PHOENIX -- It's not a contest, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez says. But he admits enjoying that the velocity of his home runs ranks among the most impressive in the Majors, even though there are players who are way more massive.Gonzalez's third-inning homer off Zack Greinke in Monday's 10-5 victory over
PHOENIX -- It's not a contest, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez says. But he admits enjoying that the velocity of his home runs ranks among the most impressive in the Majors, even though there are players who are way more massive.
Gonzalez's third-inning homer off Zack Greinke in Monday's 10-5 victory over the D-backs zoomed over the wall at 117.36 mph, according to Statcast™. Last year, the first full year of Statcast™ measurements and estimates, just two homers, by the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, were clocked as faster.
Roster listings can be undependable, but Stanton is listed at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, Gonzalez at 6-1 and 220 -- although he began the season in the 213-215 range. From the eye test, Stanton is much bigger.
"It's nice to be compared to guys like Mike Trout and Stanton, who are way bigger than me," Gonzalez said before going 1-for-3 in Tuesday's 11-6 loss. "But it's nothing that we work on or are trying to do. We're just trying to hit the ball hard.
"I don't think it has anything to do with how big you are. It's more about hitting the ball right. I've got good bat speed, and that creates the velocity. And there's the pitcher, too."
High heat: During an eye-popping ninth inning Monday, Rockies right-handed reliever Miguel Castro, 21, reached 97 mph consistently, yet threw multiple sliders at 81-83 mph. Not only does Castro throw a two-seam sinking fastball and a four-seamer with late movement, but he's also working on a circle-grip changeup -- a pitch he threw just once.
That talent and pitch mix signals that he can develop into a weapon.
Castro has come a long way quickly. He began last season closing games for the Blue Jays. Although he was sent to the Minors, the fact he broke with the big club at such a young age signals his talent level. The Rockies insisted on him as part of the package for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins.
On Monday, Castro walked one and gave up a hit, but struck out two and was never truly in trouble.
"Last year was my first time playing in the Major Leagues, so I did feel nervous, but now I have experience," Castro said. "I just go out there and do my job."
After the trade, Castro struggled with the Rockies (0-1, 10.13 ERA in five games), but was affected by a back strain that led the club to shut him down before season's end. He came back this year a more controlled pitcher.
"He attacks the strike zone," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Every once in a while his delivery gets out of whack, but this spring we liked the fact he was able to reel it back in. It didn't last for an entire inning. He might have gotten out of his delivery for a pitch or two at the most, then he was back in it, making the adjustments on the fly."
• Lefty Tyler Matzek, on the 15-day disabled list as he completes a comeback from performance anxiety, has been throwing bullpen sessions and has one set for Wednesday. The Rockies have yet to schedule him to face hitters in extended Spring Training. ... Left-hander Tyler Anderson, on the DL with a strained right oblique, is playing long-toss at 110 feet. The Rockies will soon schedule him to pitch off the mound.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.