Rockies’ Bud Black on OF Yonathan Daza’s breakout season: “The talent is showing up” – The Denver Post
Before Rockies CF Yonathan Daza cranked a two-run homer to left in Sunday’s eventual loss to Milwaukee, there was no elaborate plan as he stepped into the box against Brewers lefty Eric Lauer.
Daza, who’s ripped a .347 batting average in June with 11 RBIs, didn’t overcomplicate matters.
“Before I get in the box, I guess I just think about line drive off the pitcher,” he said through a translator before Tuesday’s game in Seattle, which marked the start of a five-game road trip. “… Honestly, I never really rely on anything or use anything. I just, basically, show and go.”
Daza’s simplistic approach has more than worked out for the 27-year-old center fielder. His .328 average on the season is far and away the best on the Rockies, while his strong month has been buoyed by a nine-game hitting streak.
“He had a very good offseason as far as physical conditioning,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “He came in a little bit stronger this season. The bat speed, the strength to the swing, looked much improved over the previous couple seasons that he was in Major League camp with us.”
Black not only credited his improved strength, he cited his mental approach to the game, whether it be battling a pitcher with two strikes or spraying to all parts of the field.
“He plays with a great deal of passion, and I like the fact that he’s playing loose,” Black said. “I think last year, there might’ve been a little bit of tension in his game, getting to the big leagues for the first time. I think it showed in his at-bats. Now, I think you’re seeing a more relaxed, confident and poised player. The talent is showing up.”
Asked whether he modeled his game after any particular player, Daza was respectful in his reply.
“I don’t think I play anywhere near this guy, Mike Trout, but he’s one of those guys that I definitely watch and admire,” he said.
Daza’s easygoing approach seems to have trickled into all facets of this season. Rather than dwell on the Rockies’ awful 5-27 road record heading into Tuesday night, he distilled his answer into the need for a “short-term memory.”
And when pressed whether he saw any advantage as a hitter in MLB’s ongoing crackdown of pitchers’ sticky substances, Daza more or less shrugged.
“Honestly, we haven’t given it much attention,” he said. “As a hitter, I don’t really focus on it, whether they use it or not, or what they’re doing. It’s not in my control, so I tend not to worry about it.”
See the ball, hit the ball. Daza’s breakout season might be as simple as that.
Owings back: The Rockies activated 2B Chris Owings off the 60-day DL, the team announced shortly before Tuesday’s first pitch, and designated RHP Joe Harvey for assignment.
Owings hit .533 over the first seven games of the season before suffering a left thumb injury that ultimately required surgery.
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