The hottest story coming out of spring training so far is undoubtedly the second base job competition, and it’s a decision that will come down to the wire. Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and Pat Valaika all showed off their weapons again on Friday, with Ryan and Pat hitting homers, and Garrett stealing a base and scoring easily, making Bud Black’s choice for his starting 2B that much more difficult.
As Thomas Harding reports, though, it’s exactly the type of difficult decision Bud is lucky to have. All three guys have the flexibility to play multiple positions across the diamond and will likely contribute in the lineup no matter who starts the year at second.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, both Hampson and McMahon should be in the lineup on a regular basis, regardless of who is playing what position. They bring different styles of game to the Rockies—power vs. speed, but sometimes both—and will benefit from playing together. Hopefully Bud realizes this and we see RyMac driving in Hampson all year long.
The fellas over at Rox Pile, led by Luke Mullins, got together to discuss lineup construction for the 2019 Rockies. This time, however, they decided to build lineups not based on what they expect to happen, but what they hope will happen.
All three come to the same conclusion that most of us have. Garrett Hampson should be starting in this lineup, and while they have him starting in different positions, he’s hitting lead-off in each lineup. They tinker with the outfield a bit in each scenario, but the biggest takeaway for me was the total lack of inclusion for another particular 2B discussed above.
Jeffrey Paternostro and Jen Mac Ramos have the season preview for the Rockies from Baseball Prospectus. They discuss the Rockies offseason moves (both with an utter confusion for how the front office makes decisions), who they think will be the breakout player of the year (I could agree with either choice, but I lean towards Jeffrey here), and where they expect to see this team in the rankings at year’s end (two thumbs up).
Dave Magadan sat down with Rox Pile’s Kevin Henry for an exclusive interview to talk about is transition to becoming the Rockies hitting coach, how he plans on helping this offense improve in 2019, and how he is adapting to the technological advances and data driven nature of the game of baseball.
More importantly, Dave is already connecting with hitters. In particular, David Dahl has had a very positive experience with Magadan and says he likes him “a lot.” Even Bud Black had great things to say about his new coach: “He’s very soft-spoken in a lot of ways but it’s a pretty impactful message he sends... He’s been in their shoes. He’s been in the batter’s box in the big leagues. He knows what that is like and he is passionate about hitting.”
In another exclusive, Nolan Arenado talked to Vic Vela of Colorado Public Radio about his outlook for the season, his special connection to Colorado, life after the contract signing, and more. Nolan noted a particular pattern for both hitting and pitching that needs to improve—specifically how they were often down early in the game, and also not hitting well in later innings. If the rotation can prevent the offense from having to dig out of a hole more often, and the offense produces more evenly through the game, the Rockies will be in good shape to win games and possibly improve their record from last year.
David Adler of MLB.com used Statcast’s “Sprint Speed leaderboard” to rank all thirty teams based on who is sending out the speediest legs onto the field. The Rockies raced into the 7th spot (tied with the Twins) thanks to Garrett Hampson and Trevor Story. Story (29.6 ft/sec) is one of the fastest power and speed threats you’ll find in baseball, and Hampson (30.0 ft/sec) is just one of the fastest guys in baseball, period. He ranked 8th overall, and isn’t short on pop himself. These two will be tearing up the basepaths for years to come.
In case you missed it, and I don’t think many of you did, the Rockies held a basketball shooting contest of sorts and played in 70’s/80’s retro style. Adrian Garro from Cut4 shared the magical moment with a national audience, and MLB’s Thomas Harding had much of the insider videos to share on his Twitter account. There was a lot to see, but this 4-point game winner from Yency Almonte took the cake:
His game against the #Rangers was a bit rocky, but in the morning basketball contest, #Rockies RHP Yency Almonte drained a 4-point shot (something Bud Black instituted) for the win. pic.twitter.com/ChHiYiCS9h— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) March 8, 2019
P.S. Just look at the joy on Nolan Arenado’s face. He is so happy to be a part of this team.
And for some reason, we get a GIF of Dexter Fowler celebrating in Rockies garb. 2019!