Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate DNVR Sports Community!

Rodgers poised to continue breakout on both sides of the ball

Patrick Lyons Avatar
April 4, 2022

In the lineage of the great homegrown Colorado Rockies, Brendan Rodgers seems the logical choice as the next star of the organization.

The 25-year-old is poised to fulfill the expectations heaped upon him as the 3rd overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft following his first full season with the Rockies.

“This is probably the best shape I’ve been in in my life,” Rodgers responded when asked about taking his game to the next level. “Over the years, the body gets some wear and tear. I mixed some stuff up (in the offseason) and it’s feeling really good right now. And that’s what I’m going to take into the season”

Despite being scratched from the third Cactus League game of the season with back tightness, Rodgers would debut three days later and go 1-for-3 against the Giants with a double. 

“I knew it was a little bit of hip tightness,” he said of the ailment. “A little bit of lower back, but I worked through it and I feel really good right now.”

With all the new additions to the roster elevating the hopes and aspirations for the ball club this season, manager Bud Black is looking for Rodgers to build upon his success last season.

“He’s in a good spot. He can hit,” praised Black of his second baseman. “He had a good offseason. He spent the last part of the lockout down here getting ready. He’s probably feeling as good as he’s felt in a number of years. Physically, mentally, coming off what he did last year, I think his mind is at ease. I’m going to temper my expectations, but we’re going to expect a lot out of him.”

One the areas B-Rod is looking to improve upon is his defense. Originally a shortstop, he understands his new role on Colorado’s roster.

“Night and day,” he confessed about his comfort levels since moving off shortstop. “2016 was the first year in Low-A I started mixing in over there. That was about six years ago now, so I feel a lot more confident.”

Defensive metrics can be misleading at times, especially when some point to success and others suggest the opposite. 

The Fielding Bible had Rodgers as one of the worst defenders at second, while Baseball Savant had him as better than that according to Outs Above Average. And when reviewing Range Factor, he was one of the best in the National League.

Sep 9, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers (7) throws for an out against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless, Rodgers is focused on removing any doubts about his defensive prowess. 

“I take pride in my defense as much as my hitting,” he said of being a complete player. “I worked with (Triple-A manager Warren) Schaeffer all through the minor leagues. I give him a lot of credit for the stuff we did down there. He prepared me for the big leagues. We still talk about it to this day. He’s in the dugout watching and continues to say good things.”

With enough power potential to test the franchise record for most home runs at the position – Clint Barmes set the mark with 23 in 2009 – Rodgers could bring back the potency on both sides of the ball missing since the days of DJ LeMahieu.

Considering the last postseason appearance for the team was LeMahieu’s final year in Denver, Rodgers might be the ultimate catalyst for getting the Rockies back to October.

Thursday: 13-2 @ Giants, Loss

Chad Kuhl had a prototypical Spring Training start. Surrendering five earned runs in only 2.2 innings pitched, he was merely working on an alteration in his windup and had no concerns about the performance.

Kuhl was removed from the game in the bottom of the first inning when he walked the bases loaded following back-to-back home runs to Tommy La Stella and Brandon Crawford.  Also in the spirit of exhibition games, he came back out to pitch in the bottom of the second inning to ensure he’d reach his prescribed pitch count.

Randal Grichuk continued his impressive Spring with a 2-for-3 game that included an RBI. The center fielder is 5-for-13 (.385) with Colorado and 8-for-19 (.421) between the Blue Jays and Rockies in March.

Yonathan Daza went 2-for-4 with an RBI for his second multi-hit outing of the Spring, while Garrett Hampson, Elehuris Montero and Ryan Vilade each recorded a base hit.

Friday: 2-1 vs. Mariners, Win

Kyle Freeland was masterful in one of the best Spring Training starts in recent memory. He pitched into the sixth inning and threw only 53 pitches. He gave up three hits, all singles, and did not issue a walk. Freeland struck out two and induced two double plays.

During the game, GM Bill Schmidt announced that Freeland would be Colorado’s Opening Day starter on April 8 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be his second time given the honor, tying him with several others for most in franchise history: Germán Márquez, Jon Gray, Jorge De La Rosa, Ubaldo Jiménez, Aaron Cook, Jason Jennings, Mike Hampton, Darryl Kile and Kevin Ritz.

The bullpen looked solid as well with Robert Stephenson (0.2 IP), Jhoulys Chacín (1.0 IP), Carlos Estévez (1.0 IP) and Daniel Bard (1.0 IP) recording a scoreless frame.

The only runs of the night came on Charlie Blackmon’s first home run of the Spring and a walk-off double by Michael Toglia that elevated Colorado to the win. 

Saturday: 11-11 @ Athletics, Tie

What a wild game. 

Colorado scored seven runs in the fourth inning and later lead 10-3 with nine outs remaining. However, six runs in the bottom of the ninth by the Athletics left the score tied. 

Kris Bryant lifted his Cactus League average to .300 (6-for-20) with a 2-for-4 game that included a pair of doubles.

Dom Nuñez was nearly unstoppable, going 3-for-4 with a grand slam. Connor Joe added a homer – his second in Arizona – and finished with three runs batted in.

Lucas Gilbreath lowered his spring ERA to 1.80 (5.0 IP, 1 ER) with a scoreless performance in the sixth inning.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?