Christensen Changes Approach For Rockies
DENVER—The true test will come next season in games that matter, not in instructional league. But it was there outfielder David Christensen gained recognition for the right reasons rather than for alarming strikeout totals.
Challenged to make changes at the plate, Christensen worked hard to incorporate a new approach. It features a wide stance, no stride and picking up and putting down his heel quickly to get the necessary weight shift while eliminating the notable head movement that has doomed Christensen at the plate. Christensen has struggled ever since the Rockies drafted him in the second round (46th overall) in 2006 and signed him for $750,000, a bonus that has given Christensen, 22, repeat opportunities.
"But the thing that piques your interest is this guy has all the tools," said roving hitting coordinator Jim Johnson, the organizational point man to re-make Christensen offensively. "He has raw power. He has better than average foot speed. When he does everything right, he has an above-average arm. Excellent outfielder. Excellent baserunner. So it's all there, if we can just get him to calm down at the plate and start making consistent contact."
To date, that has been elusive. Christensen hit .192/.289/.317 this year at high Class A Modesto with eight homers and 21 stolen bases along with 132 strikeouts in 312 at-bats. That rate of one strikeout every 2.4 at-bats has been the norm for Christensen, who in five professional seasons has averaged one strikeout every 2.5 at-bats while hitting .217/.288/.388 with 51 homers and 186 RBIs in 1,514 at-bats.
• Outfielder Cole Garner, 25, was added to the 40-man roster for the first time. He hit .304/.374/.520 at Triple-A Colorado Springs with 13 homers and could have become a minor league free agent.
• Catcher Jordan Pacheco has played first base to get at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, where he was hitting .413/.491/.609 in 13 games.