Hunter Goodman hit 16 home runs for Double-A Hartford through May. His quest for more homers resulted in bad habits as he homered just twice in his next 34 games.
Early in the season, Goodman homered often against sliders. Pitchers began throwing him a lot more fastballs, both up and on the inner half. As Goodman began his swing, his barrel was dropping and lagging, causing him to foul off too many fastballs.
“It was putting me in two-strike counts I shouldn’t have been in,” Goodman said, “and causing me to strike out more and have worse at-bats.”
Watching video in late June with Hartford hitting coach Tom Sutaris and Rockies minor league hitting coordinator Nic Wilson helped identify the problem with Goodman’s barrel.
After hitting .207 with two homers in June, Goodman improved to .240 with six homers in July. He ended up hitting .239/.325/.523 at Hartford in 91 games, the last on Aug. 3.
Nonetheless, he finished the season ranked second in the Eastern League with 25 home runs.
Goodman kept raking at Triple-A Albuquerque and in 15 Pacific Coast League games added nine more home runs.
He hit .259/.338/.581 with 30 homers and 111 RBIs in 106 games when the Rockies called him up on Aug. 27.
“He really understands his swing,” Wilson said, “and he’s pretty advanced when it comes to some approach aspects of hitting.”
Drafted in the fourth round in 2021 out of Memphis as a catcher, Goodman played that position sparingly at Hartford. He has become serviceable at first base and the corner outfield positions.
Goodman showed high-end power in his full-season debut in 2022, when he blasted 36 homers and drove in 106 runs in 135 total games for Low-A Fresno, High-Spokane and Hartford.
“He’s able to create more speed with each body part as it rotates,” Wilson said. “And because he can do that, he can create maximum impact into the baseball.”
— The Rockies are hopeful 23-year-old Dominican lefthander Helcris Olivarez will be able to pitch in games in instructional league. He had left shoulder surgery on Aug. 25, 2022, and missed the entire 2023 season, which the Rockies knew would be the case because of the nature of the surgery. Olivarez injured his shoulder in 2022 spring training. He rehabbed during the season and pitched two hitless innings on July 15 in the Arizona Complex League but suffered a setback and ultimately went under the knife. At High-A Spokane in 2021, Olivarez, then in his age-20 season, showed his raw talent while going 4-9, 6.05 in 22 games, 21 starts. He allowed 89 hits in 99.2 innings with 112 strikeouts but hit 21 batters, threw 10 wild pitches and issued 68 walks.
— During the first week of September, the Rockies promoted righthander Victor Vodnik from Triple-A Albuquerque to Colorado, shortstop Julio Carreras from Double-A Hartford to Albuquerque and righthander Angel Chivilli and shortstop Ryan Ritter from High-A Spokane to Hartford. All are homegrown except Vodnick, whom the Rockies acquired from the Braves on July 24.