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The emergence of Yonathan Daza

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, June 21, 2021

Let me just start this off by saying I apologize in advance to Yonathan Daza and all Rockies fans for doing this.

I say this because throughout this season, I’ve written about individual players and their improvements like Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia, and almost immediately after my pieces on them were published, they went into slumps. For instance, I wrote about McMahon back on April 26th when he was hitting .274 and slugging .571, the following two weeks he hit .224 and slugged .327. Then on May 10th I wrote about Tapia’s brilliance with the bat as his BA was up to .314 and beginning with his very next game and lasting for the next three weeks Tapia would hit .151 in that span. I tried to put this Daza piece off for awhile but he’s doing so well that I just couldn’t resist.

Scratch that, Yonathan Daza hasn’t just been doing well, he’s been bonkers for almost a month now! In his last 20 games, he’s slashed an unreal .375/.423/.458. He’s exceeded any and all expectations after coming into the season nearly on the bubble of making the roster with no remaining minor league options.

Now, he’s an integral part of the lineup and he’s now hitting for a .328 BA, a 104 WRC+, .327 BA with RISP, .309 BA with two outs and strikes out on only 18.7% of his at-bats. That’s Raimel Tapia level stuff right there. He now has over 200 plate appearances on the season so his numbers on the year should start to garner more attention.

Speaking of Raimel Tapia, he and Yonathan Daza are incredibly similar offensive players in a few different ways. Daza’s K% that I just mentioned is second on the team to Tapia’s ridiculous 13.9 K%. This is because of their ability to make contact with just about any pitch represented by Daza’s 22% whiff rate and Tapia’s 15% whiff rate. Those abilities make them really aggressive at the plate with some of the highest chase rates (Daza 32%, Tapia 35%) and lowest walk rates (Daza 5.6%, Tapia 6.6%) in the league. Daza and Tapia are also both ground ball hitters who put the ball down on the infield 55% and 64% of the time respectively. Their success is also because of where they do it, they’re very well capable of taking the ball to all parts of the field and utilizing their above average speed to turn balls in play into hits (Daza’s got a team high .399 BABIP).

In a way, Daza’s game feels like it’s just about a year or so behind in evolution to Tapia’s. I’m not saying Daza is or will be just like Tapia but the tendencies and numbers are similar to the 2019 and 2020 versions of Raimel Tapia. Which makes sense considering Daza missed out on a year of experience last season.

He’s piping hot right now, but it’s not wild to believe this isn’t close to what Daza will be. After all, the man has hit above .300 at every minor league level he’s played at. This is the major leagues and not the minor league all-stars but it’s in Daza’s DNA to hit. It can’t be ignored that the more at-bats manager Bud Black has given him over the season, the more he’s hit, culminating into the impressive showing he’s put on in the last month.

The outfield of Raimel Tapia, Yonathan Daza and Charlie Blackmon has been a lot of fun to watch and is one of the reasons for the Rockies success in the last week. It might sound a little crazy to say outloud but they’ve been one of the best pure hitting outfields in baseball this month. If Daza can keep hitting anywhere near as good as he has, then the Rockies may have found their starting outfield for the next couple of years. Unless, they did until I just jinxed it all.

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Austin Gomber Has Adjusted to Life at Coors Field | FanGraphs

This was written just a day before Gomber felt “forearm tightness” in his left arm but it’s still an interesting read nonetheless. Luke Hooper takes a closer look at just how Austin Gomber has been able to have so much success at Coors Field.

Injuries & Roster Moves: Gomber on IL | MLB.com

If you missed it, the Rockies made a series of moves in the last few days. Most notably placing Austin Gomber on the 10-day IL yesterday and selecting the contract of RHP Joe Harvey from Triple-A Albuquerque. Here’s a list of current injuries and recent moves made to keep you up to date.

What assistant GM Jon Weil’s departure means | Rox Pile

The recent news of assistant GM Jon Weil leaving the Rockies organization has flown a little under the radar but could have major implications for the club and front office that was already thin to begin with. Weil is said to have been an excellent evaluator of talent and was respected as such by many around the league. He was reportedly instrumental in the acquisition for Germán Márquez in 2016 and his loss could be a sign of things to come.

On the farm

Triple-A: Reno Aces 7, Albuquerque Isotopes 5

In Reno, Nevada the Isotopes fell to the Aces largely in part to a five run seventh inning by Reno. Jon Gray made his first rehab start and gave up two runs in four innings with six strikeouts. He threw 62 total pitches last night and actually got a two-run RBI single to give the Isotopes the lead in the second inning. Alan Trejo went 2-for-4 with both a double and a triple. Sam Hilliard hit one out of the park for his eighth home run on the season as did Greg Bird for his seventh.

Double-A: New Hampshire Fisher Cats 8, Hartford Yard Goats 5

Back east, the Fisher Cats got the best of the Yard Goats in a high scoring affair. Starter Garrett Schilling had a rough go of it, giving up ten hits for five runs including two home runs in just 4 13 innings. First baseman/corner outfielder Todd Czinege had a 2-for-3 night with a home run and a walk. Outfielder Willie Abreu had a 2-for-4 game that included three RBI’s. Since returning from the IL just few days ago, Abreu is 6-for-13 with eight RBI’s.

High-A: Spokane Indians 12, Tri-City Dust Devils 2

The Spokane Indians won their third straight game against the Dust Devils in a Sunday night blowout. The Indians were able to have their way with the Dust Devils as they recorded 15 hits as a team and were able to put 24 runners in scoring position. Nine out of the 12 players that entered the game were able to record a hit. Niko Decolati had a nice 3-for-6 night with a home run and four RBI’s. Outfielder Brenton Doyle went 3-for-4 with three of his own RBI’s. Starter Chris McMahon was able to hold the Dust Devils to two runs in his five innings of work.

Low-A: Stockton Ports 10, Fresno Grizzlies 8

In Fresno, the Grizzlies were not able to complete the ninth inning rally and lost to Stockton. The big highlight out of this game, Zac Veen hitting his first professional home run of his young career.

That was just one of four total long balls by the Grizzlies. Catcher Drew Romo hit one as did third baseman Mateo Gil. Fresno’s starting pitcher Mike Ruff allowed eight runs, seven earned, and four walks in just 4 23 innings.

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