Entering the 2021 season, it looked like Yonathan Daza might not even make the Opening Day roster for the Colorado Rockies. If he didn’t make it, he was out of minor league options so he would be subject to waivers and any MLB team could have claimed him. If he survived that, he would have been outrighted off the 40-man roster and been in Triple-A Albuquerque or been released.
However, Daza had a good spring training and was able to get onto the Rockies Opening Day roster.
By the third week of April, Daza became their everyday center fielder and he did well … until he got COVID-19 over the All-Star break in July. He returned on August 1 but then he injured his thumb in mid-August, which required him to miss three weeks.
With all of that, Daza was not able to regain his previous success. He was hitting .295/.345/.381 before the All-Star break and he hit just .228/.279/.246 with only 12 starts after the All-Star break. Total, he hit .282/.332/.355 with an OPS+ of 78, an rWAR of 0.4, and an fWAR of 0.5.
The projections for Colorado Rockies outfielder Yonathan Daza foresee a regression in 2022
ZiPS projects that Yonathan Daza will see a slight regression in 2022 but it also projects that he will see more playing time.
It projects that he will have 435 plate appearances when he had 331 in 2021 but projects that he will hit .276/.319/.381 with an OPS+ of 76, and an fWAR of 0.4.
Entering 2022, the key for Daza will be to get that bat going. Defensively, he is probably the best outfielder the Colorado Rockies have and that’s part of the reason why he made it on the team in 2021. But the bat is a concern, especially when the Rockies desperately need some help on offense and it looks like it will have to come in the outfield.
Even when Daza was hitting well in the first half of 2021, his .355 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was very high, suggesting that he had some good luck. The MLB average is .300. So that .276/.319/.381 projection is definitely a fair one. That average and slugging percentage are fine for the top or bottom of the order bat but the Rockies really need him to get on base more to be at the top of the lineup.
If that could be around the .345 he had in the first half, then the Rockies, quite frankly, have their center fielder. But Daza didn’t show that in the second half and considering that he will be 28 by the end of this month, the Rockies are running out of time and patience for his (and other players) bats to develop.