Thomas Harding discussed Nolan Arenado’s and Trevor Story’s recent power surge and how it ties in directly to their adjusted approach at the plate—an adjustment made with hitting coaches Dave Magadan and Jeff Salazar, who pointed out to the Rockies All-Star duo they have a nagging tendency to chase pitches in 3-1 and 3-2 counts at the plate. As a result, Nolan and Trevor are walking and reaching base more often, and hitting more dingers, too.
It’s a philosophy centered around, as Magadan puts it, the ability to “not look for the walk but accept the walk.” In the article, Harding points out some eye-popping statistics, such as Nolan’s and Trevor’s extra base hits increasing as their OBP’s rise, too. Both sluggers have the strike zone on lockdown, so to speak, and the Rockies are hoping their recent success carries over into 2020, as well.
If pessimism is your thing, Patrick Saunders’ article is just for you. Or—maybe—it’s the painful truth? According to Saunders, the window for contention has slammed shut on the Rockies for a number of reasons (poor performances and aging veterans tied to substantial contracts), and he doesn’t believe it will open again any time soon. In fact, Saunders portends that fans should get used to the idea that not only will 2020 be another bust, but 2021 could be, too, and both Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story might jump ship that year.
Seems a bit alarmist and sensationalist to me. It’s true, 2020 might not be a playoff season, but it’s hard to see how it could be worse than this year’s disaster. Plus, 2021 will offer a lot more spending flexibility as large contracts start coming off the books. The wound is fresh right now, so there’s a lot of pessimism around the Rockies, but there’s plenty of signs of life, and it’s not doomsday yet, folks.
Thomas Harding drops one of my favorite quotes immediately in this piece, remarking, “versatility is cool these days.” Well if versatility is cool, consider Garrett Hampson the Fonz. Hampson, fondly known as the Hampster by many, can come off the bench or start games. He plays middle infield (second base or short stop) and center field, too. He is one of the fastest men in baseball, excels at bunting, and now he’s showing off his pop, too.
As Harding points out, Hampson’s season started slow and it took him awhile to adjust to big-league pitching again. But in the seventeen games leading up to yesterday’s game against San Diego, Garrett slashed .302/.367/.535 with five of thirteen hits going for extra bases, three stolen bases, and a 115 wRC+.
He’s no lock, but he’s certainly trending toward making the Opening Day roster for 2020 in some capacity. Hampson’s versatility is definitely “hip with the times.”