Mike Tauchman Makes History, Continues to Impress
By Kevin Henry
When I first talked to Mike Tauchman, he was in his first big-league camp with the Colorado Rockies and making the most of his moments with the club. Now, as the season winds down, Tauchman is continuing to make himself a name to remember.
In Albuquerque’s 3-0 loss to Salt Lake City on Thursday, Tauchman went 1-for-2 at the plate. His double extended his hitting streak to 21 games, tying him for the longest hitting streak in Isotopes history.
Tauchman has had a solid campaign in his first Triple-A season, posting a .287 average with 50 RBI. He’s also stolen 22 bases, continuing to show his speed on the basepaths.
Tauchman has put together some impressive numbers in the minors, including a .294 season in 2015 in his first Double-A season with the New Britain Rock Cats. On his way to earning All-Star honors that season, Tauchman established new career highs in doubles (23), triples (6), total bases (193), stolen bases (25), and walks (47).
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This season, he’s tied the mark for triples and his streak-extending double on Thursday night was his career-high 24th of the season.
Tauchman’s solid 2015 season paid off as he was invited to spring training with the Rockies.
“I was excited. It made me those last few weeks of the offseason go a little slower,” Tauchman smiled. “I was looking forward to getting out here. It was definitely exciting and I viewed it as an opportunity to make a good impression on the big league staff and the organization.”
Tauchman batted .375 with three hits in his first eight spring training at-bats. One of those hits was a two-run triple in Colorado’s 9-5 decision over the San Diego Padres on March 5.
He cooled off from there, finishing his time with the Rockies in Arizona with a .154 average. Still, the experience with the Rockies made a huge impact.
“Earlier in the week, I was being a little overaggressive and trying to get hits,” Tauchman said after his two-run triple. “I went back to my approach of being patient and thinking, ‘If I get a fastball over the big portion of the plate, I’m just going to put a good swing on it and not do too much.’ I just wanted to put the barrel on it. It felt good. Even though they’re spring training games and they don’t count for standings or toward the championship, it’s always good to have a big hit in a big situation. In the grand scheme of things, it felt good to have my approach and execute what I was trying to do.”
The 25-year-old left-hander says he is enjoying the moment but also soaking up as much knowledge as he can from veteran outfielders such as Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon.
“They’ve been very welcoming,” Tauchman said of his spring teammates with MLB experience. “I have nothing but positive things to say. It’s always good to pick the brains of guys who have had success at the Major League level. That’s something that not a lot of people are able to do. Any time you can talk to those guys and pick their brains about how they prepare or what they would do in certain situations, it’s great.
“Being here helps with the mental preparation. Seeing how the veterans prepare and getting at-bats versus high-quality pitching, that is big. Any time you see arms that are big-league arms, it’s only going to make you better. You learn from it and see how your approach plays versus that kind of talent. You do a lot of self-evaluating, see where you’re at, and make the adjustments you need to make. If something’s going good, you roll with it and go from there.”
A semifinalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award and a first-team Rawlings/ABCA All-American in 2013 at Bradley University, Tauchman was drafted in the 10th round by the Rockies. He has steadily moved up the organizational charts and is trying to soak in the moment rather than let the pressure of performing with his big-league counterparts watching him affect his play.
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“I think there can be pressure but the mark of the guys who are the really elite players in the game is that they can take really big moments and treat it like they’re in the backyard taking batting practice off their dad,” Tauchman said. “They have that kind of calmness. That’s something that you can work on and not let the moment get too big and think in the grand scope of things that you’re getting ready for the season, whether you’re in Asheville, Modesto, Hartford, Albuquerque, or Denver. You have to get ready for the season.”