Chris Owings was signed to a minor-league deal by the Colorado Rockies in the offseason. Expect him to play a larger-than-expected role for the team in 2020.
Stop me if you have heard this one before. The Colorado Rockies sign a player who always seems to have haunted them in the past to a minor league deal before the start of the 2020 season. After tormenting the Rockies for seasons, fans will now be cheering for a player who is looking for redemption after a down 2019 and could be a big part of the team’s success in a condensed season.
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In 74 career games against the Rockies, Owings, who has spent the majority of his seven Major League seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, has a .343/.383/.542 slash line over 258 plate appearances. His .925 OPS against Colorado is the highest versus any team.
At Coors Field, Owings put together even more impressive numbers, slashing .375/.400/.592 in 130 plate appearances over 38 career games.
People have fawned over the numbers put up by Kemp during his days as a Rockies killer. Owings isn’t far behind in the “regularly crushing the souls of Colorado fans” department.
Since debuting in early September of 2013, Owings has played the majority of his games at shortstop (235) and second base (184). However, he also has plenty of experience in the outfield (152 games, including 74 in right field and 72 in center field) and 28 games under his belt at third base.
"“You know, from the other side, I always thought he was a little thorn in your side because he’s got some power and he’s got speed,” Black said during a recent Zoom call with local media, including Rox Pile. “You look at the lineup card and every day he’s at second, he’s at short, he’s in the outfield. He’s always playing.”"
That could well be what Rockies see in the 2020 season from Owings as well. The 28-year-old new addition could well spend time spelling Trevor Story or Ryan McMahon at second or picking up an outfield spot. With Charlie Blackmon still recovering from COVID-19 and yet to be available for the Rockies, Owings could see time in right field.
"“This guy’s got some pop in his bat,” Black said. “He plays a high-energy game.”"
Owings will be looking to rebound from a 2019 season he struggled to a .139 average between his time with the Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox. However, Black believes good things are ahead for Owings now that he is reunited with Rockies hitting coach Dave Magadan, who served in the same role during some of Owings’ best seasons in Arizona.
That rebound seemed to be in play during the first installment of spring training when Owings hit .360 in 25 at-bats.
"“We saw, especially the last couple games before the shutdown, he was really swinging the bat well,” Black said of March in Arizona. “And I think what we’ve seen here just in the five days, you know, I think the bat’s going to play.”"
That is good news for a Rockies team that is looking for additional offense outside of the top of the lineup. If Kemp and Owings can continue their shared storyline trajectory with a rebound in Colorado, the Rockies will greatly benefit from a pair of players who formally caused the franchise plenty of angst.