It’s the first day of March and your Colorado Rockies are marching toward their spring mission of building a club capable of winning in 2017.
March kicked off with a 3-1 spring training victory over San Diego. Of course, spring training isn’t about wins and losses, it’s about getting the work in. But hey, wins build optimism either way you cut it. Here are three things learned from Colorado’s latest game action.
Mike Dunn is as Advertised
In an offseason that featured a slew of big moves, the Rockies signed free agent reliever Mike Dunn. At the time, the move was met by national and local media with praise mixed with some criticism. The main criticism is that that Rockies overpaid to acquire the southpaw. Mike Dunn is a 31-year-old who mustered a 3.40 ERA in 2016. The Rockies valued Dunn’s services at $19 million for three years.
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Of course, we all just have to wait and see how it play outs, but the early returns are great. In one inning of work, Dunn retired all three hitters he faced. For the spring, Dunn has retired all six batters he has faced. Another positive note is that the Rockies bullpen held the Padres to just one hit over seven relief innings on Wednesday.
Tony Wolters is Hot
Despite being on the winning side, the Rockies only mustered five total hits on the day. So on a day when hits come at a premium, a multi-hit day is a big deal, and a multi-hit day is exactly what catcher Tony Wolters delivered. Manager Bud Black has said that the catching position in Colorado will be a time share between the elite framing Wolters and the big-hitting Tom Murphy.
The early season, however, is proving that it is in fact Wolters who is bringing the hitting tool to the position. After collecting two more hits on Wednesday, Wolters is now leading the team with a .625. So far this spring, Murphy is only 1-for-9 (a .111 average) and Wolters is 5-for-8. If Wolters keeps playing lights out and continues it into the season, he could be getting much more than just half-time behind the plate.
On another positive offensive note, Raimel Tapia continued his hitting ways by collecting another hit on Wednesday afternoon.
Players Are Getting Ready to Depart for the WBC
When the World Baseball Classic starts March 6th, the Rockies will lose a handful of guys. There are eight total Rockies playing on WBC squads, five of whom are in camp. Reliever Jake McGee and third baseman Nolan Arenado will be departing for team USA, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for team Venezuela, reliever Rayan Gonzalez for Puerto Rico, and new addition infielder Daniel Castro for team Mexico.
Bud Black has voiced mixed opinions about the players leaving for the WBC. The biggest criticism is that young guys can miss valuable reps. You can read Black’s full thoughts on the WBC here .