Lost in the horribleness of the bullpen meltdown last night was a big day for birthday boy Stephen Cardullo. After knocking his first career home run in the first game of the doubleheader, Cardullo came up in the bottom of the first in the nightcap and did this:
We’ve been talking about Cardullo this week and for good reason: he probably represents the best story of the Rockies season. The emergence of rookies Trevor Story, David Dahl, Jon Gray, et al, represents a huge shift in fortune for the future of this club. But each of those players (even Tyler Anderson to a certain extent) was drafted/signed a long time ago with the expectation that they would contribute to the big league club; their respective pedigrees preceed them.
On the other hand, Cardullo was a walk-on at Florida State. He was drafted in the 24th round but was out of affiliated baseball within a year. He spent four years paying independent league baseball before the Rockies have him a shot in Spring Training. He did not figure to be a contributor to this team at any point—until he did. Cardullo may or may not be on the Next Great Rockies team and, in a way, that makes his ascension to Major League Baseball all that more memorable.
Interesting tidbit: he became the fourth player to hit his first career home run on his birthday. The last to do it? Charlie Blackmon in 2011.
Nolan also hit another home run yesterday, meaning his career high 42 home runs set last year is decidedly within reach. Kris Bryant, meanwhile, continues to put up MVP numbers for the first-place-by-a-mile Cubs. Surely many would be tempted to look at the two extremely talented third basemen and say "Both players are freaking awesome and you can't go wrong with either," but where's the fun in that?
Must have been some kind of miracle. After an initial prognosis that said the broken hamate bone would put him on the shelf for six-to-eight weeks (which would effectively end his season), Mark Reynolds made his return yesterday just three weeks after the initial injury. Reynolds hasn’t been quite what the Rockies expected offensively (.281/.352/.796 with just 12 home runs in 363 at bats), but he also has surprised defensively. When you’re running a bunch of middle infielders and outfielders at first base you quickly come to realize just how important a good glove at the cold corner is.
Tyler Chatwood returns to the rotation after just the one rehab start last week for Hartford. The plan is to use the six-man rotation “for a cycle,” but the Rockies should probably commit to the six-man for the rest of the season. As pointed out in the piece, rookies Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, and Jeff Hoffman are approaching career high innings totals already. Rather than shut them down completely, working everybody in a six-man rotation splits the difference between pushing past their limits and building them up for a potential playoff run next year (did I really just type that?).