En route to their strong start in 2022, the Rockies have done a good job of socializing and stringing together quality bats. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but it’s been promising up and down the lineup. While most of the lineup is successful, Brendan Rodgers has one player who got off to an unexpectedly difficult start. The Rockies’ second baseman is expected to make a key contribution at the heart of the lineup after a strong 2021 season in which he batted .284/.328/.470 with 15 homers. Rodgers struggles mightily at the plate, but what’s giving him the most trouble?
Strikeouts, the answer is strikeouts.
In seven games this season, BRod became KRod in a worrying display of plate discipline. In 31 plate appearances, Rodgers is 3 to 27 with 11 strikeouts and just three walks, while his disappointing .111/.194/.111 slash line isn’t a reason to hit the panic button these early weeks. A 36.7% strike rate is something about you have to worry.
The profusion of punchouts is a clear indication that Rodgers currently has no quality approach to the record. Rodgers swings about 50% of the time, which is good. He’s swinging out of zone 38% of the time, that’s bad. He’s making contact 65% of the time overall on swings, which is good. Still, 17% of his swings are swinging strikes and 11% are called strikes, which is bad.
Rodgers has had a lot of success making contacts on the outside of the zone courts in the past, averaging about 60% in each of the last three seasons, but he’s at 53% in 2022. He sees the same percentage of pitches within the zone. But his contact rates across the board have dropped and it shows the league is adjusting him to the point of making it difficult for him to get the racquet to the ball and drive it for base hits.
Baseball Reference shows Rodgers sees approximately 4.44 pitches per plate appearance. That fits his norm, but of his 11 strikeouts, nine were strikeouts. Despite seeing the same number of pitches, he swings more and comes up empty more often.
So far, Rodgers is seeing more sliders and cutters than fastballs and curveballs, which could be a difficult adjustment to begin with. As a result, he has trouble making contact and the pitching sequence from opposing pitchers is enough to throw Rodgers off balance and he swings out of desperate guesswork as opposed to a calculated attacking plan. Yes, it’s not possible to have a perfect plan every time to know what the pitcher is going to throw, but you do need to have an idea of what to look for, and Rodgers has yet to show that approach.
So what can Rodgers do to turn things around? Well, the first thing he can do is get a little more selective and determined at the plate. That means reducing ringing and improving its pitch detection. His contact on pitches within the zone is sufficient enough that results will follow if he puts the ball in play more than he currently does. Increasing discipline naturally leads to increased walking speed, which the Rockies continue to need.
2021 has been a testing year for Brendan Rodgers, but in his second full season as a healthy starter, his racquet must live up to the expectations the Rockies have of him. If that means pushing him down the lineup to take the pressure off him, they might need to think about it. Regardless, the Rockies need Rodgers at bat, and he needs to prove 2021 wasn’t a fluke.
Fire up the fountains: Alan Trejo makes a splash in his first game of 2022 | Rockies Magazine
Alan Trejo made an immediate impression in his first two starts of the season, including a crucial home run in Friday’s win against the Cubs. Rockies Magazine caught up with Trejo to talk about his journey and goals to establish himself in the big league. As someone likely to be included in the 2022 squad due to the expanded squads, Trejo is using his opportunities to make decisions difficult for the club in the coming weeks.
Rockies prospect blazes his trail as black American catcher | MLB.com
With Jackie Robinson Day still fresh in our minds, Thomas Harding spoke to the Rockies’ AJ Lewis about his journey through the minor system and his desire to become an inspirational figure as he aspires to be the first at least semi-regular black North American Catcher to become Russel Martin in 2019.
On the farm
Triple-A: Albuquerque isotopes 10, Tacoma Rainiers 3
The at-bats came alive for Albuquerque as they scored 11 hits en route to a 10-3 win over Tacoma. Bret Boswell led by three runs while Sean Bouchard notched a grand slam for his first home run of the season. Ryan Feltner started on the hill for the Isotopes and took home the win by allowing three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 5 1⁄3 innings of work. The bullpen together only allowed two hits in 3 2⁄3 innings of work to finish the game while batting five batters.
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats @ New Hampshire Fisher Cats, rescheduled to April 17
High-A: Eugene Emeralds 3, Spokane Indians 1 (Game 1)
Despite the loss, Joe Rock again impressed with three runs, two earned, on two hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in five working innings in a 3-1 loss to Eugene in Game 1 of the doubleheader. Spokane managed just one hit in the game courtesy of an RBI single from Drew Romo in the third inning. Eugene hit two runs on an Armani Smith home run in the first inning while hitting an unearned run in the second inning.
High-A: Eugene Emeralds 4, Spokane Indians 2 (Game 2)
In this April 12 makeup game, Will Ethridge worked 4 2⁄3 innings that allowed four runs and six hits and suffered the loss to the Eugene Emeralds in Game 2 on Saturday night. Spokane struggled at plate again, hitting two runs with just three hits while striking 12 times. Zac Veen, Ronaiker Palma and Eddy Diaz combined for Spokane’s three hits, with Veen and Diaz driving in the runs. Pitching remained strong, but offense had a rough day between the two games against Eugene.
Low-A: San Jose Giants 8, Fresno Grizzlies 7
A ninth-inning rally by the Grizzlies fell short as they lost the game 8-7 to San Jose. Adael Amador led the offense for Fresno, scoring two hits including a solo home run and three draws in the game. Benny Montgomery also added two hits and drove in one run. Victor Juarez started on the mound for Fresno and allowed three runs with three hits in 4 2⁄3 innings while striking out seven batters. Tyler Ras accepted the loss in the game and allowed three runs in the fifth game without posting an out. That fifth inning with six runs gave the Giants the lead, and Ever Moya’s two runs allowed in the eighth became the deciding factors.
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