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Colorado natives on being Colorado Rockies in their 30th anniversary (plus Pebble Report)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, April 10, 2023

After taking the first two games of the season on the road against the San Diego Padres, the momentum for the Colorado Rockies quickly dissolved. The team carried a four game losing streak into their Home Opener, a streak that Kyle Freeland snapped with a 1-0 victory. But ultimately, the team barely etched out a split in their four-game series with the rebuilding Washington Nationals.

It’s the initial ingredients of what could be a difficult year for the big league team in their official 30th Anniversary season. But, instead of focusing on the play on the field, let’s dive into the commemorative season.

This current roster offers a unique perspective on the celebration as three current players – Ty Blach, Freeland and Pierce Johnson – grew up watching the franchise in the stands. Here’s what they had to say about their memories as fans and what it means to now be a part of their hometown team in a milestone season.

What is your first Rockies memory?

Blach: I vaguely remember Opening Day 1993, I was like two-and-a-half. I remember sitting down the right field line there at Mile High Stadium, which was just packed-out. That was really cool. And then my first true baseball memory would have been Opening Day 1995. I remember being there, we were sitting on the right field line again and I remember how cold it was. I went to the team store and bought Dinger socks and just loved every minute of the game.

Freeland: The earliest memory I have is coming down here with the family. We parked and walked into the stadium from the home plate entrance. We walked onto the concourse and, you know, that opened up right to the rest of the field. I remember thinking how monumental it was to me at the time being so little, and so young, seeing how big it was. That was one of the first memories that I have, walking in with the family...just seeing that and thinking like, “Wow, this place is bigger than life.”

Johnson: We hadn’t moved back yet, but we came to the (1998) All-Star Game. That was a pretty cool experience. I got a picture with my dad and I was sitting on his shoulders. Yeah, I think my dad still has that one.

Who was your first favorite player?

Blach: Andrés Galarraga for sure. There’s a brick outside the stadium when they moved over to Coors Field and it says “Ty Blach, future Rockie, the Little Cat” so that was kind of my nickname growing up.

Freeland: Growing up there was obviously the Blake Street Bombers at the time, you know, Todd Helton and those legends of the team. But I’d probably say Larry Walker.

Johnson: Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki.

What does it mean to be a part of the organization now, in their 30th Anniversary season?

Blach: It’s incredible. Everybody’s always asked me what I wanted to do for a living and I’ve always said I wanted to play for the Rockies and now this dream has come true.

Freeland: I definitely hope that the performances I have and everything that I do as a Rockie leaves a lasting impact here and that I’ll be remembered as one of those Rockies’ greats that kids right now look up to and strive to be.

In 20 years from now, hopefully people are still talking about me and my performances in my career here as a hometown kid. I’m really hoping that I’m able to, obviously first and foremost, bring a World Series to Denver. That’s the ultimate goal. And I think if we’re able to do that, and I’m part of it, it’s going to be remembered forever. But yeah, you know, trying to leave a legacy here of myself.

Johnson: Just being able to wear the purple is pretty special. Growing up coming to games…Rocktober back in 2007, when my high school was going nuts. I got to go to a lot of those games and it was just surreal. And it’s surreal being able to finally put on the jersey and go out there and throw for the home team.

Finally, what was your ‘secret place’ as a fan when you would come to games?

Blach: The speed pitch machine! Yes, I remember when I was a little kid. Our seats were in Section 202. And the speed pitch was right below there. And so every game in between one of the innings I would have to go and do the speed pitch and I never threw fast enough to get a ball – because I was so small – but they were always like “Holy cow. This kid throws really hard.” So, that was always cool.

Freeland: I always remember we loved sitting out in the left field bleachers. That was kind of our spot. I remember there was a series against the Cubs that we went to and the Cubs were just beating the brakes off the Rockies. But Sammy Sosa hit a homer to right and then hit a homer to center. They were beating them so badly they pulled him out of the game, but (before that) I just remember being like “He’s gonna hit one to left here. He already hit one to right and center so he’s got to go to left now”

Johnson: The Tornadough! Oh my God, every time we came I begged and pleaded with my parents to get one of those. If I was a good kid, I would get one. So I was on my best behavior and always, always tried to get one of those before we left.

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Brendan Rodgers receives hardware, carries on Rockies’ lineage of versatile Gold Glove winners | Colorado Springs Gazette

Before Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals, Brendan Rodgers was honored with his Gold Glove award for second base in the 2022 season. His defensive improvements directly led to his hardware, but Rodgers credits the influence great defensive infielders before him for leading to his success.

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Pebble Report: April 3 - April 9, 2023

The minor league season officially kicked off for all Rockies affiliates this week...sort of. The Isotopes moved on to their second series of the year, going 2-3 against Salt Lake (LAA) while the Double-A Yard Goats dropped their series against Bowie (BAL) and the Fresno Grizzlies won theirs on the road in San Jose (SF). Missing from the picture was High-A Spokane, who was set to start on the road against Vancouver but got rained-out all weekend.

On the field, the story remains to be all about Nolan Jones. After a 5-for-13 opening series, Jones continued his scorching-hot pace with seven hits — five for extra-bases — to go with seven RBI and seven walks. Jones sits atop the early PCL leader boards with six HR, 32 TB and a robust .941 SLG% in his first nine games.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (2-3, 5-4 overall)

Like Jones, Michael Toglia (No. 13 PuRP) served up three homers of his own in the week. He also led the Isotopes in RBI with eight. Coco Montes led the hit-parade with 11 knocks — three going for doubles and one clearing the wall. On the mound, Noah Davis (No. 29 PuRP) rebounded from a tough opening start, allowing one run over five innings with just three hits allowed in his second outing.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (1-2, 1-2 overall)

Case Williams’ (No. 26 PuRP) final appearance in 2022 was a magnificent Double-A debut with 11 strikeouts. He picked up from where he left off, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out five and avoided the free-pass over five innings in his 2023 debut. Hunter Goodman (No. 19 PuRP) broke the HR seal for the Yard Goats, hitting the first (and only) of the season in his 4-for-10 week to go with three runs scored. Bladmir Restituyo made a strong first-impression, driving in four-runs in his Double-A debut.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (2-1, 2-1 overall)

After three seasons in the system, Jesus Bugarin made his full-season debut and it was a memorable one. In 15 AB, Bugarin had six hits — two for extra-bases — and a healthy .400/.438/.533 slash-line. While Bugarin’s line was impressive, it wasn’t as eye-popping as Kody Huff’s. The 2022 seventh-round selection out of Stanford University finished with a cartoonish .700/.700/.800 line in 10 AB. De facto ace Jordy Vargas (No. 10 PuRP) got the Opening Day start for the Grizzlies and fared well, allowing two runs with no walks and three strikeouts in five innings.

Week of 5/29-6/4 (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A 3/18 0 2 4 2
Adael Amador 3 High-A 6/20 0 4 3 3
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 3/13 0 1 2 1
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 2/22 0 3 12 0
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jordan Beck 9 High-A 5/25 1 2 7 2
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 High-A 6/24 1 3 5 0
Michael Toglia 13 Triple-A 4/24 0 2 6 0
Sterlin Thompson 14 High-A 4/13 2 1 2 0
Dyan Jorge 16 TBA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hunter Goodman 19 Double-A 3/20 1 5 7 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 6/20 1 6 3 0
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 3/18 0 3 6 1
Ryan Ritter HM Low-A 4/25 1 0 8 0
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 13/24 1 1 6 0

Week of 5/29-6/4 (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A 1/1 3.1 3/3 1 3
Gabriel Hughes 8 Double-A 1/1 5.0 0/0 2 8
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A 1/1 6.0 1/1 2 7
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 1/1 5.0 3/2 2 1
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A 2/2 9.1 3/3 1 8
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A 1/1 1.0 2/2 0 0
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A 1/1 6.0 1/1 2 4
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A 1/1 6.0 4/1 4 5
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A 1/1 3.0 2/1 3 3
Case Williams 26 Double-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 High-A 1/1 2.2 1/1 2 4
Noah Davis 29 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
McCade Brown 30 TBA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM Triple-A 3/0 3.2 0/0 3 1
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 1/1 4.1 10/10 2 2
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 2/0 1.1 2/2 2 2

Season to Date (Hitters)

Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Name PuRP Ranking Level H/AB HR BB SO SB
Ezequiel Tovar 1 MLB N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zac Veen 2 Double-A 30/140 2 20 36 18
Adael Amador 3 High-A 51/172 8 19 21 12
Drew Romo 4 Double-A 27/133 3 8 25 4
Benny Montgomery 5 High-A 37/149 2 19 46 1
Warming Bernabel 7 Double-A (IL) 27/116 2 9 24 1
Jordan Beck 9 High-A 49/181 14 23 49 3
Yanquiel Fernandez 12 High-A 65/202 13 10 38 0
Michael Toglia 13 Triple-A 46/182 8 26 55 2
Sterlin Thompson 14 High-A 35/80 5 8 8 5
Dyan Jorge 16 TBA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Brenton Doyle 17 MLB 15/49 5 8 19 1
Hunter Goodman 19 Double-A 45/187 16 23 53 0
Grant Lavigne 20 Double-A 43/163 6 36 44 2
Julio Carreras 24 Double-A 25/99 2 12 30 5
Ryan Ritter HM Low-A 43/169 12 26 53 3
Aaron Schunk HM Triple-A 56/160 10 12 47 1

Season to Date (Pitchers)

Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Name PuRP Ranking Level G/GS IP R/ER BB SO
Jaden Hill 6 High-A 8/8 22.1 22/22 11 22
Gabriel Hughes 8 High-A 8/8 37.2 24/23 15 54
Jordy Vargas 10 Low-A 9/9 45.2 22/19 17 51
Joe Rock 11 Double-A 4/4 15.2 7/6 7 13
Chris McMahon 15 Double-A 10/10 41.1 30/27 14 39
Ryan Rolison 18 Triple-A 4/4 11.0 11/11 6 9
Sam Weatherly 21 High-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Victor Juarez 22 High-A 8/8 36.0 18/18 11 38
Karl Kauffmann 23 Triple-A 9/9 43.0 38/33 16 31
Jackson Cox 25 Low-A 5/4 14.1 15/14 12 13
Case Williams 26 Double-A (IL) 9/9 40.1 39/34 25 28
Helcris Olivarez 29 Triple-A (IL) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Carson Palmquist 28 High-A 6/6 26.1 15/13 15 35
Noah Davis 29 MLB 3/3 12.2 8/6 6 7
McCade Brown 30 TBA N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gavin Hollowell HM Triple-A 6/0 6.2 0/0 5 7
Jeff Criswell HM Triple-A 11//9 42 44/42 20 42
Riley Pint HM Triple-A 18/0 22.2 21/20 21 34

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Upcoming Schedule

Triple-A Albuquerque: 4/11-4/16 @ El Paso (SD)

Double-A Hartford: 4/11-4/16 @ Reading (PHI)

High-A Spokane: 4/11-4/16 vs Eugene (SF)

Low-A Fresno: 4/11-4/16 vs Stockton (OAK)

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