(Editor’s note: Garrett Hampson led off for the Colorado Rockies on Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks)
As the Colorado Rockies solidify their lineup following Week 1 of the 2021 campaign, the situation at the top of the batting order remains “fluid.”
Ahead of Thursday’s tilt with the Arizona Diamondbacks, manager Bud Black used that specific word to describe his early-season philosophy at the top of the lineup.
“Couldn’t have used a better word in fluid,” Black said Thursday morning. “… We’ve got a few guys who we can put there at the top.”
While Raimel Tapia has led off for Colorado in four of the team’s seven games thus far in the early part of the season, utility players Chris Owings and Garrett Hampson have also batted first for the Rockies over the past few outings.
“I think those three guys we’d like to see have an on-base component, the ability to see some pitches, fight pitches off with two strikes in the early part of the game to set up the rest of the guys and also, more importantly, just to get on base for the guys in the middle of the order,” Black said.
Last year, Tapia spent most of the shortened 60-game season batting first in the lineup, batting .326 in 156 plate appearances with an on-base percentage of .370.
“He had a good offensive year last year for us,” Black said.
Black also touted Hampson’s game on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, wherein he went 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI in five plate appearances.
“Really liked (Hampson’s) game (Wednesday). Two walks. Two hits. Aggressive on the bases,” Black said.
As for Owings, Black said he provides “a little pop at the top of the order,” but his overall on-base percentage needs to improve.
Over his nine-year MLB career, Owings has hit .243 with an on-base percentage of .287. He has just one at-bat for the Rockies in the leadoff spot, but Owings has batted first in 14 starts over his career, batting .212 with an OBP of .257 in 70 plate appearances.
Hampson, on the other hand, has started 21 games batting first, batting .277 with a .352 OBP in 106 plate appearances.
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