Since we last spoke, the Colorado Rockies went on a feel-good tour of the NL West. They weren’t the ones who came away feeling good, of course. That would be their opponents (the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants) who got some great practice celebrating walk-off wins for the days when they win in dramatic fashion in games that actually matter. As for the Rockies, now it is on to Arizona for a series against the Diamondbacks.
Here’s what else is happening with the Rockies and around the rest of the league:
Well, (DJ) LeMahieu is there all right — with uncanny regularity. Wherever he is needed, LeMahieu shows up and provides it. He filled the No. 2 spot in the lineup after excelling at No. 8.
Even his highlights have a way of not being visible. Teammate Michael Cuddyer is leading the National League in batting. But overlooked is the fact that LeMahieu is riding a career-best 12-game hitting streak going into Friday night’s game against the D-backs at Chase Field. LeMahieu isn’t into grabbing attention that isn’t based on trying to win games.
Based purely on numbers, Josh Rutledge should get the look as an additional utility infielder and Corey Dickerson should be the Rockies’ fourth outfielder. That is assuming that Dickerson or Blackmon are not filling the third and fourth outfielder positions or that the team does not try and put Rutledge in as the starting first baseman.
Third base has been a perennial hole in the Rockies infield. Instead of trying to fill the spot with veteran talent like they’ve done in the past, Weiss found an internal solution to the problem.
Nolan Arenado has cemented himself as the Rockies long-term third baseman with his impressive rookie campaign.
The slick fielding and durable 22-year-old is batting .269 with 10 homers and 47 RBI this season. Arenado trails only the Dodgers Yasiel Puig in WAR among rookies.
Had he simply continued along that career path, the Padres’ decision to hand him a two-year, $8.5 million contract extension earlier this month would have been justified. However, what’s been so interesting about Venable’s 2013 season is how he’s addressed all three of the primary weaknesses in his game.
Venable’s OPS+ this season is 131, good for seventh among major league right fielders. Part of that is his success against lefties. Venable has improved from his career .649 OPS against them, actually posting a better OPS against lefties in 2013 (.838) than righties (.808). He’s already up to 21 home runs, well beyond his career-high of 13. And with regular center fielder Cameron Maybin battling injuries all season, Venable has played a career-high 69 games in center, putting up plus defensive numbers, according to the defensive metrics.