Colorado Rockies news and notes for Monday, July 12, 2021
The 2021 Home Run Derby is nearly upon us. This year’s competition is lining up to be one of the best in recent memory. It’s going to have everything you could ever want from a Home Run Derby: Coors Field, balls not stored in the humidor and the league’s best home run hitters, which includes a pitcher for the first time ever in the competition’s 36 year history.
It also includes the hometown favorite Trevor Story. Story will be the thirteenth player in Rockies history to compete in the Home Run Derby. No Rockies player has ever won the competition. Larry Walker came the closest in 1997 when he finished as the runner-up to Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez.
The Rockies are one of eleven teams in Major League Baseball to have never had a player win a derby. If Story is the one to finally do it for the Rockies later today, he’d be just the fourth player to win it in his home ballpark. The last to do just that was Bryce Harper in 2018 who won it in his final season with the Nationals.
Vinny Castilla had a shot to do it for the Rockies the last time Coors Field hosted the All-Star game in 1998, but he lost in the second round to Jim Thome and Ken Griffey Jr. If you feel live traveling back in time to watch the last Coors Field derby, that entire derby is available to watch from beginning to end on YouTube right here.
Michael Cuddyer put up an impressive fifteen total home runs at Citi Field in 2013 but fell just one home run shy of beating out Bryce Harper to reach the final round. It might not have mattered that season because Yoenis Céspedes was on an absolute tear during that derby and easily beat out Harper for his first of two Home Run Derby crowns.
Of course the man who owns just about every Rockies franchise record has also hit the most home runs in a single derby by a Rockies player and that’s the Hall of Famer Larry Walker. Despite having more recent Rockies competing in the derby under different formats, no Rockies hitter has yet to hit more than the 19 he hit in 1997.
In that year’s derby, Walker finished both the first and second rounds with the most home runs of the field. But in that year’s competition the home runs from previous rounds did not carry over and he could not beat Tino Martinez’s three home runs with less than five outs in the final round.
If Trevor Story is to make history in this year’s bracket format, he’ll have to do better than his former teammate Carlos González and current teammate Charlie Blackmon who both lost in their first round match ups. CarGo lost to Todd Frazier by just one home run in 2016. Frazier would go on to win the competition that year. Blackmon lost to then-rookie Cody Bellinger in 2017, also by just one home run.
Story will look to get his home crowd on their feet tonight as he faces Joey Gallo in the first round, and hopefully become the first Rockie to take home the trophy.
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If you missed it in all that was happening yesterday, 2019 first round draft choice and No. 4 PuRP, Michael Toglia smashing a 444 foot home run in yesterday’s Futures Game. He finished 1-for-3. Ryan Vilade and Willie MacIver each went 0-for-2. MacIver, a catcher, did throw out a runner trying to steal third.
With the eighth overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, the Colorado Rockies selected Benny Montgomery. Montgomery is an 18 year-old 6-foot-5 outfielder out of Red Land High School in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. He’s a University of Virginia commit who has the rare combination of both power and speed. According to The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, Montgomery even had a 4.04 GPA and scored 1400 on his SATs. He can also do a decent Borat impression according to one of his high school coaches. Over the coming days, we’ll continue to get to know the newest member of the Rockies organization.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort has to be one of the most excited people in Denver this week. He gets to show off Coors Field and the recently opened McGregor Square to the entire baseball world. He tells Rox Pile that he feels he, everyone in the Rockies organization and the city have pretty much delivered on putting together All-Star week on such short notice.
On the farm
In central Texas, the Isotopes were just able to hold off the Express. Connor Joe led the way with a 2-for-2 game that included two walks and a pair of home runs. Wynton Bernard had a big RBI triple in the seventh to provide an insurance run. Starting pitcher Brandon Gold earned his second win of the year as he allowed just three hits and one run in six innings while striking out eight.
The Sea Dogs scored four runs in the seventh inning to come back from a 3-5 deficit and beat the Yard Goats. Willie Abreu hit for a 2-for-4 day with a two run home run and a double. Jameson Hannah went 2-for-5 with a double. Yoan Aybar had a rough day out of the bullpen as he gave up four runs in just 2⁄3 of an inning for his sixth loss and fifth blown save of the season.
The Spokane Indians late inning rally fell just short as they lost to the Canadians for the second day in a row. Starting pitcher Breiling Eusebio dug the team into a hole as he gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. Niko Decolati had a nice 2-for-3 outing with two RBI.
The Grizzlies won their fifth game of a six game series against the Giants. This one didn’t come easy as they went to the extra innings. Eddy Diaz would hit a game winning double in the top of the tenth to give his team the win. Starting pitcher Andrew DiPiazza threw six shutout innings and allowed just two hits while striking out six. Grant Lavigne went 2-for-4.
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