Rockies' Julio Carreras Answers Questions About His Bat
Entering the 2022 season, shortstop Julio Carreras faced questions about his bat.
Left shoulder surgery delayed his start in 2021 and hampered the righthanded hitter at Low-A Fresno, where he hit .254/.306/.392 in 94 games with a 25% strikeout rate.
Carreras largely scrapped his leg kick in 2022. He led the minors with 42 doubles and answered enough questions about his bat for the Rockies to add him to their 40-man roster. He turns 23 on Jan. 12.
Carreras hit .289/.352/.473 with 37 doubles and 11 homers in 110 games for High-A Spokane with a 24% strikeout rate.
He then hit .233 in 19 games for Double-A Hartford, where his strikeout rate rose to 31%. He is expected to return to Hartford in 2023.
Rockies farm director Chris Forbes said a key for the free-swinging Carreras to improve his plate discipline will be solidifying his plan at the plate and having conviction in executing it.
“The growth that he had this year was exponential,” Forbes said. “We've just got to keep him on that track. But that plate discipline and pitch recognition piece is going to be a critical component to him sustaining a big league career.”
Carreras is lean and wiry, has strong hands, a short stroke and raw power that could become game power. He’s very adept at third base as well as shortstop, has a plus arm, can make above-average plays and could hold his own now defensively in the big leagues.
In fact, Northwest League managers voted him best defensive shortstop in Best Tools voting.
Signed at 18 for just $15,000 from an impoverished area in the Dominican Republic, Carreras is a high-energy clubhouse presence. Teammates gravitate to him.
“There’s so many intangibles with him added to what he does on the field,” assistant farm director Jesse Stender said. “It’s a very exciting package.”
— In addition to Julio Carreras, the Rockies added four other players to their 40-man roster at the No. 15 deadline to exclude them from the Rule 5 draft. They also added relievers Riley Pint and Blair Calvo, third baseman Warming Bernabel and outfielder Brenton Doyle.
— Warren Schaeffer, who turns 38 on Jan. 28, has spent his entire 16-year professional career in the Rockies’ organization. He was promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he managed in 2021 and 2022, and will be the Rockies’ third base coach and infield instructor. Schaeffer played for six years after being drafted in the 38th round in 2007 out of Virginia Tech and reached Triple-A.
He moved immediately into coaching and was the hitting coach at short-season Tri-City in 2013 and 2014. Prior to managing Albuquerque, Schaeffer managed Low-A Asheville from 2015-17 and Double-A Hartford in 2018 and ’19.
Schaeffer replaces Stu Cole, who spent 27 seasons in the Rockies’ organization, the past 10 as the big league third base coach and infield instructor. The Rockies offered Cole, who turns 57 in February, a position in their minor league system, one that likely would have given him much latitude. He declined the offer, hoping instead to continue coaching in the major leagues.
— The Rockies fired Scott Little and Frank Gonzales, both veteran members of the player development staff. Gonzales, 54, spent 10 years in the Rockies’ organization and this past season was the pitching coach at Albuquerque. Gonzales has managed and been a development supervisor in the Rockies’ system and a pitching coach at three different levels.
Little, who turns 60 in January, managed High-A Spokane for the second straight year in 2022, his seventh season in the Rockies’ organization. In addition to managing three years at the High-A level in the Rockies’ system. Little also managed at short-season Boise in 2017 and ’18 and was a hitting coach there in 2016.