It is extremely difficult to take stock in spring training statistics. A player destined for the minor leagues could light up the scoreboard, while a perennial All-Star might struggle to hit above the Mendoza Line.
Unfortunately, as hard as it is to project, there is one statistical area in which the Colorado Rockies have been trending in the wrong direction: offensive production.
In 2018, the Rockies recorded one of their worst statistical seasons in franchise history. In an attempt to turn things around this season, they replaced hitting coach Duane Espy with Dave Magadan and signed Daniel Murphy…that’s about it.
So it comes as no surprise that this spring, offensive production has been below average. In most major categories, the Rockies are in the bottom third of all 30 major league teams including a team .246 batting average.
Of course spring numbers can be deceiving. Obviously, MVP candidate Nolan Arenado won’t continue to hit in the low .200s once the season starts but there are a few underlying issues on the roster that the Rockies are hoping will get corrected.
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The most criticized player from last season, Ian Desmond, has struggled once again, even with him focusing on playing only one position. The lone prized acquisition, David Murphy, has not looked comfortable hitting third behind Arenado, which could easily end the experiment of him hitting second.
Last, but certainly not least, instead of addressing the lack of production from the catcher’s position in the offseason, the Rockies stayed with the status quo. The catching trio of Chris Iannetta, Tony Wolters, and Tom Murphy have been atrocious with only 9 total hits in 65 at bats.
However, it hasn’t been all bad news offensively this spring. David Dahl has enjoyed himself a nice camp and as long as he stays healthy, he should be an upgrade over Gerardo Parra/Carlos Gonzalez in the corner outfield. Trevor Story looks to be building on last season’s success and could make a run at the 30/30 club.
Most importantly, the breakout star of spring training has been Ryan McMahon and his unbelievable .450+ batting average at second base. His play has practically eliminated any concerns of replacing DJ LeMahieu. Sooner or later he will come down from his record setting pace, but as long as he doesn’t fall flat on his face, he will be an offensive upgrade at second.
Again, stats during spring training need to be taken with a big grain of salt but sometimes they can show some underlying issues. As players begin to get more dialed in as the regular season draws closer, the stats should begin to give a better picture of what the season might bring.