DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies have been free swingers for as long as most of us can remember. Such is the case early in 2015, wherein the Rockies are last in the National League in walk rate and second in O-Swing percentage -- the number of pitches they swing at outside of the strike zone.
This coin has two sides, however; the Rockies are also second in the NL in line drive percentage, perhaps the best indicator that the team can continue to keep the batting averages (seventh) and power hitting (seventh in slugging) strong and even improve on them moving into the heart of the season.
When presented with these statistics, manager Walt Weiss takes a decidedly human approach. "I'm fine with the aggressive approach," Weiss said on Tuesday before the Rockies' game against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. "It's tough to tell a hitter ‘you need to walk more.' It's like telling a pitcher to throw harder or strike more guys out."
But that doesn't mean there is absolutely nothing to be done, says Weiss.
"You can make minor adjustments and have a solid approach and you can be more patient when the scoreboard tells you to," Weiss explained. "But I don't think you [should] completely revamp a hitter and change his approach."
The team is hitting the ball hard, and the statistics bear that out. Few would place the blame for too many losses this season on the offense, but this is a dynamic that should remain intriguing the deeper we get into the season.
There are some promising early signs in the plate patience department. Other than Justin Morneau and Carlos Gonzalez, whose numbers across the board are unimpressive thus far, the rest of the lineup all sport decent OBPs. Corey Dickerson's .314 is pretty low, but after that, Troy Tulowitzki sits at .340, leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon boasts a solid .379 and, of course, DJ LeMahieu is leading the team (as we all expected) with a .468 OBP.
Maybe the most promising thing, though, is that Nolan Arenado is actually walking more than striking out by a six-point (10 to 4) margin.
Either way, Weiss is confident in the ability of his players to put the bat on the ball and produce. "We're a talented offensive club, the manager quipped. "I think when we're aggressive, it puts heat on the other club."
We will see what 2015 will tell us ultimately about how sustainable such aggression is at the plate.