Colorado Rockies notebook: Five things we learned from Bud Black and interim GM Bill Schmidt today
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Black on Dom Nunez’s spot in the lineup
In Game 1 of the doubleheader on Tuesday and Wednesday’s game, Bud Black has had Dom Nunez hitting 7th, instead of the customary 8th spot, so we asked him whether or not we may see this more.
He said that we likely will but we still may occasionally see him in the 8th spot. He said he doesn’t plan on hitting him higher than sixth in the lineup due to his strikeout rate so far (42.2 percent of the time, entering Wednesday).
Nunez also has the second-highest whiff percentage of any player to be on the Rockies in 2021 (Sam Hilliard is number one and he’s back in Albuquerque for a reason) and that whiff rate is in the bottom one percent of the league.
Nunez is in the top 9 percent in barrel rate (16.7 percent compared to the league average of 6.5 percent) but he is in the bottom 13 percent in average exit velocity. So, in other words, he has been striking out or hitting home runs.
In fact, he has had one of those two things happen in 56.14 percent of his at-bats, entering Wednesday.
Black on the taxi squad moving forward
Bud Black also filled us in on how the Rockies will likely use the taxi squad for their upcoming road trip.
And it will likely look different than previous roadtrips.
"“Well, what we’re planning on doing–and this can change–but we’re planning on having most of our players play (in the minor leagues) and not have them away from competition,” said Black. “So we’ll probably have a lesser taxi squad and I think most teams are doing that, because they want their players playing. It will be very similar to what we normally do for the pandemic, of course, (with) a lot of these protocol restrictions in place. “(But) if we need to make a move, or access to player, we’ll do what we did two years ago, in 2019: call Albuquerque or Hartford and say ‘we need someone’ so then, our people who make that happen (can) get that player on a plane and get him to whatever point (like it has been) done for 100 years.”"
So instead of a five-man taxi squad, we will likely see a smaller taxi squad of players going forward and depending on the location of the minor league teams and where the Rockies are playing in relation to them, we may not even see them utilitze it.
The Rockies will have an off-day tomorrow before going to St. Louis for what will likely be an emotional series before, again, returning home but for a longer homestand with three against the Padres and four against the Cincinnati Reds. The Rockies will then head to San Diego for three games and an off day … just to return home for another three-game homestand and go back on the road again to end May.