Earlier today, our own Kevin Henry was able to speak to a few members of the Colorado Rockies, including the Rockies top prospect Brendan Rodgers, at Rockies spring training camp in Scottsdale.
Brendan Rodgers is one of the top prospects in all of baseball and he is the number one prospect in the Rockies organization.
He could even see some action in the major leagues this year as he was promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque towards the end of the season last year after hitting .275/.342/.493 in 93 games in Double-A Hartford. However, in Triple-A, Rodgers struggled in 19 games, as he hit .232/.264/.290. So, Henry asked him about the difference between the two leagues for him.
"“[There are] a lot of vets, minor league and big league guys [are there and they] are just crafty. Nothing really overpowering up there–you’ll get a guy here and there out of the bullpen [that throws] 95, 97 [miles per hour]–but mainly, you just see guys who know how to pitch,” said Rodgers."
He added that pitchers in Triple-A are “throwing sinkers, sliders, and right-on-right changeups [and] I really didn’t see that in Double-A [because] guys aren’t really comfortable throwing that. But [a] right-on-right changeup is a good pitch and I feel like I got my fair share of those…They see a weakness, they attack and you have to make your adjustments.”
Rodgers later said that he thought that he did well in Double-A but when he got to Triple-A, he “struggled a little bit but that’s part of [the game]. I learned a lot, though. I got to hang around guys like Matt Holliday [and] it was a good learning experience.”
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Henry also asked him what he thought he improved on the most last year between Double-A and Triple-A.
"“I think the biggest step I [made] on defense…Defensively, I took a huge stride last year. I think I only made five or six errors the whole year so that was huge for me. Last spring training, a big thing was defense, so I took that into consideration and busted my butt [to try to get better defensively].”"
Total, he only made six errors last season in 114 games and for comparison, in his previous three professional seasons, he made 12 in 39 games, 20 errors in 110 games, and 18 errors in 93 games from 2015 through 2017 so obviously, on an error front, he improved a lot in 2018.
This spring training is Rodgers’ second at major league camp so Henry asked him if he is more comfortable with everybody since this isn’t his first time at major league camp.
"“Definitely. I definitely feel more comfortable more this year around the guys. [My teammates and I are] talking more and [I’m comfortable] asking more questions…It’s definitely a different feel this year. You know, I feel like I fit in more than last year and it’s good feeling.”"
Also, in the past few seasons, Rodgers has played second base, shortstop, and third base, but, at least thus far in spring training, he has not worked on all three spots.
"“Right now, I’m just focusing on second base. Here and there, I’ll go around and turn some double plays from short [and] get some throws in from short so the main two [positions I’ve worked on this spring] are short and second.”"
If you look at the Rockies at the major league level, you can see why they have Rodgers playing more at second base as the Rockies have more of a question mark at second that the left side of the infield, with Nolan Arenado at third base and Trevor Story at shortstop. At second, Rodgers is in competition with Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson, who some would like to see in center field rather than Ian Desmond.
However, Rodgers isn’t worrying about making to the major leagues, yet at least.
“I try not to think about the future. I mean, obviously, one day, that’s a goal and dream of mine but I go day-by-day, pitch-by-pitch. Take it slow and good things will come.”