Yonathan Daza stronger thanks to swimming training

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This story is taken from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to receive it regularly in your inbox.

DENVER — Extensive off-season swimming training has helped Rockies outfielder Yonathan Daza excel in the deep waters of the Majors this season.

Daza, previously praised for his glove but questioned his shot, got constant flow of opportunities with the Rockies since Kris Bryant injured his back in April. Daza entered Saturday’s game against the Royals batting .365 them with a 0.404 on-base percentage in 22 games.

A high average hitter in the minors (.318 in 693 games), Daza batted a respectable .264 between 2019 and 21 — he wasn’t called up in 20 — but didn’t produce the power contact that warranted regular starts. . Daza has appeared noticeably thicker in his shoulders and upper back this year, and the extra muscle has reflected in his bats.

“I felt if I’m stronger, I hit the balls were going to spend the outfield,” said Daza. “I have better every year about this. »

In addition to standard baseball weightlifting, Daza said, his coach in Venezuela, Aquiles Monteverde, introduced him to pool exercises. There were running and waterweight activities, but Monteverde — who worked with former American League Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve and former longtime MLB utility Martín Prado in their younger years – made him freestyle for power.

Maybe Michael Phelps doesn’t have to worry too much about Daza exceeding his Olympic marks – “I’m not really good,” Daza said with a laugh – but full-body movements in the water worked pretty well getting it ready for weed. and dirt.

“It was my first winter doing this,” Daza said. “Altuve and Prado moved to the United States, but when they were young like me, they were just starting in the Majors, they would come home and work with [Monteverde]. It’s a good workout.

Daza is an unusual off-season success story. Because of the lockout, teams could not control how they players had in the past. Manager Bud Black has praised the Daza to take control of her next career step.

“We challenged to become a little more physical – to become a little bigger and stronger, and not that it affects his defense, which was not the case,” said Black. “His speed plays. It has scope, made great leaps and bed The physical part has helped a lot.

Swimming to build baseball muscles makes sense.

“We’ve done it with players in the past – just keep an eye on the volume,” Rockies director of physical performance Gabe Bauer said. “What they do, how they throw and when the offseason they do. If it’s early in the offseason, that’s a big part of the strength phase — you’re keeping your shoulders in shape when you’re not throwing the baseball.

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