It’s been a slow start at the plate in 2017 for the defending National League batting champion. Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu collected two base hits against San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner in order to bring his batting average up to .211 and talked to us recently about how over magnified stats like that can be this early in the year.
So while we are shining the magnifying glass on some things, it’s worth pointing out that LeNahieu’s defense hasn’t slumped a bit. He has been fantastic with the leather early on, making his biggest play of the season to end the game last night, snaring an Eduardo Nunez grounder on a tough hop and spinning toward second base to start the double play.
He’s already shown again this year that he can make the spectacular play when it counts and make the in-between plays look routine. His ability with the glove will be even more important this season as the Rockies will rely more and more on run prevention instead of run creation.
His game-saving play last night — hey if Jonathan Villar is a second, that game is probably tied there — is just the next sentence in an opening chapter of the 2017 part of this conversation on team building. The Rockies have already kept narrow leads because of the otherworldly defense of Nolan Arenado in the first series in Milwaukee, the very good defense of Gerardo Parra against the Dodgers at Coors Field, and the continues-to-surprise-people-despite-doing-this-consistently-for-a-while-now defense of Mark Reynolds all season.
GM Jeff Bridich has placed a premium on defense and athleticism, and LeMahieu says he thinks Bridich may be ahead of the curve on that.
He got a pair of hits and scored a run in a tight contest, but ask closer Greg Holland who was a misplay away from blowing his first save of 2017 which if the hits or the play to end the game were more important to the win, ya know?
So far, the Colorado Rockies are winning on pitching and defense. Can you imagine what they might look like if they ever start hitting?