Strike-zone awareness, keen hand-eye coordination and the ability to get his barrel on the ball have been consistent skills for shortstop Adael Amador during his rise in the Rockies’ system.
Excessive strikeouts and minimal walks have never been issues for the switch-hitting Amador, who turns 21 in April. In 231 career games, he has 153 walks and 133 strikeouts.
“He pressures the pitcher,” Rockies assistant farm director Jesse Stender said. “The pitcher has to come to him. He knows what he’s doing.
“It’s an advanced at-bat for a kid who’s generally pretty young (for his league). He makes the pitcher work. He gets his pitch, and he knows how to do damage with it. It’s very impressive for a kid his age.”
Amador seemingly was on his way to a big year at High-A Spokane before he lost a month and a half with a broken right hamate bone. Through 54 games he hit .302/.392/.514 with nine home runs and more walks (31) than strikeouts (26).
When Amador completed his recovery, he made a five-game tuneup in the Arizona Complex League before reporting to Double-A Hartford on Aug. 26. He went just 5-for-35 with four walks in a 10-game sample in the Eastern League.
Amador’s hands are his best asset defensively. He profiles as average across the board at shortstop, where he made 43 starts for Spokane and Hartford. He made 20 starts at second base, including nine at Hartford.
The Rockies have 22-year-old Ezequiel Tovar set up to be the club’s long-term shortstop. So Amador’s future appears to be at second base in Colorado. He is slated to return to Double-A to begin 2024.
“I think a quick Double-A experience, (then) on to Triple-A would be in an ideal world what we’d be hoping for,” Stender said. “But obviously we’ll see how things play out.”
— First-time non-roster invitees to big league camp include pitchers Jaden Hill, Carson Palmquist and Joe Rock; outfielders Benny Montgomery, Jordan Beck and Bladimir Restituyo; second baseman Sterlin Thompson, first baseman Grant Lavigne and shortstop Ryan Ritter.
— Tony Wolters will begin his coaching career as the bench coach with the Rockies’ Arizona Complex League affiliate. A former catcher, Wolters played for the Rockies from 2016 to 2020. With field and catching coordinator Mark Strittmatter joining Cubs manager Craig Counsell’s coaching staff, Doug Bernier becomes the field coordinator and Dustin Garneau the catching coordinator in addition to being the game planning coordinator.
— Chris Denorfia was named the Rockies’ outfield and baserunning coordinator, with Bobby Meacham replacing Denorfia as Double-A Hartford manager. Meacham had been the Triple-A Albuquerque manager, a role now filled by Michael Ryan, who spent the past two seasons managing the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee team.