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Stephen Cardullo accomplished the ultimate goal in 2016

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Cardullo comes in at No. 32 in this year’s Ranking the Rockies series, but nobody expected him to even play in the majors.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies - Game Two Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

For Stephen Cardullo, 2016 was never about reaching the majors. It was simply about proving that he belonged in affiliated baseball after four years in the independent leagues. To say he accomplished his goal would be an understatement, as Cardullo hit .308/.367/.522 with 17 home runs and 72 RBI in 115 games with the Isotopes before he was called up by the Rockies in August to make his major league debut.

In 27 games with the Rockies, Cardullo slashed .214/.254/.411 with two home runs and six RBIs. Not exactly a stellar start to his career, but it wasn’t really about the slash line for him. An outfielder by trade, Cardullo played the majority of his games for the Rockies at first base, helping the team to fill their biggest void, especially following the loss of Mark Reynolds for the season.

Despite playing out of position, Cardullo did well at first base; he was responsible for two errors in 114 chances in 15 games. It was a strong enough performance that he’s likely earned himself an opportunity to compete for the job in spring training, assuming no one is signed to fill the role more permanently.

Cardullo’s success at the Triple-A level is a credit to him and to the Rockies scouting department for going to unaffiliated baseball and finding a player that is capable of succeeding. Regardless of what the rest of Stephen Cardullo’s career holds for him, he will always have a Baseball Reference page with stats from the majors. He accomplished the dream; he just took the longer path to realize it.