clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colorado Rockies' Kyle Freeland working to represent Denver, but won't look too far ahead

The Denver native is excited about being in the Rockies' organization and looking forward to what should be a big season.

Kyle Freeland relishes playing for the hometown Colorado Rockies.
Kyle Freeland relishes playing for the hometown Colorado Rockies.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Just 21 months ago, the Colorado Rockies selected Thomas Jefferson High School alum Kyle Freeland in the first round of the MLB Draft. Now, the Denver native is enjoying his first Major League spring training as a non-roster invitee.

"Right now I’m just kind of taking it day to day," Freeland told Purple Row in the Rockies' clubhouse in Scottsdale. "My main focus is staying healthy, and continuing to work hard and get better at my craft."

Keeping it simple is Freeland's main point of emphasis now, despite all the external stimuli from being in big league camp and worrying about the season—not to mention that whole Colorado native thing he's got going on.

"I’m really not expecting to be anywhere, just wherever they place me," Freeland said of the coming year. "I’m really going to work hard there, and try to move up."

Freeland spent time at three different levels in his first two years, dealing with an injury in the process but throwing well in short stints across the Rockies' minor league affiliates. Now, fresh off a strong November in the Arizona Fall League, and completely healthy entering camp, the lefty is trying to manage expectations, especially from those wanting to see the hometown hero return triumphantly to Denver.

"I don’t look at the pressure side of it, just because it can be blown out of proportion," Freeland said of getting drafted by the Rockies as a Denver native. "It’s more a special thing that doesn’t happen too often, and I’m really just one of those guys that’s happy to be able to get a chance to go home and try to do something."

While most pitchers have to adjust to the altitude mentally and physically as they join the organization, Freeland is a little more familiar with it thanks to his childhood. Granted, it's been a long time—and at far lower levels—but the lefty sees his insider knowledge as an asset.

"I think I have a slight advantage over the altitude, but that was also back in high school, that was seven, eight years ago," Freeland said, laughing. "But I know how to pitch in it, I have a good feel for it. I know it’s definitely going to be tougher once I get up to Coors Field pitching at that level, but it’s a challenge I’m ready to take on."

It's not just the altitude that sets Freeland apart in Rockies camp, though. The lefty, who grew up in southeast Denver, was born a month after the club's inaugural game in 1993. Ever since he can remember, he was a fan watching the team at Coors Field.

"I grew up a Rockies fan with my dad taking me to games, or we were talking about it, or I was watching those guys," Freeland said. "It was definitely big for me, and I have that on my shoulders and in my heart to be the hometown kid that comes back and does something special with the Rockies."