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Some Meaningless Spring Training Stats — And a Note on Alan Trejo
Even though it’s too early, is it possible make make some early assumptions about the 2023 Rockies?
Let’s start with acknowledging that Spring Training stats mean nothing: Hitters are adjusting their swings, pitchers are exploring new pitches, and everyone is just getting back into their game. When the season begins on March 30, none of this early stuff will matter.
But MLB.com has been publishing Spring Training stats that I can’t seem to stop checking. So with the caveat that the numbers are largely meaningless, it’s interesting to take a peak and observe any emerging trends that may be worth following. (All data is current as of Thursday morning.)
Are the Rockies Striking out Less?
The Mets’ Mark Vientos has struck out the most with 17, but he’s closely followed by Nolan Jones (16 in 30 AB), Michael Toglia (14 in 41 AB), Brian Serven (13 in 27 AB), and Brenton Doyle and Zac Veen with 12 (in 28 and 35 AB, respectively). Most concerning here are Jones and Toglia since they are the closest to being MLB ready as well as Serven, who is expected to be the Rockies’ backup catcher.
As a team, the Rockies are ranked 15th with 163 Ks, so this doesn’t appear to be an issue for the entire team. (Of course, this is sans the Coors Effect, which will make itself known during the season.)
Also, as an interesting side note, in 35 AB, old friend David Dahl has struck out 12 times.
How Are the Home Runs?
As a team, they’ve hit 23 and are ranked 11th. Kris Bryant, Ryan McMahon, and Elehuris Montero have hit three home runs with no player in MLB Spring Training hitting more than four.
McMahon’s number is notable and perhaps an early indicator that Bam Bam Meulens is having an effect. “I need to trust myself, not be afraid to trust my eyes,” McMahon told Manny Randhawa. “If I think it’s going to be a good pitch to hit, swing -- instead of being so selective and so picky. [In the past], maybe I was firing a little late, just not being aggressive enough. That’s been a focus this spring and this whole offseason.”
So far, it’s working.
However, the most intriguing player here is Montero. If he can become the powerful hitter the Rockies think he can, it will help a power-deficient Rockies club.
Okay, What About Doubles?
So far, as a team, the results are not encouraging. The Rockies have hit 29 doubles and are 23rd in MLB. (The Tigers and Royals have each hit 48, which tells you again how little Spring Training stats mean.)
Harold Castro, CJ Cron, Yonathan Daza, Brian Serven, and Zac Veen have each hit two doubles, and given that Castro seems increasingly likely to make the Opening Day roster, his inclusion on this list is significant.
Then again, Salt River Fields ain’t Coors Field, so that should change when the season begins.
Any Notable Trends in the Pitching?
There’s not much here. The sample sizes are too small; the pitchers are trying new things; and we’re seeing pitchers who will not be with the MLB team. It’s mostly noise.
One good piece of news? Germán Márquez was on when the Rockies played the Cubs on Tuesday, striking out 7 in four innings. If he’s back in his ace form, that’s a very good thing for the Rockies.
One piece of concerning news? Daniel Bard’s performance on Monday in the World Baseball Classic. Bard threw 33 pitches and was not good, giving up four runs on four hits. In fact, he was removed from the game before the inning ended. That could be the result of many factors, but fans are hoping to see 2022 Daniel Bard, not the 2021 version. On Wednesday, Bard looked more like himself against Team Columbia, so that’s promising.
Anything Else You’d Like to Add?
As a matter of fact, yes.
If you’ve been following the World Baseball Classic, you know that Alan Trejo is headed to Miami as the starting shortstop for Team Mexico. Before leaving Scottsdale, he was playing solid baseball, picking up where he left off in 2022.
He’s only had 16 ABs, but in those innings, he’s been good, even hitting one home run. Then there’s his WBC performance.
Trejo has had almost as many ABs with Team Mexico as he has with the Rockies in Spring Training. Don’t forget: One of Trejo’s hits was a two-run RBI single off a struggling Daniel Bard when Team Mexico positively trounced Team USA.
In short, he’s been solid.
He may not be in Spring Training now, but Trejo is competing on the world stage and showing what he can do, which raises a different question, and my Purple Row colleague Skyler Timmins put it best:
Timmins elaborated on his argument here.
I agree. Alan Trejo deserves a fair chance to play professional baseball. Last year, he was benched in favor of José Iglesias. This year, that playing time has gone to Tovar (which makes sense) as well as Harold Castro and Cole Tucker to determine if they’ll be given contracts (which makes less sense).
If the Rockies aren’t going to play Alan Trejo regularly, then he needs to be traded to a team that will.
The Rockies roster is far from settled, but Alan Trejo deserves a spot on it.
Also, I think I need an Alan Trejo “Team Mexico” jersey. Those red uniforms are 🔥
Tim Melville is preparing for the 2023 season.
Raimel Tapia is doing his best to make the Red Sox roster.
And Garrett Hampson appears to have settled landed a spot with the Marlins.
What I’m Reading
Thomas Harding’s “Rockies Beat — March 14, 2023” (Rockies.com) — Harding visits with Brittany Haby, the Rockies’ manager of baseball research. It’s an interesting conversation.
Dan Szymborski’s “Szymborski’s 2023 Bust Candidates: Hitters” (FanGraphs) — ZiPS is not optimistic about CJ Cron this year.
Manny Randhawa’s “This Rockies Minor Leaguer K'd Arenado at 100 mph” (Rockies.com) — Meet Michael Peterson, the prospect few Rockies fans knew before his WBC appearance.
Danielle Allentuck’s “Rockies' Kyle Freeland Using World Baseball Classic to Learn from All-Star Peers” (The Gazette) — Speaking of the World Baseball Classic, Kyle Freeland has been talking with Adam Wainwright.
Stephanie Apstein’s “Playing for the Yankees Has Its Perks. In-Flight Internet Is Not One of Them” (si.com) — This is, hands down, my favorite reading of the week.
Men discussing their peers’ hair never gets old.
There are lots of sports on this weekend, so enjoy them! Opening Day will be here soon.
Thanks for reading —