Sports

Trevor Story ain’t hitting. Neither is Raimel Tapia. Crazy as it sounds, maybe Rockies GM Bill Schmidt knows what he’s doing. Maybe.

One month into the Rockies’ slate, let’s check on some old friends, shall we?

• Trevor Story: .217 average, .606 OPS, zero homers, one steal as of Monday afternoon in 18 games for Boston.

• Ramiel Tapia: .239 average, .581 OPS, one homer, three steals in 19 games for Toronto.

• Jon Gray: 0-1, 7.00 ERA in two starts for Texas.

Meanwhile, back on Blake Street:

• Randal Grichuk: .338 average, .912 OPS, three homers, one steal in 17 games.

• Jose Iglesias: .306 average, .739 OPS, zero homers, zero steals in 18 games.

• Chad Kuhl: 3-0, 1.90 ERA in four starts.

Interesting, don’t ya think? The Rockies head into a three-game series with Washington on Tuesday with a 13-9 record, one that’s been helped by playing the execrable Reds (3-19); visits to lowly Texas (8-14) and Detroit (7-14); and getting to play 13 of their first 22 games at Coors Field.

Nobody ever won a pennant in April, kids. But here’s something I didn’t expect to type three months ago:

What if Rockies General Manager Bill Schmidt actually knows what he’s doing?

Oh, I hear already. Schmidt’s call last summer to not trade Story or Gray — both free-agent goners — for prospects looked dumb at the time, and not much better in hindsight.

But Kris Bryant and that $182 million contract aside, the nips and tucks to this roster that went under the radar during that mad, post-lockout shopping spree this past winter have largely come up Aces. And the Grichuk-for-Tapia trade in particular.

Loved Raimel. Dude was a cult hero in left. But he also gave the Rox a slappy, center-field-ish kind of bat (.280, .395 slugging in six years with Colorado) in a corner outfield spot that would’ve been better served, at Coors, with a masher.

Flipping Tapia for Grichuk added a 20-homer guy as a floor, along with a glove that is sneaky-good in right (plus-8 Outs Above Average with Toronto in 2018, per Baseball Savant; plus-4 with the Jays in 2019) and can handle center in a pinch. Plus, it helps ease right fielder Charlie Blackmon into his future — Chuck Nazty’s OAA in right field was negative-10 in ’19 and negative-8 in ’21 — as a designated hitter.

The truth will be clearer in six or seven weeks, during that warm, sun-kissed gap between the Avs’ Stanley Cup victory parade (no pressure, Darcy Kuemper, you got this, brother) and the launching of the Broncos’ inaugural Camp Russ down at UCHealth Training Center.

Story will come around. Although, given his non-Coors batting history (.303 lifetime in Denver, .240 everywhere else), how far “around” that becomes remains to be seen. Tapia (.319 lifetime in Denver, .244 everywhere else), same deal.

On the flip side, Grichuk and Iglesias are career .247 and .278 hitters, respectively. Kuhl made more than 17 starts for Pittsburgh just eleven (2017) over five seasons in Pittsburgh, where he sported a 25-30 record and 4.44 ERA.

Regression can make for a cruel mistress. Cherish the present. Brace yourself accordingly.

For now, though, what does 13-9 mean? Like most big-picture stats in baseball before Memorial Day, not much.

Although if you enjoyed watching the boys go all Blake Street Bombers on Cincinnati, then you’ll love the Nasty Nats, who drag an 8-16 record and 5.08 team ERA into LoDo this week. The same goes for the pitching-challenged Royals (7-14, 4.63 team ERA) when they hit the Front Range next weekend.

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