Life is good for Mobile’s Jordan Patterson.
“Playing baseball every day, wherever it may be, that’s a blessing in itself,” the former South Alabama baseball standout said this week. “I just enjoy every day and enjoy playing the game. One day it’s going to be over, so I just really enjoy playing and I enjoy being with a good group of guys. Things are good.”
Patterson, a fourth-round pick by the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 draft, is currently with the Rockies’ Class A Advance team, the Modesto Nuts. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder is enjoying a strong season at Modesto, entering the second half of play as the California League’s leader in triples (10). The left-handed hitter is also fourth in the league in slugging percentage (.568) and OPS (.954), fifth in batting average (.314), sixth in runs scored (48), doubles (20) and on-base percentage (.387), and is tied for ninth in total bases (130). He has accomplished all that in just 59 games.
His play earned him a spot on the California League all-star team and in last week’s game against the Carolina League all-stars. Patterson was 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored in the Cal League’s 9-2 victory. Patterson said the experience not only was fun, but valuable.
“They really put on a pretty cool event for the all-star game,” he said. “They treated us first class, so it was really fun going there and playing with those guys. The season is going pretty good so far. There’s always things that you can do to get better, but making the all-star game is a blessing. Just to be recognized as an all-star in that league, with all the talent that’s in the league, is pretty cool in itself. I never put too much into all the numbers and who’s an all-star and who’s not, but it was pretty cool to be part of that group. It was the first all-star game I’ve made (as a professional). I just need to stay consistent and try to improve every day.”
Patterson appears to be following that script. He played 60 games with the Rockies’ Rookie League team in Grand Junction, Colorado, after being drafted in June 2013. The following season he was promoted to the organization’s Rookie League team in Asheville, North Carolina, to play in the Sally League. This season he made the jump to Modesto.
“Obviously your ultimate goal is to play in the majors and you want to take a step forward every year and that’s what I’ve been doing,”’ he said. “I do what they tell me and come to the park ready to play every day. So far it’s been going well.”
Baseball fans in Patterson’s hometown remember him as a three-sport athlete at Baker High School and later as a standout player for the Jaguars’ baseball program. At South Alabama, Patterson was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2013 and his name appears several times in the Jags’ record books. He is tied for second all-time for doubles in a season (25) and has a lot of spots for career marks, including 17th in games played (176), tie for fifth in doubles (51), 12th in at-bats (661), ninth in hits (212) and 13th in runs batted in (125).
He was also known for his versatility. With the Jags he played outfield, first base and pitched. As a pro player, he has spent most of his time as an outfielder, though he has occasionally played first and has also served as a designated hitter at times. It seems he is destined to be an outfielder with the Rockies.
“If I’m going to be in the majors, it’s going to be as an outfielder, whether it’s right or left (field),” Patterson said. “I can play first. but now I’m pretty much an outfielder. I played outfield my whole life; I played center field growing up. My whole sophomore year at South I played in the outfield and I played some after that. It wasn’t that big of an adjustment because I was pretty much used to it.”
What he wants most of all is to be a healthy player. He spent a little time on the disabled list this season, shortly after ending a 12-game hitting streak. But when he returned to the lineup he picked up where he left off. Now, he hopes to carry that solid play into the second half of the season and, hopefully, to a promotion to Class AA or better later in the year or next season.
“I just want to finish out with a healthy season and do well and help the team win a championship,”’ he said. “The first half didn’t go as well as we would have liked, so we’d like to play better in the second half and win some ball games and maybe a championship.”
In his three minor-league seasons thus far, Patterson carries an overall .291 batting average and has collected 60 doubles, 10 triples, 30 home runs, 161 runs scored, 131 RBI and 260 hits while posting a .372 on-base percentage and .482 slugging percentage. It would appear he has adjusted well to the move from the college game, with its aluminum bats, to the pro game, where hitters use wooden bats. He admits the adjustment has taken some time.
“Getting used to playing every day and staying consistent in what you do” has been the biggest adjustment required, Patterson said. “In college, you play Friday, Saturday and Sunday, maybe some other days, but you always had days off. Here, you play every day. You have to come to the ballpark every day and flush the day before, no matter what kind of game you had. You have to stay consistent and remain who you are.”