Kris Bryant on joining the Colorado Rockies, learning to play at altitude

Apr 19, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Kris Bryant (23) on deck in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Kris Bryant (23) on deck in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Most of the baseball world was surprised by the Colorado Rockies signing Kris Bryant this offseason to a seven-year deal for $182 million. However, considering his long-standing relationship with Rockies GM Bill Schmidt (spanning more than a decade) and what he said in his press conference announcing the deal, it should not have been as surprising.

The Rockies also wanted a big, outfield bat that could be versatile too. Bryant fits exactly that.

Now that Bryant has been a member of the Rockies for about five weeks and the regular season is nearly three weeks old, Bryant has settled in with his new team, which also has plenty of other new additions.

We caught up with Bryant in Detroit this past weekend about joining the Rockies and some of the adjustments he has had to make in joining the team.

Colorado Rockies LF Kris Bryant has had to deal with adjusting to playing at altitude

Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant was in the Chicago Cubs organization from 2013 through July 2021. He had to change organizations last year when they traded him to the San Francisco Giants.

Going through the process of joining a new team last year was something that he believes has helped him out a lot in joining the Rockies.

“I’m kind of happy that I got traded (to San Francisco) last year just so that I could get used to coming to a new team so it wasn’t too new for me (this year),” Bryant told Rox Pile in an exclusive conversation on Sunday.

In joining the Rockies, Bryant said that everyone with the Rockies has been “perfect” for him and helping him feel at home right away.

“Everyone (with the Rockies) has been so perfect, super easy to get along with and just making it really easy for me to make it home early on,” Bryant said. “I knew what to expect with the organization and meeting new people since I had just gone through that so that obviously helped me out quite a bit.”

It also helped that he knew a fair amount of people in the organization from offseason training or facing them in games.

“I knew, in the front office, (GM) Bill (Schmidt) but, for players, I knew C.J. (Cron), I knew Connor Joe, Randal (Grichuk) too,” Bryant said. “(Also), I played against a lot of these guys too so that’s a good feeling when you are reading through a roster on a team that you’re about to join and be like ‘I know a lot of these guys so I feel like I can fit in right away.’

In joining the Rockies, though, there has been a learning curve for Bryant in some ways.

Bryant said in his introductory press conference that he has “loved, loved Denver” but living in Denver and visiting Denver are two different things, both on and off the field.

Off the field, one of the things Bryant has had to learn about is something that Denver residents deal with every day too: traffic.

“Learning the traffic and just learning the ways to get to the field (has been a learning experience),” Bryant said. “Just learning some shortcuts, those are fun to figure out.”

On the field, it has been the thing that is always at the top of the tongue for talking about the Rockies and offensive players: the adjustment for playing at altitude.

“Playing at altitude (has been an adjustment) too,” Bryant said. “Just trying to get some good rest and take care of my body because, when you only come in for three games a year, you don’t really notice (it) much but when you come in for a whole homestand, it’s like ‘I can feel this’ or ‘I can feel that’ and it can take a toll on your body.”

Entering play on Wednesday, Bryant has hit for good contact and he has been on-base a lot at Coors Field as he is hitting .333/.375/.389 in nine games at home. However, on the road, he is hitting just .191/.280/.286 in six games.

Despite that, at least to start off, Bryant said that he felt like the team’s two road trips (two games in Texas and this current road trip) have been a bit of a “refresh” for his body.

“I feel that when you go on the road, it’s like a refresh (for my body) because you are closer to sea level. I’m still trying to (learn) the differences (between playing at altitude and on the road) because a lot of the guys that have been here for a long time talk about that and I just, moreso, feel the fatigue at home.

“And we’ve played a lot of day games, too, at home so when I kind of get into a routine throughout the year where when you play more night games at home, you get more sleep.”

Next. Randal Grichuk on trade and transition to Rockies. dark

We will have part two of our conversation with Kris Bryant on Rox Pile later today. That will include a discussion on something else that has changed for him in playing with the Colorado Rockies.