Quicker Adjustments Were Key For Rockies' Garner
DENVER — Invited to his first big league camp as a non-roster player, outfielder Cole Garner used that experience as a springboard to a solid season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, his best yet as a professional by most measurements.
Garner hit .304/.374/.520 in 111 games with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs in 415 at-bats. He reached career-highs in batting average and on-base and slugging percentages as well as triples (10) and walks (39).
"He had better pitch recognition and coverage as far as the outer half of the plate," Colorado Springs manager Stu Cole said. "He just made some adjustments throughout the course of spring training and then carried them on throughout the course of season.
"He really started staying through the baseball rather than getting in and getting out. He started staying through the baseball, using his lower half and then (was) able to supply more power with his swing."
Garner, 25, said during good stretches in the past, he was aware of using his lower half effectively to stay through the ball longer and drive it the other way or to the middle of the field.
"I think the biggest thing this year, I was just able to make adjustments quicker," said Garner, adding that he could make them from at-bat to at-bat and when really locked in from pitch to pitch.
Garner played left field but is athletic enough for spot duty in center field. Defensively, his decision-making needs work but figures to improve with experience. The question is, will that experience be in another organization? Garner will become a minor league free agent five days after the World Series unless the Rockies add him to their 40-man roster.
"I've really liked playing for the organization," Garner said. "It's great, all the coaches and coordinators. I got to know the big league staff and they're all great. I like the Rockies. I like the organization, but there's obviously other organizations out there, so we'll see what happens."
• Double-A Tulsa catcher Jordan Pacheco and righthander Bruce Billings will tune up for the Arizona Fall League by playing for the USA Pan American Qualifying Team in a tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
• In his final six starts, Modesto righthander Juan Nicasio went 3-1, 2.30 with five walks and 42 strikeouts in 43 innings to finish 12-10, 3.91.