Even without a lot of fanfare, Yonathan Daza of the Colorado Rockies is slowly but surely making his mark in the Major Leagues.
Entering the Colorado Rockies’ doubleheader Wednesday with Miami, Daza stood second in the Majors and topped the National League with a hefty .359 batting average with 37 hits in 103 at-bats.
The versatile outfielder had struck out just nine times in 115 plate appearances this season.
Entering play Wednesday, the 7.8 strikeout percentage from Yonathan Daza of the Colorado Rockies was the second-lowest in the Majors and the lowest mark in the NL.
Colorado manager Bud Black spoke to media on Tuesday about Daza’s innate ability to make contact while in the batter’s box.
“He’s got good bat-to-ball skills. I think that’s the thing that stands out the most,” Black said about Daza, who has reached base safely in each of his 25 starts in 2022 and has hit safely in 22 of those contests entering action Wednesday.
“I think with his hitting style, his hitting approach, he has always hit in the Minors. He has settled in here the last couple of years as a guy who can get the bat on the ball, regardless of the quality of the pitch. He can get to a fastball, get to a breaking ball, and recognize off-speed. I think he has the mindset (that) he’s ready to hit.
“He’s aggressive,” Black continued about Daza, who reached base safely in a career-long 18 straight games while compiling a career-best 12-game hitting streak during a span of games from the end of April to late May.
“I think early in his career that worked against him as a young player, overanxious in the big leagues trying too hard,” Black said. “Now I think there is a comfort level. He has a confidence that he belongs here, that he can succeed here, and it shows up in his at bats.”
On six occasions, Daza has amassed three-hit contests — his career-best — with the most recent time coming on May 10 in San Francisco.
During the past two season, the native of Maracay, Venezuela, has hit at a .340 clip (72-for-212) at Coors Field, including a lofty .382 mark (21-for-55) there this season before Wednesday’s doubleheader with Miami.
Since his debut with the Rox in 2019, he has proven to not be a home run hitter while proving to be a clutch, pinch-hitter.
It has been nearly a calendar year since Daza slugged his last homer on June 20, 2021, against Milwaukee at Coors Field. But that does not concern Black in the least bit.
“I think it is him recognizing his game,” the manager said of Daza, who has only two home runs in just more than 500 at-bats in his fourth year as an MLB player.
“I think that’s the thing that stands out the most. He knows that his game is getting base hits. With him, his ability is base hits. Get on base … His component is on-base percentage and getting base hits.”
Several of those base hits that Daza have produced have come in a pinch-hitting role.
In fact, since his inaugural campaign in 2019, Daza’s 14 pinch-hits leads all Rockies players. He is hitting .326 (14-for-43) in that role prior to Wednesday’s action.
His latest pinch-hitting contribution came Monday when Daza stroked a go-ahead, bases-loaded double to drive in three runs and ignite a four-run seventh inning in Colorado’s 7-1 come-from-behind victory against the Marlins.
“I go out there, try to compete and do the best I can, and I am glad I did it,” Daza said of his game-changing two-bagger against Miami that started a string of seven unanswered runs for the Rockies. “Bud Black put me in that situation, gave me an opportunity, and I did my job.”
Daza also added a sacrifice fly to cap a three-run eighth inning to finish the game with a career-high four runs batted in.
Defensively, while splitting time between center and left fields, he has committed just one error in 62 chances with one assist.
“He’s a very good defender,” Black said of Daza. “Coming in, when I got here and was getting to know this organization and getting to know our players, our player development said that he has always been one of our better outfield defenders — (at) all three positions.”
Both offensively — as a starter and a valuable contributor off the bench — and defensively — no matter his position in the outfield — Yonathan Daza is slowly but surely creating a name for himself in the Major Leagues.