How Rockies' Brendan Rodgers became atlanta braves store MLB's new most valuable defender

September 22, 2022 By Jason Foster 0

Brendan Rodgers (Getty Images)

Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers came into spring training this season with a strong desire to focus on the "training" part when it came to defense. He felt his performance with the glove was falling short of his capabilities. 

Indeed, Rodgers was a below-average fielder in 2021, recording a minus-0.1 dWAR.

"I take pride in my defense, just as much as hManny Machado itting," Rodgers told in Marc atlanta braves jersey authentic h.

Six months later, and through healthy doses of concentration and repetition, Rodgers' determination has paid off big time — s atlanta braves personalized jersey o much so that he's become the new most valuable defender in baseball. 

MORE: How the Cardinals' Tommy Edman became a defensive metrics darling

Entering play Thursday, atlanta braves jersey gold Rodgers leads all of MLB in defensive runs saved (22) and defensive WAR (2.9). He's also tops among second basemen in Total Zone Runs, a stat that measures the number of runs above or below average that a player is worth based on the number of plays made.

It's been quite the turnaround for a guy who came up as a shortstop but was asked to change positions late in his minor league career.

“I’ve worked day-in and day-out in the offseason, and during the season too, and I feel like I’m getting a quality amount of work in defensively to give me that confidence during the game,” Rodgers told the Denver Post in July. 

According to the Post, part of that work has included pre-game drills in whicREEFh Rodgers fields balls from a machine at a short distance while using a special training glove that's smaller than a normal game glove.

See also  Talking Chop Podcast Episode atlanta braves jersey custom name 215: Inching toward baseball?

“It’s a drill to reiterate soft hands,” Rodgers told the paper. “It’s about looking the ball in the glove because those balls are squishy and bouncy and I’m using my training glove. If you take your eye off it for a second, atlanta braves jersey adult menMLB Pet Gear or you don’t catch it in the web, it’s going to pop right out. It’s a little warm-up for my glove and it’s a lot like a cage routine. It really makes you hone in on catching the ball, no matter the hop, and you can get a lot of work in a short amount of time without exhausting (your legs).”

The dividends have been obvious. Rodgers not only is the leader in advanced stats such atlanta braves infant jersey as DRS and dWAR, but, as you might imagine, also in the traditional ones that help make up those analytic formulas.MLB Home and Office Decor As of Thursday, he leads all MLB second basemen in assists with 399 — 116 more than the next-highest total. He also has a healthy lead in douMLB Shoes and Socks ble plays turned (98) and ranks first among NL second basemen in putouts (211).

The simple way to say it? He consistently gets to the ball, he consistently fields the ball and he consistently turns those plays into outs at an elite level.

MORE: A homer for your first MLB hit? A record number of players have done it in 2022

“He’s a guy that wears his talent on his sleeve,” Rockies third-base coach Stu Cole told in March. “And he likes to go out there and show it.”

See also  Chris Sale meltdown: Video captures Red Sox starter destroying WooSox clubhouse in tantrum aft mitchell and ness atlanta braves er bases

Though defense has been where Rodgers has shined in 2022, he's not strictly a glove-first player. Though his .715 OPS falls in the "average" category, he's second on the team in doubles with 29 and also has 11 homers. But in baseball, value takes different forms. And Rodgers has certainly been valuable — his 3.7 bWAR is best on the team. 

There haven't been many bright spots or pleasant surprises for the Rockies this season, but Rodgers has arguably been the brightest and most pleasant.