Daza excelling with both bat and glove

June 23rd, 2021

The Rockies carried several hitting streaks into their two-game Interleague road series against the Mariners on Tuesday night, chief among them was Raimel Tapia’s 17-game heater -- the longest active streak in the Majors, which he extended to 18 games with a sixth-inning single.

Also of note is fellow outfielder, , who, following a two-run home run in the club’s 7-6 series finale loss to the Brewers on Sunday, extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games. Daza's modest streak, however, ended in the Rockies’ 2-1 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday as he went 0-for-4 with one strikeout.

“He's been one of the players I've been watching for a long time,” Daza said of Tapia through a team translator. “We've played together for a while. He inspires me and what he's doing, and [to] continue to do the same thing.”

Daza was slashing .389/.421/.583 during his streak, going 14-for-36 with one home run, four doubles and six RBIs. In that span, the Rockies have gone 5-4, which includes five straight wins at home and a three-game sweep of the rival Padres.

“I don't really pay attention to any of that,” said Daza, when asked if the ball appears any different while he’s locked in at the plate. “I don't know if it looks good or bad or anything, I just go out there and do the same thing every day.”

The 27-year-old currently ranks first among all qualified Major League rookies in batting average (.328), fourth in on-base percentage (.367), 19th in slugging (.419) and sixth in hits (61).

“He's played well, there's no doubt about that,” manager Bud Black said. “The bat speed, the strength to the swing look much improved over the previous couple seasons that he was in Major League camp with us.”

Equally as impressive as Daza’s bat has been his glove. Patrolling center field -- or any part of the outfield at Coors Field -- is no easy task, but Daza has a habit of making highlight-reel worthy catches.

Per Baseball Savant, Daza is worth two outs above average and has two outfield assists on his line entering Tuesday in 389 innings.

“There are two main reasons that I play the way I play,” Daza said of his outfield heroics. “One of them is I like to play hard for my teammates. Any time a ball is hit to center field or wherever I'm playing, I like to feel they have confidence in me and I like to show that, so I like to play for them.

“Secondly, the fans in Denver, man. Any time I go out there and make a diving catch or running play, you know they get me going, excited and I play for them as well.”

American League benefits

With Colorado visiting Seattle before heading to Milwaukee to play the Brewers once more, the team will have the added benefit of the designated hitter, allowing Black to slot in someone in need of rest following a period of 13 straight games.

Shortstop Trevor Story got the nod at designated hitter for Tuesday’s game, while Wednesday’s DH had yet to be determined.

He said it

“I’m really happy for Yonathan [and] how he's playing. He plays with a great deal of passion, and I like the fact that he's playing loose.” -- Black, on Daza’s early success