Bret Boswell Packs A Punch
The Rockies found a hitting gem in the eighth round of the 2017 draft when they took Texas second baseman Bret Boswell. As he enters his third pro season, the 24-year-old will be heading to big league spring training as a non-roster player.
He hit 27 home runs in 549 plate appearances last year, playing 97 games at low Class A Asheville and 36 at high Class A Lancaster.
In addition to Boswell, third baseman Colton Welker, first baseman Tyler Nevin, catcher Brian Serven, righthanders Rico Garcia and Matt Pierpont and lefthander Ben Bowden will attend big league camp for the first time. Reliever Justin Lawrence, who was added to the 40-man roster last fall, also will participate in his first big league camp. All originally were signed by the Rockies.
Farm director Zach Wilson said Boswell has "sort of fallen under the radar,” because the organization has several higher-profile prospects—particularly on the infield—who have shone offensively. "But he can really hit. And this is not Asheville-, Lancaster-type of inflated numbers. These are real legitimate numbers.”
Boswell hit .296/.345/.529 and drove in 78 runs last season.
"It’s sort of a pure lefthanded swing,” Wilson said. "It’s very compact, very short to the ball.”
Most of Boswell’s power is from right-center to the right field foul pole, but he has shown the ability to hit to all fields. Listed at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, he doesn’t look like he should generate the power he does. But Wilson said the power comes from an efficient swing that is short to the ball and long through it with good finish.
After playing second base exclusively at short-season Boise in 2017, the Rockies introduced Boswell to third base last year.
Boswell has enough arm to play those two positions plus shortstop, all three of which he played in college. But Boswell’s range, footwork and instincts are best suited for second base. He should begin the season at Double-A Hartford.
"His bat is definitely going to carry him,” Wilson said. "I think ultimately second base is probably his best position. He has a chance to be an average second baseman, probably a tick below-average at third.”
—Fred Ocasio will be the development supervisor at Boise, where Steve Soliz will manage. This is Ocasio's 23rd season in the organization. He spent the past four seasons managing at the high Class A level. Soliz spent 15 seasons with the Angels as their bullpen catcher, bullpen coach and last year as their catching and information coach.
—Blaine Beatty, who spent the past 13 years in the Orioles’ organization, including 10 at the high Class A level or below, will be the pitching coach at Rookie-level Grand Junction.