While the Rox have been in camp for weeks, I officially reported this morning. I was at Salt River Fields early, making sure I was there in time for the start of minor league practice. I didn’t watch one second of the big leaguers — with the exception of Jordan Pacheco — and I couldn’t have been happier. Prospects are kind of my thing.
The facilities are border line absurd. There are practice fields for as far as the eye can see and every single one of them was being utilized. Obviously, I’m aware of the many, many minor leaguers in the Rockies system, but to see all of them in one place was somewhat overwhelming.
I had baseball ADD, running from one practice field to another. I saw fielding drills, batting practice, and watched the catchers work on selling batter interference to the umps. I probably made the trip from the cages to the practice fields and back at least 10 times. Trust me, this was no small feat. This place is enormous – a true baseball Mecca.
For the minor leaguers, spring training is just now getting under way. The pitchers have reported and are already in uniform, but the position players were in shorts today. Their official start is tomorrow. Still, many were putting in work – a lot of work. In fact, I was able to get a much better look at position players than I did the pitchers. The fielders were swinging the sticks today while the pitchers were working on the boring stuff.
I observed Nolan Arenado fielding grounders at third for a good twenty minutes. After seeing him in person, I’m far more confident in his defense. He has soft hands and a really solid throwing arm. Plus, he moves much better than the “experts” say he does. I also watched him the cages. As we already know, he can swing it. His stroke is compact to the ball and long in the finish. I think he’s deserving of the hype – very impressive.
Every player carried themselves like a professional and they all worked hard today, but I noticed three that went above and beyond. Half of the hitters took BP on a field today and the other half hit in the cages. The groups will switch tomorrow. Russell Wilson, Kyle Parker, and Corey Dickerson all took BP on the field. However, when everyone else went inside, those three made their way over to the cages for more work. I stayed and watched, missing most of the Cactus League game as a result. It was well worth it. I had the opportunity to closely watch three very talented baseball players.
Another player that made an impression on me was Jordan Pacheco. Pacheco has been a hot topic all spring. He is trying to hit his way onto the big league roster and he may very well accomplish that goal. But, everyone already knows all that. I was able to see why he’s been so successful; it has a lot to do with his work ethic.
Jordan started today’s game. Thirty minutes before the first pitch all of the big leaguers had gone inside to get ready, but Pacheco was putting in work on the batting tee. His approach was impressive. He wasn’t there for repetitions. He was deliberate, not wasting a single swing. Later, Carney Lansford wondered by and I asked him about Pacheco’s dedication. He indicated that extremely hard work was the norm for Jordan.