The Colorado Rockies selected Grant Lavigne out of Bedford High School with the 42nd overall selection in the 2018 MLB draft. He was named New Hampshire’s Gatorade Player of the Year in his sophomore and senior seasons at Bedford. Lavigne committed to play college baseball at Wake Forest, but elected to sign with the Rockies instead. Lavigne, a left-handed hitting first baseman (he throws right-handed), was assigned to the Grand Junction Rockies of the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2018, when he hit .350 with six home runs, 38 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 59 games. He spent the 2019 season with the Class A South Atlantic League’s Asheville Tourists and hit .236 with seven home runs and 64 RBIs in 126 games (526 plate appearances). The Union Leader recently spoke with Lavigne about his professional career.
UL: When do you report for spring training?
GL: We report to Scottsdale, Arizona, in about two weeks. March 31st is when we fly out and then there are a couple days we have to stay in our rooms waiting for (COVID) test results and then we’ll start our camp around April 4th. I think their goal is to have all the minor leaguers come in as the big leaguers head out.
I think it will be an interesting spring training. I’m not really sure what to expect with the COVID protocols. I think it will almost be a bubble situation. I’m kind of curious to see how that goes.
UL: When will you find out where you’ll be playing this season, or at least where you’ll start the season?
GL: It’s almost the last day of spring training where they put up the rosters and everyone comes and checks to see where they’re going to go. I think High-A might be where I start, but obviously if I do well enough there, playing in Hartford (the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats) would not be out of the question. It just depends what they (the Rockies) think is best for me.
UL: Where were you last year when you heard there would not be a minor league season?
GL: I was at home going through my training. We had group Zoom meetings … hitting talks or mental skills stuff. We’d also do player meetings where they would kind of guide us to what they wanted us to do while we were waiting to see if there would be a season. They tried to guide us to help us develop while we were at home. We kind of knew it was going to happen. You can’t really have a minor league season without fans. We did the best we could to develop at home and make the most of our time.
UL: When is the last time you played in a professional game?
GL: We actually had an instructional camp in October that ended the first week of November. MLB approved that and we got to play about 20 games during that time period. We were in Arizona at our spring training complex and the organization picked like 35-40 guys they wanted to get some playing time and some (at-bats) or innings (on the mound). It felt good to play some games again. It was guys from different (minor league) levels. I thought it went well. It was good to get the (at-bats) that we lost during the year.
UL: When you’re at home, are you hitting every day?
GL: I’ve been bouncing back between here and Tampa, just because I want to get on the field as much as I can for defense and hitting-wise. I just work out in Manchester, and then every three weeks I’ll go to Tampa for a week. My agent recommended a place for me to go down there. I’ll work out at the facility and then go to a field or some nearby cages and get some hitting in. Then I’ll go back to the facility and do some mobility and recovery stuff.
UL: In addition to first base, you played some third base and were used in the outfield while you were in high school. Do you see yourself playing anywhere other than first base professionally?
GL: (The Rockies) view me as a first baseman only. In Colorado, Coors Field has a big outfield. They kind of view it as you almost need three center fielders in the outfield.
UL: How do you feel you’re progressing from a defensive standpoint.
GL: I’m definitely getting more comfortable. They’ve taught me a lot about different things to work on around the base. I’m definitely getting better at the position.
UL: Was there a significant difference in the level of competition from the Rookie League level to Low-A?
GL: The pitching was definitely a lot better. The velocity was much higher than it was in rookie ball. The pitchers also have a secondary pitch that’s much better. I just got away from my plan at the plate a little bit, so I think my approach was one of the biggest differences for me compared to rookie ball. I just lost my aggressiveness. I wasn’t aggressive early in the count like I was in rookie ball, so that was a factor. As soon as you get down in the count in pro ball it’s very hard to hit. You’re in trouble. You have to be aggressive early in the count, so that’s something I’ll have to change this coming season: Be aggressive and attack the fastball.
UL: This last question is a bit off-topic, but your brother Kyle is a catcher who has transferred from Bedford to Bishop Guertin and has committed to play Division I baseball at Austin Peay. Can you provide a scouting report on him?
GL: Let’s see. Very good behind the dish. Knows what he’s doing there and has a good arm. His bat is getting a lot better. He’s starting to use the whole field now. The power is definitely there.