In order from least to most concerning…
Marco Scutaro searches the internet when he is struggling to find his good swing at the plate. Whatever the merits of that approach, Scutaro’s struggles in spring training should not alarm Rockies fans. It is reasonable to think that spring statistics are indeed meaningless for the veteran, no matter how ugly his current 3-for-20 swoon gets. When he says he thinks that he is making progress, we can take that at face value and trust him to be ready to produce in the crucial #2 spot in the order.
Brandon Wood generated significant buzz because it looked like he had finally found his swing with his hot start to spring training. His previous accolades as a prospect combined with Casey Blake’s finicky neck make him a hot story coming out of Rockies camp. We cannot help but wonder…what if? What if he does rediscover the form that once labeled him the third-best prospect in all of baseball? That would be like stealing money for the Rockies, as it would make their already formidable lineup American-League-deep. Unfortunately Wood lost that momentum, going 0-for-his-last-12 and striking out 7 times during that stretch. By no means is it time to give up on Wood, but one could forgive Rockies fans for rolling their eyes after so many years of Ian Stewart teases.
Speaking of rolling our eyes…Dexter Fowler is struggling…again. In my brief glimpses of Rockies games this spring, I have not had the (
horrific experience of watching) ( pleasure of watching) …uh…I haven’t had the chance to watch Dexter’s left handed swing. Fair or not, I always assume that is the culprit for his struggles, as any Little League coach would cringe at the loop in that swing. To his credit, Fowler did seem to fix those issues with a high leg kick and a hot second half last season. In a familiar refrain, he is one of the keys for the Rockies this season as he simply must be consistently effective batting lead-off. That urgency combined with his history of inconsistency mean that Fowler is not granted the benefit of the doubt with his spring struggles. He needs to find his swing(s)…soon.
Finally there is the aforementioned Casey Blake. Even before he
re-injured slept funny on his troublesome neck, he had been unable to find his timing at the plate. The road for Blake to find his swing is the most difficult, as he must first show the team he is healthy and then he needs to show them he can still hit. If this were just about his injury history it would be one thing, but it is entirely another when that history is combined with his struggles at the plate. Blake might have more slack if it was only one issue or the other, but dealing with both most likely means that his time is short with the Rockies. The shame here is the fact that we might never get to see that handsome salt and pepper beard glisten against the purple pinstripes on a beautiful Rocky Mountain evening…