Beck homers again as adjustments pay off

May 18th, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rookie tipped his batting helmet toward cheering members of the Rockies bullpen. Those folks, and everyone else at Oracle Park, had just witnessed Beck’s second homer in as many days, over the center-field wall during Friday night's 10-5 loss to the Giants that snapped Colorado's seven-game winning streak.

If all goes as Beck and the Rockies expect, Beck will be garnering much respect with his bat.

Beck, 23, the 38th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, debuted April 30, after hitting .307 with five homers and 28 RBIs in 25 games at Triple-A Albuquerque. He had a wobbly first week-plus -- two hits in his debut at Miami, but one hit in his next six games. But Beck began finding his form with a 2-for-4 game with a double against the Giants on May 8 at Coors Field.

With Friday’s homer off Giants starter Mason Black, Beck extended his hit streak to six games. The previous game was a 3-for-4 performance with a home run, a double and five RBIs in a victory Wednesday against the Padres.

The picture of Beck running out his homer and accepting the kudos from his teammates in stride mirrors the way he is viewing his early time in the Majors.

“It’s a normal baseball season,” said Beck, the Rockies' No. 4 prospect. “This is a short sample size. Things will change. I’ll grow. Other teams will learn things about me, and we’ll just have to keep adapting.”

Beck is confirming what the Rockies saw in Spring Training, when he made a legitimate bid at the Opening Day roster before the club decided to give him regular playing time in Triple-A. While Beck is built for power and backed that evaluation by hitting 33 home runs in 177 Minor League games, his approach is solid enough that he can be a successful hitter for average.

The Rockies maintained belief in Beck’s hit tool as he struggled with the fastball during his first several games.

“Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to adjust, and sometimes it doesn’t take any time at all,” Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens said. “He got here and got two hits in his first game.

“But then they were throwing fastballs up in the zone by him. He was a tick late. But he made the adjustment to be on time -- nothing else has changed.

“It takes certain guys a little bit of time to get used to being in the Majors, get away from the awe. They’ve got to throw the ball just across the plate in the Major Leagues just like in the Minor Leagues.”

Two of the three hits Wednesday against the Padres, including the homer off Jeremiah Estrada, were on pitches in the 95 mph range -- a sign that he was adjusting to the Major League pitchers.

“You’ve got to hit all pitches, but you’ve really got to hit the fastball in the big leagues,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.

Friday’s homer came on an 81 mph sweeper, after Beck had fouled off a 91.3 mph sinker. The more Beck plays, the more practice he will have at adjusting to varying velocities and spins.

“I was on top of the heater, but he threw a breaking ball and I hit it out front and hit it well,” Beck said. “It’s a game of adjustments.”

In Friday’s loss, Rockies starting pitcher Ryan Feltner could not find consistency with any of his pitches, and the 4-1 lead that Beck’s homer gave him evaporated. Thairo Estrada’s three-run shot in the fifth chased Feltner with no outs and gave the Giants a 5-4 lead. Reliever Jake Bird continued his inconsistent command, with a walk to lead off his first inning and two walks (one intentional) and a hit batsman in his second frame as he gave up two runs.

The inability to string big hits throughout a game -- a problem during the Rockies’ struggling first six weeks -- cropped up again Friday. Beck nearly broke open the game with second and third and no outs in the fourth, but Giants first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. dove to stop a grounder that seemed ticketed to right field.

The Rockies couldn’t drive in either runner. Ezequiel Tiovar’s RBI double with two out in the sixth was it for clutch hits after the first inning -- which saw Ryan McMahon’s two-run double and Brendan Rodgers’ RBI double.

“We’ve got good bats,” Beck said. “The team’s seeing it well, swinging it well. Tonight was just an outlier, and we’re going to continue to play well.”