Despite the fact it’s been a team effort to turn around a 6-17 start to their season, the Colorado Rockies have been a lot better since Brenton Doyle was added to the roster. Since his callup on April 24, the team is 12-7, including three road series wins in as many ties.
“I like to try to bring as much energy as I can and give it out and spread it,” Doyle said following a 9-8 victory on Monday night over the Cincinnati Reds.
One day after becoming only the 14th player in franchise history to hit a home run on his birthday, Doyle hit a pair of home runs to go along with a double in his first at-bat. The 10 total bases and three extra-base hits were most ever for Colorado batting out of the ninth spot in the lineup.
“It’s a blast,” Doyle said of his first three weeks in the Majors. “Even bad days up here are good days. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”
It’s hard to know how to pinpoint the impact Doyle has had on the roster largely made up of veterans. But all five of his tools have played a role in the team’s rebound, all at various times.
“We’ve talked about the tools and they showed up today,” manager Bud Black said of Doyle. “We talked about the power, the strength of the swing, the speed. Speed showed up on defense.”
As if the 25-year-old hadn’t done enough at the plate against the Reds, he also made an outstanding play on defense, robbing Spencer Steer of a base hit to leadoff the seventh. Daniel Bard thought it was special and gave the 2019 MLB Draft fourth-round pick a salute.
💎BRENTON DOYLE💎 pic.twitter.com/erMuDhRGuL
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 16, 2023
“I think his range is gotta be above average,” Charlie Blackmon said of his young teammate. “And I’ll say good centerfield defense is at a premium here at Coors Field. It’s just so big out there that I think that can add a lot of value to your team.”
StatCast has Doyle rated in the 80th-percentile in outfield jump. Only fellow rookie Ezequiel Tovar (3) has more Outs Above Average than Doyle’s 2 OAA on the roster. “I take a lot of pride in my defense. It definitely shows, tracking balls down and making plays like I did tonight,” Doyle shared. “(It) saves a lot of runs in the long run.”
On May 10 in Pittsburgh, Doyle cut down the go-ahead run at the plate in the sixth. His 98.1 mph throw was the second-fastest on an outfield assist at that point in the season.
BULLSEYE 🎯 pic.twitter.com/L74ORHt6ER
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 10, 2023
“Somebody asked me the other day. I don’t think I ever ran as fast as he did or hit the ball as hard as he does. Or throw,” the 36-year-old Blackmon confessed. “It’s really impressive tools.”
Though the power was on full display, his speed on the base paths didn’t get a chance to shine on this particular day. That’ll happen when trotting around the bases after a long ball.
Doyle’s 29.8 ft/sec sprint speed is considered to be in the 98th-percentile among all MLB players. His six stolen bases, most on the roster and tied for third-most in the National League since his debut, is further evidence of the power his legs provide.
Hitting for average may be the one tool trailing behind the others, but the 2021 MiLB Gold Glove Award winner has a strategy for that. Cranking the pitching machine up to 100 mph and using foam baseballs to reduce the impact of contact on the hands, Doyle is increasing his confidence each and every day.
With a .287 batting average in the minors and winner of the 2019 Pioneer League batting crown, the safe money may be on him officially adding that fifth and final tool.
As many experience baseball voices love to remind whenever a new player makes an early impact, it requires more than a few weeks or months of performances to have a truly good career. No matter, the early returns on Brenton Doyle have been quite impressive.