Tourists' Vavra breaks out with four knocks

Rockies No. 14 prospect ends mini-slide with perfect afternoon

Terrin Vavra ranks second in the South Atlantic League in batting and with a .485 on-base percentage. (Tony Farlow/AP)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | April 20, 2019 7:54 PM

In the early stages of his first full season in the Minor Leagues -- and coming from a baseball family -- Terrin Vavra knows not to hang your hat on results before the calendar flips to May. 

But anyone would be foolish not to be pleased with a 4-for-4 day at the plate. 

The Rockies' No. 14 prospect did just that Saturday, scoring two runs and plating another as Class A Asheville held off West Virginia, 8-5, in the first game of a doubleheader at McCormick Field.

"I wasn't trying to get too oriented on results too early on in the season because I know how long the schedule is," Vavra said. "Just trying to take it game by game, at-bat by at-bat, see what happens."


Gameday box score


Tourists starter and Rockies No. 7 prospect Riley Pint struggled with his command, walking two and uncorking four wild pitches while recording just one out and surrendering two runs before being pulled. Vavra, batting second in the order, lined an 0-1 pitch from Power starter Steven Moyers, with the idea of making something happen on the bases. 

"We had a tough start and it's not how you want to start a doubleheader. I was just trying to get on and make something happen, not necessarily do too much, but put pressure on the pitcher, put pressure on the defense and help our team out," he said. 

The tactic worked as the University of Minnesota product stole second and scored two batters later on a single by fourth-ranked Colorado prospect Grant Lavigne

Vavra said the scouting report on Moyers read that he threw a lot of strikes. Accordingly, the 21-year-old came to the dish ready to attack in each at-bat. He kept the line moving in a two-run third for Asheville by working a 3-1 count against the left-hander and ripping a knock to right field. 

Two innings later, he found himself ahead, 2-1, against Moyers and bounced another single up the middle. Again, Lavigne chased him home with another single, this time tying the game at 5-5. 

When the first three Tourists reached against Devin Sweet in the sixth, including a two-run double by Will Golsan that put Asheville up for good, Vavra provided insurance with an RBI knock off the right-handed reliever. 

"We haven't had the success that we wanted to as a team lately," the left-handed hitter said. "That was a big confidence booster for us, that we could hang in those games and show that we can win them when we battle. It was a really good win for the team and, hopefully, it's one of many coming." 

The shortstop's big day at the plate raised his average to .365 with a 1.023 OPS. He also has six extra-base hits and 11 RBIs with six stolen bases in eight tries. Vavra began his South Atlantic League career with a nine-game hitting streak, prior to cooling off last week. He entered Saturday in a 2-for-15 funk but didn't see it as a cause for concern. 

"I felt like I continued to make pretty good contact through the nice little slide I went on, but the balls just weren't falling for me," Vavra said. "I didn't really try to change anything too much, just tried to stick with it, stick with my approach and do what I can." 

Vavra's father, Joe, is a quality control coach for the Tigers and his two older brothers -- Tanner and Trey -- were drafted by the Twins earlier this decade. So despite his relative inexperience in pro ball, the 2018 third-round pick has plenty of institutional knowledge and pedigree on which to fall back.

"Anytime you can get off to a good start, it's only going to help you, both mentally and physically," he said. "That was good. You put in all the work leading up to this point, it's nice to see the results and have some success." 

While the success may not be totally sustainable over the course of the season, the Menomonie, Wisconsin, native hopes his body is. Transitioning from a college schedule to a Minor League slate can wear on first-year players.

2019 MiLB include

"The biggest adjustment I think is just playing every day," Vavra said. "It's a grind out here. Everyone kind of experiences it together. You don't really understand it until you kind of experience playing every day." 

After the Rockies drafted him last year, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder headed to Class A Short Season Boise, where he batted .302/.396/.467 with four homers, four triples, eight doubles, 26 RBIs and 26 walks while converting nine of 10 steal attempts. 

"You just have to train your body to handle [a full season]," he said. "Obviously, your goal is to stay healthy and this offseason that was kind of my goal, to put myself in the best position to be able to stay healthy and be able to contribute on a daily basis." 

Mariners No. 2 prospect Jarred Kelenic homered in the nightcap, which was suspended due to rain. MLB.com's No. 53 overall prospect stretched his hitting streak to nine games with knocks in both games. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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