How Rodgers plans to reach 'full potential'

September 22nd, 2022

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding's Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers’ homework time nearly came sooner than he wished. But MRI results from the left hamstring injury he sustained on Sunday at Wrigley Field were encouraging, so he should return soon. When the stopping point occurs, though, Rodgers is eager to do some digging.

Rodgers’ season has been down-up-down. He hit .078 in April, .311 over May, June and July, and .218 since Aug. 1. The injury occurred on an RBI groundout against the Cubs in Sunday’s first inning, which ran his hitless streak to 11 at-bats. He will search for his swing for the rest of the year and seek explanations for recent struggles when the season ends.

“I don’t like looking at numbers much, but I’m going to break it down after the season and look at some strengths and weaknesses,” Rodgers said. “I know I haven’t reached my full potential yet.”

While he doesn’t like filling his mind with information during a competitive season, Rodgers has some ideas as to why he is struggling, even without doing an exhaustive search on the computer.

“I need to hit the ball on the ground less,” he said. “I haven’t looked at any numbers or spray charts. But I know how I get attacked, early away or in, whether it’s a sinkerball guy or a high-spin, four-seam guy. I get sliders away and I’m getting a lot of right-on-right changeups. With how my swing is, guys think they can get under my hands.

“Next year, a huge thing for me is going to be establishing the inside corner of the plate and working off that. The damage is on the inner half. I know I can hit a ball to right-center, even if it’s on the inner half. I don’t need to try to pull a pitch that’s away. I just need to get better at pulling that inside pitch more instead of hitting the ball on the ground. It’s not completely changing right away, but I know what I need -- a little bit of hips, a little bit of hands.

“It’s almost like I’m trying too hard to get the ball in the air, instead of trusting my hands, my approach, my plan.”

Rodgers said he was in a good spot physically before the injury, just five pounds below his Opening Day weight, so his core-based workouts are working.

His 22 defensive runs saved were tied for most among all Major Leaguers going into Tuesday.

One offensive adjustment this winter may be using virtual-reality glasses, an increasingly popular training tool (Chris O’Dowd, a former Minor Leaguer with the Rockies, among other teams, and son of former Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd is founder of Win Reality). Rodgers will lean on Brian Jones, the club’s new director of research and development, for information before going with VR.

Rodgers declined to switch to new technology in-season.

“I’ve heard good things, but I don’t like changing something super drastically during the season, because it might mess me up mentally in the box,” Rodgers said.