This Rox prospect is falling in love with the routine of pro ball

May 31st, 2024

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 No. 27 prospect is enjoying the faster, almost daily pace of games in his first full year of pro baseball.

Karros, 21, is slashing .294/.388/.436 with three home runs, 12 doubles and one triple through 43 games while playing third base at High-A Spokane after being the Rockies’ fifth-round MLB Draft pick last summer. For comparison, at UCLA last year Karros appeared in 44 games.

Karros is listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, and is athletic -- as shown in how he handles third base, and on this inside-the-park home run.

So he is keeping up with the pace. Karros is experiencing no fatigue, and finding the idea that he wakes up almost every day with a chance to play baseball exciting.

“I look at it as [if] I’m going to get 400 or 500 at-bats over the course of the year,” said Karros, who appeared in 36 games last summer with the Rockies Arizona Complex League team and Single-A Fresno. “A rough night here and there -- an 0-for-4 -- that’s not really going to show up, whereas in college, if you have a rough weekend, those stats are going to stay with you the entire year.

“It allows me to take a step back from all the numbers, and allows me to really focus on my work and my process. And I just trust that on the numbers side of things, it’ll all just take care of itself.”

No worry about numbers lately. In his last 14 games, Karros has batted .362 (21-for-58) with two home runs, four doubles and 11 RBIs while in the midst of adjusting his swing to the pro game.

At UCLA, Karros had an opposite-way approach that produced a .284 average, five home runs and eight doubles. The Rockies saw a player with strike-zone awareness based on his .372 college on-base percentage, but with the natural strength, Karros and Spokane hitting coach Tom Sutaris worked toward generating impact.

“We’ve looked at the numbers, and I consistently hit the ball as hard as anyone in this league, so I don't need to try to swing harder or faster or anything like that,” Karros said. “If I catch the ball on the barrel out in front of me, it's going to come off at 100 mph or harder. We are just trying to take away any excess movement that's standing in the way of me just getting the barrel to the ball.”

Spokane manager Robinson Cancel praised the attention Karros is giving into the project.

“He sometimes beats me to the park -- he’s here when I get here at 11,” said Cancel, who also said Karros can become a “premium third baseman” defensively.

The grind of the season won’t end, but Karros arrived with ideas of what he would face. His father, Eric Karros, played 14 seasons in the Majors and has passed to his son the importance of smart training.

“My dad always mentioned that he and [Hall of Famer] Mike Piazza would go into every season and think, ‘This is the year we’re going to lift heavy throughout the whole year and stay strong.’ Then about a month in, they’d find themselves doing maintenance stuff and not the heavy lifting.”

Between his father’s advice and the Rockies coaches, Karros said, “I like the program I’m on, and two months in I feel great.”