Alan Trejo entered Friday night with zero games and zero plate appearances under his belt through the first six games of 2022.
In his second at-bat of the game – and of the year – he drove a 2-2 splitter from Cubs’ starter Marcus Stroman into the left field bleachers for his second career home run, a go-ahead three-run blast that traveled 437 ft to give the Rockies a 5-3 lead.
The 25-year-old infielder spent time last year being shuttled back and forth the I-25 corridor between Denver and Triple-A Albuquerque en route to his first big league season.
He managed 50 plate appearances over 28 games in 2021 and notched just one home run and three runs batted in. Trejo matched that total with one swing of the bat during Colorado’s 6-5 victory over Chicago.
“This chain is awesome,” the San Diego State alum said of the MVP chain hanging in his locker. “Something I’ve always wanted ever since last year.”
When he wasn’t waiting for his opportunity on the Rockies bench, Trejo was producing with the Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League. In only 90 games, he managed to slug 17 home runs and drive in 72 runs, both career highs as a professional despite the partial season.
In talking with Trejo during before the season about his preparation heading into 2022, not to mention the change in clubhouse dynamics, we begin to learn exactly why the power that appeared on Friday night was no fluke.
Patrick Lyons: I know one of the teammates that you’ve leaned on a lot as a fellow shortstop, Trevor Story, is no longer here. How weird is it to not see him in this clubhouse anymore?
Alan Trejo: That sucks, man. That’s somebody I look up to and it sucks not seeing him here or being able to ask him for guidance whenever you need it. But you know, he’s doing this thing and I just wish the best for him.
Lyons: I know your defense is incredibly solid and that you like making some big plays. You saw that a lot from Ryan McMahon last year, who came close to winning a Gold Glove. What’s it been like working with him on the left side of the infield?
Trejo: Oh, he’s awesome. And he’s always getting after it and trying some cool plays. But that guy is very fundamentally based and he does everything right. I think him coming up, having Nolan (Arenado) at third base, I think he saw that and he learned from Nolan as well. So it’s awesome. It’s almost like having Trevor over there to just kind of joke around with and get after it with.
Lyons: You had a really solid season at Albuquerque last year. A lot of back and forth. What was your success predicated on and how were you able to have a good year at the plate with Albuquerque?
Trejo: It’s just confidence-based. I think that I finally got some confidence in the box and got some confidence being in the big leagues. So I think that’s where it kind of came from. And obviously, just the work that I put in the offseason that year, just working on some things and trying to drive the ball. That’s what happened. So I was happy with it.
Lyons: You skipped Low-A Asheville in 2018 and went directly to High-A Lancaster. Did you have to play catch up a little bit since so many guys there either had more experience or were older than you?
Trejo: Not at all. I felt like I was in the right place at the right time. I always felt like I would have to get myself out of big holes. And I think that was something that I really wanted to work on going into last season. In Double-A Hartford (in 2019), I felt like I started off really well. It’s just catching up sometimes in terms of learning how to manage a full season. If anything, that was more of a learning curve for me than skipping Low-A because that would have been my first full season. Other than that, I think going straight to High-A was a benefit for me.
Lyons: No season in 2020 was awful for so many players’ development. What was that jump like going from no season to not only playing a full season in Triple-A, but going back and forth to the Rockies as well?
Trejo: It was kind of tough. I think physically, for me, it was tough. Mentally, I think I do a good job preparing myself mentally. But physically, not having a full season in 2020 definitely was hard to manage some things just because you wanted to do so much that sometimes you’re out there tired and it beats you up. A long season will beat you especially going up and down all year.
Lyons: What are you hoping to improve upon and what had you worked on during the offseason?
Trejo: For me, I think I want to just be able to be more physical throughout the year. I think last year I got a little tired. Body was hurting. I wasn’t performing at the way I wanted to because it was physical. And that obviously leads into some of the mental stuff. I just tried to come into this season heavy, like focus on my diet. I was 190 last year and now I’m 205. That was probably the biggest thing for me. And managing at bats. That’s another concern of mine, especially at the big league level. I think I was a little tentative going up to the plate sometimes and I think that’s confidence-based. I’m coming in with a lot of confidence this year.