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My favorite Twin that became a Rockie

Colorado Rockies news and links for Sunday, June 26, 2022

“Rockies to sign Michael Cuddyer”

I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read the headline on MLB Trade Rumors. Heading into the 2011 offseason, I had my hopes set on the Rockies signing the former Minnesota Twin because, in my opinion, he was a quality player that would be a nice addition to the squad. In a rare instance, the Rockies did exactly what I hoped they would in the free-agent market. So, with the Rockies finishing up a series against the Twins, I wanted to look back on one of my favorite players.

My love for Michael Cuddyer began earlier that year when I was playing fantasy baseball for the first time as a freshman in high school. While exploring players that I was unfamiliar with I saw a player with positional versatility who had a fairly good amount of points accumulated. I added him to my team, and he became one of the best players on my team that season. When I learned he was a free agent, there was no question that I wanted him to play for my favorite team.

Dan O’Dowd must have heard those wishes through the ethereal plane as he signed Cuddyer to a three-year deal worth $31.5 million. It was also a rare move as it was the first time since 2000 that the Rockies had managed to lure a major free agent to Colorado.

2012

Cuddyer’s first year in Colorado was a terrible year for the team, but in his first season, he was a nice addition. Playing in 101 games that season, Cuddy batted a modest .260/.317/.489 with 16 home runs, while also playing adequate defense in right field and stellar defense at first base. While he wasn’t lighting up the baseball world with his production, he was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season in which the Rockies narrowly avoided losing 100 games for the first time.

2013

His 2013 season was perhaps one of the best of his career at the age of 34. Cuddy ended up playing in 130 games that season while batting .331/.389/.530 with 20 home runs and 84 RBI en route to his first career batting title and first Silver Slugger award. For the just the second time in his career, Cuddyer was also named an All-Star and competed in the 2013 Home Run Derby held at Citi Field where he was knocked out in the second round, and ended up starting in the All-Star Game as well.

Among the other notable things he did in 2013, Cuddyer set a then-Rockies franchise record with a 27-game hitting streak. From May 28 to June 30 that season, Cuddyer swatted 42 hits including five double and six home runs and drove in 19 runs with a .372 AVG in 27 games. The hit streak record would stand for just one season as Nolan Arenado would top it the next year. But during that streak, he set a record that still stands for the club.

Prior to the start of the hit streak, Cuddy was already in the midst of a consecutive game reaching base that had started on April 23, 2013. When all was said and done, Cuddy had reached base in 46 consecutive games with a .348/.390/.582 batting line where he tallied 64 hits in 184 at-bats. He had a knack for putting the ball in play and was a notable professional hitter at the plate.

2014

Cuddyer’s final season in Colorado was marred by injury unfortunately, but it was because he tried to do something beneficial for the team. With injuries ravaging the roster, Cuddyer volunteered to play at positions like second and third base, and it was while filling in at one of these positions that he messed up his shoulder while making a diving shoulder. Cuddyer was willing to do whatever to help his team, even if it meant playing a position he hadn’t played in years.

However, he was still able to do something historical in the 2014 season. During the nightcap of a double-header occurring on the day the Rockies retired Todd Helton’s number, Cuddyer ended up hitting for the cycle. He became just the third player in history to hit a cycle in both the American and National Leagues. Despite playing in just 49 games, he managed to bat .332/.376/.579 with 10 home runs, and while he was injured got some experience in front of the camera by helping with the Rockies pre-game show on television.

At the end of his three years in Colorado, Cuddyer hit .307/.362/.525 with 46 home runs and 173 RBI and had a 4.3 bWAR. He declined a qualifying offer from the Rockies after the season. and went on to sign with the New York Mets before retiring after the 2015 season, but his legacy still sticks with me.

Cuddy is my Buddy

Michael Cuddyer has always stood out to me as the perfect example of how to play baseball the right way. He was an ultimate team player. He played the game hard and did everything he could to get better and help those around him. He was a great clubhouse presence and perhaps even more important is that he cared about the fans. Cuddyer always made sure he took time with each autograph so that it was just a sloppy rush. He enjoyed whipping out his magic tricks for folks on the street, and he just enjoyed being a baseball player.

I’ve only made one sign for a baseball game in my life, and it was because I was going to see one of my favorite baseball role models. In crudely drawn block letters I simply wrote “CUDDY IS MY BUDDY.” Years later as I think about his time with the Rockies, that sentiment still rings true.

★ ★ ★

Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias thriving as clutch hitter: “I love to compete” | The Denver Post ($)

Say what you will about his fielding ability this season, but Iglesias has been one of the best hitters for the Rockies this season. Patrick Saunders caught up with the Rockies shortstop to discuss his knack for hitting in the clutch this season and his overall approach at the plate that has helped him stay so consistent this season.

Rox No. 8 prospect Toglia aims to become a ‘complete hitter’ | MLB.com

Rockies fans are eagerly watching the progress of Michael Toglia in the minors. His power has been exciting, but other aspects of his game need some work still. However this season, he has been working on lowering the strikeout rates and improving his overall plate approach to improving his average. Things are on the up and up, which is encouraging to see.

★ ★ ★

On the Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 19, Las Vegas Aviators 6

The Isotopes pounded out 19 runs on 19 hits, including eight home runs, the second time in the past 10 days, as they cruised over the Aviators. Wynton Bernard clubbed a pair of homers during a four-hit night, while Sam Hilliard scored four runs during his three-hit night where he also hit a home run. Coco Montes had a big blast in the sixth for a grand slam and ended up driving in five runs during a two-hit night. Kris Bryant was the only Isotope without a hit tonight but did draw a pair of walks while also striking out twice. Brandon Gold started on the mound and gave up five runs on seven hits in 3 23 innings of work, but the Isotopes bullpen locked things down the rest of the way, giving the offense a chance to get hot.

Double-A: Somerset Patriots 2, Hartford Yard Goats 1

The Yard Goats struggled to string the offense together as they drop a close one against the Somerset Patriots. Nick Bush started on the mound and took the loss for Hartford, allowing two runs on nine hits in 4 23 innings of work. The Hartford bullpen allowed just one more hit the rest of the game, but the offense just couldn’t rally back. Daniel Montano had a pair of hits along with Jimmy Herron. It’s also notable that four of the Yard Goats’ hits were doubles.

High-A: Everett AquaSox 5, Spokane Indians 4

Spokane also lost a close one tonight after they gave up three runs in the top of the fifth and were unable to put any runs of their own on the board after the fifth inning. Joe Rock started on the mound and allowed five runs on five hits in his five innings of work to take his fourth loss of the season. The Indians had five players with two hits, including Zac Veen’s pair of doubles .

Low-A: Modesto Nuts 9, Fresno Grizzlies 3

For the second week in a row, Victor Juarez took the loss after allowing eight runs on nine hits in just 2 13 innings of work on Saturday night. After dominating most of this season, Juarez has begun to take his licks, but there is still plenty of upside for the youngster this season. Offensively, Fresno got multi-hit nights from Adael Amador and Yanquiel Fernandez but weren’t able to get much else together as a whole offensive unit.

★ ★ ★

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