ROCKIES

Rox bring back power bat, it might be their biggest add of the winter

Feb 28, 2024, 1:00 PM

The Colorado Rockies have finally added to their lineup, picking up just their second position player of the offseason.

On Wednesday, the Rockies claimed Sam Hilliard off of waivers from the Orioles and placed pitcher Antonio Senzatela on the 60-day Injured List. Hilliard spent last season with the Atlanta Braves after a November 2022 trade sent him to Georgia from Colorado.

Current Rockies GM Bill Schmidt was the team’s scouting director when the Rockies selected Hilliard in the 15th round of the 2015 draft. Hilliard broke into the show in 2019, and played 214 games for the Rockies. He appeared at all three spots in the outfield and had a slash line of .212/.294/.423 with 29 homers, 15 steals, a 10% walk rate, and a rough 32.7% strikeout rate over 639 plate appearances during his first stint with the Rockies. Hilliard is known as a power bat with a strikeout issue as he’s hit 62 homers but has struck out 28.5% of the time at Triple-A.

After being traded to the Braves for minor league righty Dylan Spain, Hilliard appeared in 40 games and hit .236/.295/.431 through 78 plate appearances for the Braes, striking out in 42.3% of his plate appearances. last season. Hilliard then wound up injured and went on waivers where the Orioles claimed him then waived him after five hitless at-bats this spring.

Hilliard will look to fill the role of a left-handed-hitting outfielder for the Rockies. Earlier this offseason the team added Bradley Zimmer on a minor league deal. Because Hilliard is already on the roster and can’t be sent down without waivers, he’ll likely be on the Opening Day roster with Brenton Doyle, Sean Bouchard and Nolan Jones making up the rest of the outfield with Kris Byrant and Charlie Blackmon as options. Hilliard will likely be the fourth outfielder in the bunch.

Hilliard and backup catcher Jacob Stallings were the lone roster-added position players of the offseason by the Rockies. Meanwhile, Senzatela’s IL stint is not unexpected as he’s progressing back from Tommy John Surgery. Needing rotation help for that injury and the one to German Marquez, the Rockies have also added Dakota Hudson and Cal Quantrill this winter. Overall it’s been uninspiring for a team that lost 103 games.

Hilliard is projected by most to be around a replacement-level player in 2024, putting him neck and neck with the other three adds by Schmidt.

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