4.1 scoreless innings, one hit allowed, and nine strikeouts: Left-hander Phillip Diehl has punched out nearly 70 percent of the batters he’s faced in the Cactus League.
Diehl throws a fastball/slider mix, using both at a roughly equal pace in 2019. The former Louisiana Tech Bulldog appeared in 10 Rockies games last year, pitching to a 7.36 ERA but getting his MLB feet wet. 2019 was his first season in the Rockies organization, after being drafted by the Yankees in 2016 and later working up to their Double-A squad. He spent most of 2019 in Triple-A Albuquerque.
Tyler Kinley has also gone to work on the mound in Arizona. The right-hander is coming off 52 games in a Marlins uniform last year, and his transition to Colorado has him throwing for five scoreless frames this spring.
Thomas Harding wrote in late February “there is no competition for the Rockies’ closer role in 2020.” Wade Davis has posted two scoreless innings of his own this spring suggesting a level of regained confidence, albeit a small sample. Quotes from Bud Black supplemented: “We have a guy who’s done it for a long period of time.” “Our thought is that we’d like for Wade to be our guy.” Rockies fans have optimistic reason to believe Davis can settle in more effectively with that recognition—paired with an auspicious National League saves title in 2018 (43).
RoxPile also addresses a huge bright spot in backup catching candidates. Drew Butera leads the team in spring OPS among guys with more than one at-bat. Elias Diaz isn’t far behind with fourth best.
Both MLB tenants of Salt River Fields squared off Friday in the first sellout this spring. Colorado threw seven different pitchers for the 12,000-plus in attendance.
The most notable performances offensively came from Garrett Hampson, going 3-for-3, Ryan McMahon, going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI’s, and Daniel Murphy, going 2-for-4. The starting infield on Friday went a collective 7-for-13.
Bryan Shaw threw the eighth inning, allowing one hit and holding the Diamondbacks scoreless. He had previously allowed five earned runs this spring in less than three innings, so Friday was a great step in the right direction.
Brendan Rodgers flew out to center in his only at-bat Friday against the Diamondbacks. Thursday was his first action since undergoing right labrum surgery last summer. He collected two hits in Thursday’s contest to kick off his return.
There remains little reason to rush an extensive recovery from labrum surgery, but going 2-for-3 in his first contest back is a great sign. He has been used exclusively in the lineup as a designated hitter this spring; his time spent in the field may be a key indicator on his early regular season availability.
This article tempts the elementary schooler equipped with colored pencils to happily run wild. If the Players Weekend is meant to have fun and display creativity, it seems fitting to involve youthful minds in that fun and creativity.
2020 is Nike’s first year outfitting Major League Baseball, and they have a prime spot to garner attention to some flashy, fun uniforms for that weekend. Youthful-aged fan involvement can serve as prime organic advertising to a younger demographic.
“What this indicates is player-led cultural change. The fact that it’s player driven is significant.” It’s fun to catch a glimpse inside the mind of Charlie Blackmon, and the analytical collaboration he has reportedly prompted through the organization.