Colorado Rockies: Mark Reynolds and Ian Desmond make each other better first basemen
By Ben Macaluso
Before a late April game against the San Francisco Giants, Mark Reynolds and Greg Holland are sitting in the middle of the clubhouse playing cards. They look like they could be sitting in rockers passing the time on a large ranch.
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These two don’t act like they are the center of the Colorado Rockies clubhouse. They don’t act like the players who are leading the Rockies offense and the reemergence of the bullpen. Their demeanors are similarly relaxing like their southern drawls.
Reynolds is a bigger steal than anything the NBA has going on right now. After signing a minor-league contract in the offseason, he is batting .339 with five homers and 16 RBIs. He went 3-for-5 against the Giants earning his seventh multi-hit game of the season. This is tied for third in the National League. The card playing is a lens into his electric start .
"“It kind of started with my first at bat of the year when I hit a home run that confidence snowball started rolling for me,” Reynolds said. “It’s just like you saw me today staying relaxed, having fun. I think sometimes earlier in my career I would take everything very hard. The older I get the more I realize it’s just a game go out there and have fun with it.”"
Ian Desmond is primed for his new position when he comes off the disabled list soon, partly because of his study of the way Reynolds plays.
"Watching how he prepares and communicates kind of helped me learn what I need to do to be a good first baseman,” Desmond said. “The guy is sitting on 250 career major league home runs, there are not many people out here doing that. [I have learned by] watching his footwork around the bag and trying to pick up how he handles different throws.”"
He does not see himself when he pictures the prototypical first baseman. Desmond emphasizes his athleticism, that he is going to steal bags and utilize his arm strength and range. He said he wants to look like a ‘super athletic first baseman.’
Reynolds has noticed Desmond’s athleticism and sees Desmond’s drive for this new position.
"“I would say this, he does ask me a lot of questions, about footwork positioning things like that. I can tell he wants to learn it,” Reynolds said. “I told him anything he needs I’m always here. I think the biggest adjustment for him is going to be knowing footwork around the bag and then knowing ground balls to your right, which ones to go get and which one’s not to that the second baseman will get.”"
Reflexively, Desmond shared a similar sentiment that if there is something he needs or something Reynolds needs, they both know they can rely on each other. Saying that, Reynolds can bring Desmond a unique perspective because first base wasn’t his first position either.
"“I came from third base and my reaction is to get everything,” he said. “So I had to learn when to not go and get it. [Desmond] being a shortstop, he’s going to want and go grab everything too. So you just gotta figure it out. Know DJ [LeMahieu’s] range. It’s a lot easier for DJ to flip it to a first baseman than hitting the pitcher on the run.”"
When Bud Black was asked how he sees these two continuing to grow from one another and continuing to contribute to this club as a duo, he said he’ll answer the question when Desmond starts playing again. He did express excitement about what Desmond can bring to the team. Black emphasized that no matter who is playing first base, they will all contribute.
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The manager has a good problem with several outstanding options at the first. This position is in good hands regardless of who plays because of the selflessness of Reynolds and Desmond.