Rockies Learn the Bichette Way
While not a lot has changed this offseason in the way of on-the-field talent for the Colorado Rockies, pretty much everything has changed in the dugout. With a new manager, new-ish pitching coach, new batting coach, and new base coaches the players will have plenty to adjust to in 2013. There is no doubt that these adjustments will have a definite effect on the outcome of the Rockies’ season. Perhaps no adjustment can contribute more to this outcome than that of Dante Bichette as the hitting coach.
July 1, 2012; Denver, CO USA; Colorado Rockies coach Vinny Castilla hands the ball to former Rockies player Dante Bichette after the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Carpenean-USA TODAY Sports
For any Rockies fan over the age of 20, Bichette is a household name. He cemented himself into Rockies history after hitting that incredible walk-off to end Coors Field’s first game. Then he became a fan favorite by being a cornerstone of the Blake Street Bombers. He was tenacious and eccentric and he loved the game of baseball.
Bichette could also hit. In a 14-yr career that spanned 1700+ games Dante hit a triple split of .299/.336/.499 and drove in 1141 runs with 274 home runs. These may not be “blow me away” type numbers but they sustained a career. Aside from these power numbers, Bichette did a lot of great things with the bat. How many times do you see a professional player choke up with two strikes? Dante did it regularly and the Rockies could use some of that mentality.
It is no secret that the current Rockies roster cam generate runs. But can you imagine Dexter Fowler as a lead off hitter that doesn’t strike out 130+ times per season? Or Carlos Gonzales not swinging at every ball within a country mile that has some spin on it? Dante Bichette may be the guy that finally brings some plate discipline to a free-swinging roster and the results could be tremendous. This current nucleus of Rockies players have been through several different hitting coaches in the past few seasons, so it will be tough to overwrite some of the different philosophies that were implemented. Nevertheless, Bichette is primed to step in and give them his own simple recipe for success. He is very aware of how Coors Field works, and will definitely give plenty of instruction on how he hit .316/.352/.540 and earned and 4 All-Star game trips over 7 seasons with the Rockies.
If nothing else maybe someone will adopt his goofy batters box rituals. There’s always hope, right?