The Albuquerque Isotopes have an affinity for triples this season.
Entering Friday, they led all of professional baseball with 70 triples, paced by an unlikely individual leader.
Third baseman Derrik Gibson, whose previous career high in a season was just five in 2014, already has 12 triples this year. That puts him one away from the team record of 13 set by Robert Andino back in 2007.
“It’s been fun as a team the way we hit,” Gibson said. “Just to be a part of this type of offense makes it really fun. I think we all try to go out there and pull for each other, keep hitting and whatever happens record-wise, we’re excited (either way).”
Isotopes Park is certainly a triples-friendly ballpark with its deep gaps in left and right-center. The team’s success this year goes beyond just taking advantage of that; it really goes back to the start of the season and the composition of the roster, Gibson said.
“When we first got here (Glenallen Hill) told us that’s the makeup of our team—we’re going to grind and we’re going to try to take extra-base hits when we can, go first to third, be aggressive,” Gibson said. “He asked us what’s the most home runs each of us has hit in one season. We weren’t some masher team.
“I think that’s just our identity and that’s the Rockies’ identity. We’re going to play the game hard and play it the right way. They instilled that in us in spring training.”
Overall, it has been a fairly productive year for Gibson. He has hit .251/.311/.406 with five home runs and 40 RBI while going 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts. Defensively has been solid in the field as well.
The Colorado Rockies are Gibson’s fourth organization. He was a second-round pick by the Boston Red Sox out of a Delaware high school in 2008. Gibson got as far as Triple-A Pawtucket by 2014 before becoming a free agent. He played in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization in 2015 and the New York Mets’ organization in 2016.
“I guess like anything it keeps you guessing,” Gibson said. “It can be stressful sometimes but you get to see the organizations are run. It’s a pleasure to have been a part of four organizations. This one has been a great one to be a part of.
“It’s great, too, because you come across so many guys who’ve gone on to the big leagues. You get to keep in touch with them. It’s a pleasure to have played with those guys. I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve got is seeing guys be successful and having a good relationship with them.”
The Isotopes’ game with the Fresno Grizzlies was rained out Friday night. Entering the day, Albuquerque (58-59) was a half-game behind first-place Salt Lake (59-59), at least putting the team in a playoff race in the dog days of August.
“It’s just like how it is in April and May, you’ve got to just try to take care of business,” Gibson said. “It’s good that in August where you’re still playing for something. I’ve been a part of organizations where you’re at this point of the season and you have no shot and it stinks. It becomes even more of a grind.”
The Isotopes and Grizzlies will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 4:35 p.m.