After a promising 2021 campaign ended up with a season-ending stint on the injured list, Connor Joe is ready to rebound for the Colorado Rockies in 2022.
“I feel great,” the Colorado Rockies first baseman-outfielder said during spring training workouts in Scottsdale, Arizona, this past week.
“I was able to get an off-season program from the training staff and the strength coaches before the lockout, luckily. Was on that all off-season. Healthy. Probably as normal an offseason as ever. (I) was running. Did a lot more running this year. So I feel great coming into camp.”
Connor Joe, entering his second go-around with the Colorado Rockies, had a breakout season a year ago.
He finished with a .285 batting average, a .469 slugging percentage, and a .379 on-base percentage before suffering a late-season strained right hamstring that ended up sidelining him for the remainder of the season.
In 2021, he saw action in 63 games and slammed eight home runs while driving in 35 in more than 200 (211) plate appearances with 26 walks drawn. His OPS was .848.
Before the injury, the native of San Diego had worked his way into the starting lineup, primarily as the leadoff hitter, while alternating between starts in left field and at first base.
Joe shined in the leadoff role. He belted his first career grand slam on Aug. 25 in Colorado’s 13-10 victory in 10 innings against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field to help the Rox avert a series sweep.
That homer proved to be the final one of the season for Joe, a favorite of Colorado fans who did not play in 2020 after he announced in March of that year that he had testicular cancer, resulting in surgery and treatment during the campaign.
While starting for the Rox last season, Joe had a stretch in which he plated 19 runs in 17 contests. He also notched a streak of reaching base in 31 of 35 games played as a starter.
Joe, one of the group of players who the Rockies announced Sunday to have signed a one-year contract for 2022, attributes much of his success last year to the team’s hitting coaches.
“Working with Mags (hitting coach Dave Magadan), working with the other hitting guys and the analytics department,” he said.
“Kind of honing in on what I do well. Just being prepared. They do a really good job of giving us a really good scouting report and sticking to that.”
He is already off to a good start this spring with three hits in his first three Cactus League contests — all starts.
This season Joe will be reunited with Kris Bryant, who this past week signed a seven-year contract to join the Rockies.
“It’s awesome. Kris is an unbelievable person,” said Joe, who teamed up with Bryant while playing collegiately at the University of San Diego before both were first-round MLB draft selections (Bryant in 2013, Joe in 2014).
“He is one of my favorite teammates I have ever played with. He makes the Rockies a whole lot better so I can’t wait to see what he does with us. To have him in the clubhouse is really cool and he is going to help a lot of guys.”
With 2021 in the rearview mirror, Joe will rely on his determined work ethic to help make the upcoming season a success.
“Just be consistent,” he said. “I had a good year last year. But that’s last year. I know coming into camp, I need go compete for a spot.
“It’s the same mentality as I came into camp last year. Gotta compete, earn a spot. Working hard, have consistent at bats and show that I can play multiple positions on the field.”