Ryan Vilade Makes Transition To Outfield
Ryan Vilade will see considerable time in the outfield this season, beginning at Double-A Hartford.
Drafted as a 2017 second-rounder from Stillwater (Okla.) High as a shortstop, Vilade began playing third base in 2019 at high Class A Lancaster. He made 46 starts at third and 81 at shortstop.
Moving forward, the 21-year-old will no longer play shortstop.
"He’s still going to play third,” farm director Zach Wilson said, "but as we turn over to the second half of the minor league season, he’s probably going to spend more time in the outfield than anywhere else. Both corners eventually.”
The Rockies introduced Vilade to the outfield in November at a two-week development camp for position players. Vilade mostly shagged balls to understand what the sight lines looked and felt like from that vantage point.
In his first big league camp this spring, Vilade is working on the details and specifics of outfield play to fit well there.
"My scouting eye sees a guy who’s going to play a very good corner outfield,” Wilson said. "He’s going to make every play you want him to make and probably make the special one every once in a while."
Last year, the 6-foot-2, 194-pound Vilade hit .303/.367/.466 with 12 home runs and 24 stolen bases. Wilson said Vilade gained strength and matured as a hitter while keeping his stroke short and strong.
Between the end of the minor league season and the start of development camp, Wilson saw another jump in Vilade’s strength and physical maturity.
"The sound that was coming off his bat was vastly different than what it had been to that point in his career,” Wilson said.
Now, Vilade will get his next test in the Eastern League, where he’ll confront better pitching, the early season cold and a new position manning the outfield.
"He’s going to be able to at the very least hold his own and at the very most overachieve and become an above-average defender,” Wilson said. "It wouldn’t surprise me if he does that defensively just because of who he is and how he works.”
— Shortstop Brendan Rodgers has progressed faster than expected from July right labrum surgery and could play in the field before the end of spring training. An earlier timetable had Rodgers suiting up as a designated hitter in Cactus League games.
— Sam Deduno will begin his coaching career as a pitching coach in the Dominican Summer League. The 36-year-old Dominican native spent his first six professional seasons in the Rockies’ organization. He made four relief appearances for the Rockies in 2010 before pitching for the Padres, Twins and Astros. In parts of six seasons in the big leagues, Deduno went 16-20, 4.38 in 83 games (44 starts).