The Colorado Rockies led off spring training with a bang, winning their first game 8-4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Desmond went 3-for-3 in his debut, Story hit a home run in his first live-action game since injuring his thumb, and every person in the starting lineup except for Mark Reynolds got on base one way or another. The game, the story, the flow. All good things.
I’m ecstatic that real, professional, major league-quality baseball is back. What was I going to do instead, watch basketball? Nah, Super Bowls aren’t my thing either. I’m a baseball-only guy. I’m excited I’ll be flying out to Arizona in two weeks to see (and chat) about baseball. And yeah, it’s wise to take the wins and losses and stats with a bit of skepticism as hitters get their timing back and pitchers work on rebuilding their stamina for the regular season, but that doesn’t make these games or these player’s efforts any less important. Some of those in camp are fighting for for a job. Many of the players I met the first time I was in the Rockies clubhouse are no longer with the team. Their struggles should be taken seriously and their efforts acknowledged. It doesn’t get any more real than that.
One of the few nice things about baseball having an offseason is it gives baseball researchers time to research and baseball readers, whether they are players or managers, time to read up on that research. Last spring, the hot topics were spin rate, StatCast and outfield depth. This year, players are talking about launch angles. One element from David Laurilla’s FanGraphs piece that I found interesting is that Chris Denorfia thinks that being knowledgeable about the current research can make him, as a player, attractive to a team.
We’ve got a curse? Neat!
Liberties with the title aside, the 2016 Rockies had a lot of good things going for them and 2017 should be better. We’ve started to see the elements of a lot of the talk put into practice. Beyond just saying the right things, it appears the players are actually implementing the adjustments needed to succeed. More importantly, we’re starting to see talent across the roster and vertical depth in the organization.
Not quite related to performance, but one thing Crasnick says Jon Gray will be implementing is a haircut, donating his flow to Locks of Love.