It wasn’t long ago the season felt like it was in danger of being a failure, with the Rockies nearly falling into last place in the division with a completely stalled offense. M(a)y how things can change. In the last calendar month the Rockies went 16-10 and led the NL in on-base and slugging percentage while leading all of baseball in batting average. They have climbed back into the playoff hunt and, as Thomas Harding writes, are still hungry for more.
Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado have led the charge for the revitalized Rockies, with Nolan slashing an otherworldly .425/.479/.783 over 106 at-bats in May, and Trevor adding 8 home runs, 30 runs scored, and 23 RBI over the same period. As a team they are taking more competitive at-bats, striking out less, walking more, and looking for good pitches to hit. It’s great for their stats, sure, but most importantly it’s showing up in the win column again.
Aniello Piro has more details on the Rockies remarkable month of May, including Trevor Story’s career night against the Blue Jays, German Márquez’s defense of his Silver Slugger award (as well as his dominance on the mound), and Raimel Tapia’s emergence as an effective leadoff batter.
Aniello also mentions it, but June could be a make or break month for this club and its playoff hopes. There is always the “June swoon” to beware of, but the Rockies are riding some major momentum into the summer months and appear to have some magic left in those black vests. As noted, the Rockies scored 183 runs in May—the most they’ve scored in a single month since August of 2016—and they’ll hope to keep their lethal offense rolling.
To win that many games and score that many runs in a single month, you have to have contributions up and down the lineup from all of your hitters. This has been especially true for the Rockies and even includes the often criticized and frequently berated Ian Desmond.
Not only has Desmond found ways to contribute, he’s just been good, as Aaron Hurt points out. In May, Ian slashed .319/.430/.597 and hit seven doubles, two triples, and three home runs—good for a 153 wRC+ over 72 at-bats. This year he has increased his fly ball rate and decreased his ground ball rate to the best they’ve been since 2013 (36.5% and 44.3% respectively), while upping his hard hit rate (41.4%) to the best it’s been in his entire career.
Desmond seems to be thriving in more of a platoon roll, sitting against righties more often and buckling down against lefties. He will continue to get at-bats, and if this trend continues they will will actually be well-deserved AB’s, but hopefully Jeff Bridich and Bud Black allow Tapia to own his outfield position even when Charlie Blackmon returns—it’s proving to be an effective method to keep Ian Desmond effective, too.
Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon are proving us all right—they both need to be in the Rockies lineup as much as possible. Despite splitting time at second base and having to share the keystone, Ryan and Brendan have both been thriving since the Rockies called up their top prospect to the big leagues. Thomas Harding writes about the duo’s mentality of competing and pushing each other to be better, Bud Black’s plans for his young infielders, shows just how good the two have been since becoming major league teammates.
On the farm
Ryan Castellani struggled once again for the ‘Topes on Saturday night, giving up eight runs over just three innings of work and walked five batters. Garrett Hampson and Pat Valaika won’t be forgotten, as both had multi-hit games and still carry impressive batting averages.
It was a one-sided affair down in Asheville, and Coco Montes and Daniel Montano both had big days for the Tourists, but most of the damage was done by Danny Edgeworth, a 23rd round pick in the 2017 draft who is slashing .303/.384/.553 for Asheville this season.
Dominican Summer League action got underway yesterday and DSL Colorado started off with a bang. Warming Bernabel (amazing baseball name) went 4-for-4 with a double and a home run, Hanser Valerio had three hits (two doubles) and five RBI, and Brayan Castillo pitched five innings of one run ball while striking out seven batters.