When Trevor Story went down due to his thumb injury last season, the Colorado Rockies lacked the necessary depth to cope with it. The team went out and signed Alexi Amarista this offseason to potentially fill the void. However, it is looking as if it's Cristhian Adames' spot to lose.
A little competition is good.
Colorado's 25-year-old infielder is known as a glove-first player -- not so much for the bat. Adames appeared in 121 games last season, slashing .218/.304/.302 with eight doubles, four triples, two home runs, and 20 RBI. Many, at the beginning of 2016, wanted him as the team's everyday shortstop -- over Trevor Story mind you.
So far in 2017 -- even though it's just Spring Training -- Adames is making strides at the plate which in his case will hopefully pencil him in on the Opening Day roster.
In Wednesday afternoons game against the Milwaukee Brewers (on a hit-and-run), Adames blasted a game-winning two-run shot to give Colorado the 5-4 victory.
"It was a hit-and-run so I just tried to hit the ball hard somewhere," Adames said. "[Jacob Barnes] threw me a cutter inside." And he hit the ball hard somewhere; over the right field fence.
This is perhaps the deepest the Rockies' roster has been in quite sometime which means you have to take advantage of every opportunity you have to ensure a place on the final roster.
Adames is doing just that, hitting .323/.333/.645 with one double, three home runs, and six RBI in 17 games played. By comparison, Adames has one more home run this spring in 104 fewer games compared to the 2016 season. He told the press after the game that adding some power and having it show up in games has been a focus of his recently, and while he was just trying to put the bat on the ball in that situation, it felt good to see it. "I've been working on that," he says.
What has been most important to Adames is simply continuing to get the looks. "I just enjoy every opportunity they give me," he says while noting that making the Opening Day 25-man roster is, of course, the goal but out of his hands.
This isn't good news for Amarista who is looking to make the Opening Day roster himself. The 27-year-old has played in ten games so far, hitting just .174/.269/.261 with two doubles and three walks. The former Padres infielder/outfielder has never been known for his bat, slashing a career line of .230/.276/.320.
Adames was also seen taking some reps at first base the past few days. Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond went down with a fractured left hand after being hit by a pitch in last Sunday's game. This will leave the team to decide between veteran Mark Reynolds and/or Jordan Patterson to man the position in his absence.
"Just practice [but] you never know what can happen," Adames said. "Just practice at first base."
When describing his current rhythm, Adames says, "Play happy. Play hard." That could easily be this team's 2017 motto and one that sees him as an important part of it.