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Designed to bat, Zach Finn is a running back for Colorado

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA Today Sports

Colorado Rockies did not make the draft Zak Finn 9th overall in 2020 because of his wheels. They did it because he could hit baseballs. As Eric Longenhagen books The following spring, the left-handed batter had “the clearest long-distance display of strength” among high school recruits that year, adding that Veen’s “inside-the-box actions are calm and smooth right up until the moment he decides to unleash all hell on baseball.” Longenhagen rated him the best player in the organization before he even played his first professional game.

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Two seasons into his career, Finn’s still promising powerhouse has been overshadowed by the running game. With 232 contests, the 6-foot-4 Port Orange, Florida native left the yard a modest 27 times and slammed 91 indecisive bases. Counting his stint last season in the Arizona Fall League, those total numbers are 28 home runs and 107 stolen bases in 253 games.

I asked Veen, who came in at No. 51 on baseball americaNewly released Top 100 (our rankings to come) list, about Eric Young Sr. Like steal numbers before the AFL game last October. Was stealing too many bases an upcoming goal for the 2022 season?

He told me, “Honestly, it was something I learned a lot about last year, and I wanted to carry that into this year.” “A lot of it is choosing the right time to run. Last year I kind of ran anytime, and this year I only try to run when I need to run.”

His success rate proves it. After going 36-for-53 in stolen attempts with Low-A Fresno in 2021, he went 55-for-64 this season between High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford. With the AFL’s Salt River Rafters, he went 16-for-18.

Finn said he only tried to run when he needed to run raising my eyebrows. The 21-year-old (as of December) has made over 60 tackles in 126 regular season games, and that’s exactly not picking your spots. It is intermittent aggression. right?

He replied, “I certainly trust what I can do based on the rules.” “It’s something I’ve always been proud of. We worked on the running game so much in high school that it’s kind of ingrained in my mind now. It’s something I will always have, and something I will continue to do,”

The old adage “you can’t steal first base” is undoubtedly still true, and many minor league speedsters have caught fire for this very reason. Even if they still make it to the big leagues, the lack of basic skills greatly limits their value (hello, Billy Hamilton). Finn is not expected to have this problem. While some talent assessors hold back their expectations of the young player’s strength, his board discipline remains a strength, and his ball-playing skills are considered strong. He made 132 starts in 541 games last season, but it’s important to note that he did so as a 20-year-old, and he’s played his last 34 games at the Double-A level. He had a 12.5% ​​walk average and 0.38 OBP in Spokane before finishing at 11.8% and . 340 after facing older, more experienced arms in his plus month with Hartford.

When asked about the rookie running game, Colorado general manager Bill Schmidt emphasized the mental component.

“Zach plays with a lot of passion,” said Schmidt, who spent decades as a scout before moving to his current position in October 2021. “What he showed was aggression, not fear. He had a successful year.” [Stealing bases] It’s an element of his game, and we’ll see where it goes from here, and how that translates.”

Finn declined to estimate how many stolen bases he might get at the big league level. Claiming to “play the game and let things happen,” he claimed not to know about the many steals he had with Salt River by the time we spoke (they were 13 of 14 attempts). But then again, stealing is something Finn takes pride in, and he pairs that with good skills on base. He wouldn’t necessarily have to develop into a power hitter in order to contribute to Colorado.

“You don’t always have to swing it to get the scoring position,” he said. “Some days you might not even get good pitches, but if you can get to base and use your legs, you can definitely benefit the team. Speed ​​is just another tool in my toolbox.”

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