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Rockies top prospects reflect on their time in the majors

Brendan Rodgers and Peter Lambert discuss their experiences adjusting to the majors

DENVER – Two and a half months into the 2019 season, the Rockies have already called upon their top two prospects — infielder Brendan Rodgers and starting pitcher Peter Lambert. Since then, both have had to adjust to being major leaguers. Lambert had to face the same potent Cubs lineup twice in a week before facing the Padres, his first NL West foe, on Sunday. Rodgers had to adjust to splitting playing time with a teammate while also learning how to play against some of the best players in the game. However, they are certainly living their dreams.

“I’m having a blast, you know?” said Rodgers, who has since been sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque, “This is everything and more that I’ve dreamed about growing up so I’m just embracing it and having as much fun as I can.”

While with the Rockies, Rodgers split time with Ryan McMahon at second base while also making an occasional appearance at shortstop. He hit .233/.281/.267 since after posting a .356/.421/.644 slash with nine home runs in Albuquerque. He has yet to hit a homer in the major leagues. The biggest difference between Triple-A and the major for Rodgers has been going up against “the best of the best.”

“It’s the highest level of baseball,” he continued, “and there’s never like somebody that comes really, like, a pitcher comes into the game and you’re like ‘oh he’s not very good.’ Everyone has something that they’re really good at whether it’s a good pitch, good hitting, running fast, whatever it may be and it’s just, that’s probably the biggest thing. Everyone is good up here.”

What about Peter Lambert, particularly as a pitcher at Coors Field?

“It’s been awesome,” said Lambert, “It’s a pleasure to be up here playing with this group of guys for sure.”

Now, Coors is a much different animal for pitchers than hitters, as we’re all well aware. Peter Lambert began his MLB journey on the road at Wrigley Field, but also made his first start at Coors Field last week as well against the Cubs again. However, he noted that there’s “not much difference, I wouldn’t say.

“Just the second time facing that team in a week, you know, I feel like they came out there with a good plan. They kinda knew how I was going to attack them so we just had to make a few adjustments and go from there.”

The Cubs certainly had a good plan coming into the second game, but Lambert was able to adjust as well to limit the damage. In his first start, Lambert lasted seven innings. He gave up only one run on four hits while walking one and striking out nine. The Rockies won that game 3-1. In his second start, he lasted five innings and gave up one run again — a solo homer to Jason Heyward in the second inning — on three hits.

However, he walked two and only struck out three. He also hit Kris Bryant twice, which led to some tensions the following day. The Rockies won that game 10-3. In his third start against the Padres on Sunday, he got hit around a little more. In the second strange game of the weekend, Lambert only lasted three innings where he gave up eight runs on nine hits, one of which was a two-run homer to Hunter Renfroe in the first inning. However, he didn’t walk a single batter and threw 45 of his 69 pitches for strikes, including three strikeouts.

The biggest difference between Triple-A and the MLB for Lambert is that “they’re older and obviously more experienced. and they’re up there looking for their pitch. But I think most importantly it’s just me not trying to do too much and just stick to the game plan.”

As of June 15, Rodgers was optioned back to Triple-A after some struggles at the plate and inconsistent playing time. This way, he is able to get more consistent at-bats and work on some of the things he learned in the majors. However, he will most likely be back with the Rockies again this season — it’s just a matter of when.