Cristopher Navarro had a lot to be optimistic about after his first season with the Grand Junction Rockies.
The native of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, started off the season great at the plate, hitting .306 after his first seven games.
Navarro then went into a tailspin and was hitting only .154 on July 30. The shortstop didn't let his poor performance get him down, rebounding to hit .289 in his final 31 regular-season games, finishing the season hitting .217.
In addition to his midseason slump, the biggest concern for Navarro was a lack of power.
"He looks good," said Rockies manager Jake Opitz on Wednesday during the team's meet and greet. "The kid can flat-out play shortstop. He's one of our better infielders that we've had. He was young in this league, he was 18 years old and just not physically strong enough to handle the bat. Not that he struck out a lot. The balls he hit just didn't go anywhere."
Navarro only had 13 extra-base hits last season, 11 doubles, one triple and one home run. Most of Navarro's hits, 40, were singles.
Navarro's consistency at the plate was one of his strengths and Opitz is hoping an offseason dedicated to adding weight will help Navarro add explosiveness, as well.
"Another year under his belt physically growing is going to help him," Opitz said. "I expect a big year out of him."
Navarro hasn't stepped on a scale lately, but he can tell he's bulked up since last season.
"I've been working hard on that, getting bigger," Navarro said. "I don't know what my weight is at right now, but I'm getting stronger and bigger."
As he prepares for a second season in Grand Junction that could impact the trajectory of his professional baseball career, he's also handling a different role: helping the new faces in the locker room adjust.
Last season, in addition to getting used to playing professional baseball, Navarro was also adjusting to living away from home.
Many of the team's new signees are going through similar adjustments.
Fortunately for those Rockies' newcomers, they have players like Navarro to help guide the way.
"Right now, I'm in a leadership role," Navarro said. "I've been here before. One of my jobs is to help the new guys and especially the guys who are coming from the Dominican Republic."
Another key returning player for Grand Junction is Reese Berberet.
He faces the opposite problem of Navarro: what he lacks in consistency, he makes up for in power.
Berberet had 11 home runs, tied for the team lead, and added seven doubles and three triple, but hit only .228.
The corner infielder, a 17th-round pick in 2018, knows that mark needs to improve.
"Eleven home runs were nice, but I need to get my average up, make more contact," Berberet said. "If I can do that, the home runs will come. I'm not worried about that. It's the other hits I need to get."