word, mature, or if it has to do with the Rockies' public relations overhaul. It's nice either way.
Paige: Rockies’ strategy of Draft and Development is a big lie — The Sports Show
I'm not going to watch this video. You guys can watch it and tell me why the Rockies are "liars."