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A May to remember for Rodgers

Colorado Rockies news and links for Friday, June 3, 2022

Since he made his debut on May 17, 2019, it’s been a rocky road for Brendan Rodgers.

The hype for the 2015 third overall draft pick has been extinguished by injuries, rejuvenated by great fielding and hot streaks, and then demolished again to start 2022 when he hit .078/.172/.098 in 51 at-bats in April and missed four games with a sore back.

After the first month of the season, the hope reservoir for Rodgers was drying up like Lake Mead. Then came May and the best month of Rodgers’ young career.

It may be no coincidence that it was the only full month of May baseball Rodgers has played (due to injuries), but last month, Rodgers hit .347/.380/.484 with 33 hits, including seven doubles and two homers for 18 RBI and 17 runs scored in 95 at-bats in 24 games.

That was before Rodgers had the best game of his MLB career, busting out three homers, including a walk-off, two-run shot in game two on Wednesday.

In Thomas Harding’s article about Wednesday’s doubleheader on MLB.com, Rodgers said that he really wished those numbers could have gone in his May totals, especially considering it might have if Tuesday’s game on May 31 wasn’t postponed due to rain.

If Wednesday’s stats were added to Rodgers’ May totals, in other words if you look at his stats from May 1 to June 1, Rodgers hit .359/.400/.583 with 37 hits, including eight doubles and five homers, with 22 RBI. Rodgers is also riding a 20-game hitting streak.

Not only was that a fun month for Rodgers and a bright spot for Rockies fans who watched their team go 11-17 in May, but what if it’s a turning point for Rodgers?

Through April, Rodgers had 535 career at-bats. It’s hard to tell what a player can and will do until after that 500-at-bat mark. This May stretch carried Rodgers through the 500s to 630. Rodgers is at that point where he’s got experience. What if the Rockies finally have the Rodgers that they’ve always dreamed of?

Obviously, Rodgers now needs to stay healthy and be consistent. Three factors show he is trending in the right direction, even beyond his hot May.

1. Decreased strikeouts

In April, Rodgers struck out 16 times in 51 at-bats. That’s 31.37%. In limited at-bats in 2019, he stuck out one-third of the time. That dropped to 28.6% in 2020 and then 20.2% in 2021. In May, this year, he more than cut his April strikeout rate in half to 14.74%. His total this season is now at 19%. This is not just a May thing, but a consistent focus to strike out less. It’s amazing the difference it’s making.

baseballsevant.mlb.com

2. Increased barrel percentage

The other encouraging trend is that, even though the season is young, so far in 2022, Rodgers has a 9.8 barrel percentage, which is a career-high. He’s had 12 barrels, compared to 19 from 2021, which he got with 182 more at-bats.

Brendan Rodgers Statcast Batting Stats 

Season Age Pitches Batted Balls Barrels Barrel % Barrel/PA Exit Velocity Max EV Launch Angle Sweet Spot % XBA XSLG WOBA XWOBA XWOBACON HardHit% K% BB%
Season Age Pitches Batted Balls Barrels Barrel % Barrel/PA Exit Velocity Max EV Launch Angle Sweet Spot % XBA XSLG WOBA XWOBA XWOBACON HardHit% K% BB%
2019 22 294 49 2 4.1 2.5 86.9 111.1 7.2 20.4 .166 .240 .234 .205 0.267 32.7 33.3 4.9
2020 23 82 15 0 0 0 83 112.8 -5.2 0 .134 .143 .101 .124 0.174 20 28.6 0
2021 24 1513 305 19 6.2 4.6 88.8 111.8 6.3 30.5 .253 .414 .341 .311 0.364 40.3 20.2 4.6
2022 25 607 123 12 9.8 7.1 88.2 112.2 3.8 28.5 .239 .418 .328 .315 0.357 42.3 19 6.5
Totals 2496 492 33 6.7 4.8 88.3 112.8 5.4 28 .235 .385 .318 .293 0.346 39.4 21.8 5

3. Best game of his life

Rodgers is 25. He will turn 26 on Aug. 9. We know his neighbor growing up, former Rockie Dante Bichette, saw Rodgers playing at about age 5 and told Rodgers’ parents he would “be a big-leaguer someday.” In 20 years of playing baseball, including dozens of Little League and high school games, not to mention 175 MLB games and 392 in the Minors, Rodgers had multiple firsts on Wednesday night, as he told Harding:

“I didn’t have a walk-off homer ever in my life. So I had a lot of firsts today — first two-homer game, first three-homer game, first walk-off homer — a lot of cool things today.”

Not only was the homer the first walk-off win for the Rockies in 2022 after having five by June 1 in 2021, but it was a huge achievement for Rodgers. This kind of game can raise confidence and show that Rodgers not only belongs in MLB, but could be something special.

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Here’s the fastest prospect in each team’s system | MLB.com

For the Rockies, it’s Braiden Ward. Colorado’s 16th-round draft pick in 2021 was so good with his 26-for-26 stolen base record in 39 games this season for Low-A Fresno, not to mention his slash line of .367/.487/.533, that he was promoted to HIgh-A Spokane on May 31.

Baseball Marks Lou Gehrig Day with Jersey Patches, Wristbands, and ALS Fundraising | Sports Logos

MLB celebrated the second annual Lou Gerhig Day on Thursday. The Rockies, along with every MLB team, wore 4 ALS Lou Gehrig Day patches. The AT&T SportsNet Rockies broadcast featured important information about the day, including a Ryan Spilborghs interview with Sam Hilliard’s mom, Tamara. Not only have the Hilliards been impacted by ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after losing Sam’s dad, Jim, to ALS in September, but Tamara has been instrumental in starting Lou Gerhig Day, and its focus on fundraising for ALS. This link talks about the jersey changes and fundraising efforts.

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On the Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 8, Sugar Land Space Cowboys 5

The Isotopes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run Bret Boswell single and added on with a two-run double by LJ Hatch in the third. With a narrow 5-4 lead entering the ninth, Carlos Perez hit a two-run homer and Boswell added an RBI single to seal the win and overcome one run by Sugar Land in the bottom of the ninth. Brandon Gold (3-1) earned the win, striking out seven in six innings while giving up three runs on six hits with one walk. Justin Lawrence was credited with a hold, despite giving up one run on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts in 23 of an inning. Zach Lee gave up one run on three hits in 1 13 innings, but it was enough for his first save of the season.

Double-A: Reading Fightin’ Phils sweep doubleheader over Hartford Yard Goats

In game 1, Reading beat Hartford 4-1. Nick Bush (4-3) pitched a complete, seven-inning game in the loss. After starting with three scoreless innings, he gave up a two-run homer in the fourth. He finished the game having surrendered four runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. Aaron Schunk hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth for the Hart Goats lone run when he drove in Hunter Stovall, who reached base on a double.

In game 2, the Yard Goats fell 1-0. Michael Baird earned the loss after giving up a solo homer to Jhailyn Ortiz in the fourth inning. Riley Pint, PJ Poulin, and Gavin Hollowell each pitched a scoreless inning to keep Hartford in the game, but Hartford only managed four hits and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Willie MacIver had two hits, while Ezequiel Tovar and Daniel Montano each added a single.

High-A: Vancouver Canadians 2, Spokane Indians 1

Spokane lost this one in heartbreaking fashion when Anderson Bido entered to pitch in the ninth with a one-run lead, but walked the first batter, Steward Berroa, then threw two wild pitches to allow Berroa to reach third base. Vancouver’s Addison Barger then hit an RBI double to score the tying run. Another Berroa wild pitch sent Barger to third. After an out and an infield single, PK Morris then hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to win it for the Canadians. After the score was locked at 0-0 for the first seven innings, Zac Veen hit an RBI single to score Bladimir Restituyo and put Spokane up in the eighth. Singles by Veen and Restituyo represented the only hits of the night for the Indians.

Low-A: Modesto Nuts 2, Fresno Grizzlies 1

The Grizzlies were held to four hits and got the lone run when EJ Andrews Jr. hit an RBI triple in the fifth to tie the game at 1-1. The Nuts got one run in the sixth on a Randy Bednar double and that was enough for Modesto. McCade Brown got the start threw five solid innings, only allowing one unearned run on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Luis Amoroso took the loss, giving up one run on two hits with two strikeouts.

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