Toglia, Goodman show off power with back-to-back homers

February 26th, 2024

PHOENIX -- Rockies manager Bud Black’s message is that playing time is available for younger players swinging well, so and sent their own messages during the second inning on Sunday afternoon.

Toglia, a 2018 first-round Draft pick who has seen Major League time the last two seasons, and Goodman, who debuted last year after hitting 72 homers in his first 263 Minor League games, hit consecutive homers off Brewers righty Taylor Clarke in the Rockies’ 10-3 victory at American Family Fields of Phoenix.

The swings were part of what could be a good problem for the Rockies to have. Toglia -- who also homered Saturday against the Athletics -- and Goodman play the outfield and first base (Goodman also catches). They could be competing for time with left fielder Sean Bouchard and first baseman/designated hitter Elehuris Montero.

As it stands, Montero -- who went deep in Friday’s Cactus League opener, and doubled on Sunday -- is most-secure on the roster, since he is out of Minor League options. Bouchard, who missed much of last season due to a left biceps injury, has a hitting approach that projects well in a typically impatient lineup.

So where do Toglia and Goodman fit?

The switch-hitting Toglia hit .190 left-handed and .109 right-handed in 152 Major League appearances last season -- .163 overall. But he homered 16 times in 78 games at Triple-A Albuquerque, so potential is there. Winter ball in Mexico and offseason workouts were designed to put his body in a better position to hit balls hard from both sides. The two homers -- both from the left side -- are a start.

“You want to make a good impression, show that you can be an everyday big leaguer, and that inherently puts pressure on yourself,” said Toglia, who hit for power late in camp but didn’t make the Opening Day roster last season. “This year, I’m taking the nonchalant approach, knowing what I have is good enough. I just let myself play and earn it every day.”

The right-handed-hitting Goodman, a fourth-rounder from the University of Memphis in '21, noted that Clarke was working his slider against Toglia, and crushed a hanger. Goodman batted .200 with one homer in his 77 big league plate appearances -- but had four doubles and three triples. He believes he can transfer that power to the Majors.

“That’s how I’ve hit for a long time, and I plan on keeping the same approach,” he said. “If I need to make adjustments, I’ll do that.”


• It was a mixed first outing for righty Justin Lawrence, vying for the closer job. He gave up a run on two hits -- opposite-field doubles to right against an outfield shaded the other way. He also struck out two and escaped further damage thanks to a leaping catch by third baseman Coco Montes.

• Rule 5 Draft choice Anthony Molina, a righty selected from the Rays, made his debut Sunday when he entered with one out in the third, striking out two in 1 2/3 scoreless frames. Molina leaned on his fastball, cutter and changeup -- the last he used to strike out Chris Roller, his first batter.

A starter with 254 strikeouts to 74 walks over four pro seasons, Molina, 22, is being prepped for long relief this year. The plan, though, is to develop him for the future rotation.

“He looked under control,” Black said. “His heartbeat was great -- in between innings he was calm. For a young guy he’s got a lot of poise.”

• Righty Karl Kauffman (2-5, 8.23 ERA in 11 games/three starts) yielded a William Contreras homer but no other hits in 2 1/3 innings of his start. Black sees him as a starter but “there’s a resilience to his arm” that could work in relief.

• 2016 top pick Riley Pint, a reliever, fanned three, with a walk and a wild pitch, and Black said he had a “devastating slider today, a lot of swings and misses on that pitch, and a couple good fastballs.”

• Infielder Julio Carreras, 24, in his second year on the 40-man Major League roster, doubled twice Sunday. Last year, the Rockies felt he pressed during Major League camp, but the swings Sunday were more what the club began seeing last year at Double-A Hartford and Albuquerque, and in the Dominican Winter League.

• Aaron Schunk, a second-round pick in 2019 who batted .290 at Albuquerque last season, added two singles after tallying one hit and a stolen base Saturday against the Athletics.