Editor’s take note: One of a sequence examining the Rockies’ season. These days: the outfield.
There was plenty to like about the Rockies’ outfield in 2020.
But … very well, there are generally qualifiers when it comes to the unusual sixty-video game season.
Raimel Tapia emerged as a strong day-to-day participant in left and flashed probable as a leadoff hitter. Charlie Blackmon rocketed to a scorching start, then slumped but performed a mostly strong right subject. Kevin Pillar, obtained in a trade from Boston at midseason, performed fantastic protection in heart and offered a spark to the offense.
Over-all creation, nevertheless, was missing for a group that performs its household games at Coors Discipline. Although Colorado outfielders strike for a combined .269 regular (third in the majors), their .725 OPS (20th) and 22 household operates (26th) illustrated a lack of firepower.
Which potential customers to two big thoughts for 2021.
First, will the Rockies be in a position to re-sign Pillar, who signed a 1-12 months, $4.25 million offer with the Purple Sox past season? He thrived in his 24 games with the Rockies, hitting .303 with a .804 OPS, two household operates, five doubles, a triple and eighteen RBIs. Pillar is 31 but he’s still bought the speed, athleticism, and arm the Rockies will need in heart subject.
2nd, will David Dahl ultimately stay healthful and satisfy his promise? Dahl had right shoulder operation past 7 days and the hope is that he’ll be prepared to go by spring teaching. He was an all-star in 2019 — batting .308 with twelve household operates and fifty one RBIs in the first half — but his season was curtailed in August by a large ankle sprain.
“I’m genuinely pissed off. Definitely, stuff keeps going on,” Dahl mentioned past month. “I experience like I put the perform in and I perform tough. Hopefully, excellent things will happen finally. You’ve just bought to keep going and get by means of it. Due to the fact I know I can be a excellent participant. I know I have had good results while I have been up listed here. It’s a matter of availability and currently being out there on the subject. But I have bought to genuinely sit down the offseason and type of determine out what I will need to do as significantly as figuring out my physique.”
Blackmon, 34, is owed $21 million up coming season, but he stays an elite hitter while he’s lost energy.
That was evident for the duration of the first month of the season. After going two-for-4 in a video game in opposition to the Dodgers on Aug. 23 at Los Angeles, he was slashing .405/.442/.568. He slumped substantially soon after that, but still concluded with a .303 regular and a staff-large 42 RBIs, even though his .804 OPS dipped under his vocation OPS of .865. Blackmon strike just six household operates in 221 at-bats (two.7%), a significant slide-off from 2019 when he strike 32 homers in 580 at-bats (five.five%).
Tapia ranks as Colorado’s most-improved participant. He led the staff with a .317 regular, rated 2nd with eight stolen bases, and posted a vocation-most effective .369 on-base proportion.
“He’s adjusted to big-league pitching and he’s carrying out the things he wants to do offensively,” manager Bud Black mentioned. “He’s calmed down his swing — it demonstrates up each and every now and then — but for the most part, the swing is exactly where it wants to be as significantly as the work amount. He’s getting balls and swinging at strikes additional frequently than not. He’s not growing the zone.”
Tapia’s protection in left subject still wants to make improvements to, specially when it comes to getting the appropriate angle on line drives, but he’s earning strides.
Outfield depth stays an challenge, thanks in part to the strike-and-miss advancement of Sam Hilliard, who noticed his actively playing time reduced as the season went on and spent part of the season at the substitute teaching web page. Hilliard has energy — he mashed six household operates in one zero five at-bats — but his .210/.272/.438 slash line and 36.eight% strikeout charge led to his benching.
Hilliard was recalled for the final eight games of the season but he batted two-for-21 with nine strikeouts.