Athlete of the Week: Colin Simpson
Collin Simpson was drafted in the 29th round of the 2019 MLB draft. The Oklahoma State product had little time let it sink in before he was here in Grand Junction.
"I got drafted on the third day. I was actually in the middle of golfing when I got drafted,” said Simpson. “I had two days to myself. I had to start moving everything out of my house, packing bags and then I got on a flight the fifth day and flew up here. I met my host family. Next day, showed up to the field had to go through all of practice and everything. I've kind of settled into the routine. I've gotten really comfortable with when to be at the field, my host family, everyone is great. I'm really excited to be here now."
The catcher turned left fielder has hit just over .325 in the last 30 days... With his size and power, he's been appropriately branded a nickname that he's had since freshman year of college
"I think I was on campus for two weeks and our pitching coach looks at me and he kind of looks up and down and he kind of goes, 'You're kind of built like a tank. I think I'm just going to call you tank.' Eventually it became a thing around the baseball program,” Simpson said. “All of the fans and everybody, that's what I was known as."
He leads the team with a .696 slugging percentage and shares the team lead in home runs with four in 14 games played.
"He's hitting fourth in the lineup for us. Big bat, he's got some power in there,” said GJ Rockies Manager Jake Opitz. “We need him to produce a little bit. He's been really good for the most part. Once we get some guys healthy, moving him around see him catch a little bit, maybe play some first base and DH. I've actually been pretty pleased with the way he has played left field the past couple of days."
Simpson has started 11 games in the outfield. While he may not look the part, he has the size and speed to make great plays.
"He's actually a phenomenal athlete,” said Opitz. “Given his stature, he's like, I don't know what type of gymnast he is but he's really good. He was out there doing backflips the other day catching fly balls."
But playing left field has its difficulties at Suplizio Field.
"The first game here when I was in left field, I didn't realize how bad that sun was until you get out there,” Simpson said. “It's not that it's in your eyes on pop flies, it's right at the top of the press box so it's just beaming you right in the eyes. But then the infield is a whole shadow so the infield is dark. If you wear dark shade sunglasses, it makes the infield really dark and so it makes it hard to see the ball. That's what makes it so tough."