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Riley Pint reaches the top of the mountain after an arduous journey (plus Pebble Report)

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, May 15, 2023

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What player comes to mind when you ask who’s the greatest pitcher in Colorado Rockies history? Germán Márquez certainly comes to mind with his five-year stretch from 2017-2021. As does hometown-boy Kyle Freeland, the rotation stalwart that posted arguably the greatest single-season on the mound in team history in 2018. His biggest competition for that honor is Ubaldo Jiménez, who won 19 games with a 2.88 ERA in 2010.

No matter who your personal selection is, there is no denying that the list is divisive and waiting for a player to convincingly set the bar. That pressure, that expectation, was never placed more squarely on a singular player than Riley Pint – the fourth overall selection of the 2016 MLB draft.

Only the third pitcher selected with a top-five pick in franchise history – behind Greg Reynolds in 2006 and Jon Gray in 2013 – Pint earned sky-high expectations and a $4.8M signing bonus as an 18-year-old thanks to his 102 mph fastball in the amateur field of Kansas.

But instead of elevating through the farm system with his tantalizing arsenal, Pint’s career was setback from injuries in multiple seasons and mired with pitch command inconsistencies when he was on the mound. Over his first four seasons, Pint had yet to graduate beyond the A-Ball levels and owned a BB-to-K of 124-to-146 in 156 IP as a starter before being moved to the bullpen full-time in 2019.

After a lost 2020 season from the pandemic, Pint was assigned to the High-A Spokane Indians to start the 2021 season. His numbers were better, but his passion was depleted and he ultimately chose to walk away from the sport in June of that year.

For lack of a better term, there was plenty of uncertainty regarding the 6’5” right-hander after the announcement and it was safest to assume he would never take the mound again. But less than a year later Pint came back to the game and rejoined the organization, pitching well in 41 games between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque.

Now, after another 13 games at Triple-A, Pint has earned a long-awaited call-up to the big-league club, reaching the majors almost seven years after he was drafted.

After seemingly being written-off as a long-shot to reach the majors, Pint attributed reaching the game’s highest level on the new perspective he discovered after stepping away entirely:

“For me, I just got back to what I’ve done since I was a kid, and that’s just compete, go out there, don’t overthink anything and just do my thing,” Pint said. “I was in a cycle there for a while where I just couldn’t get out of my own way. Everything I did, I was always thinking about something else while I was trying to get outs out there. I think for me, it just really helped taking a step back and focusing in on what I’m good at and what I can do on the mound.”

Pint didn’t reach the Rockies by accident. His hard work was certainly paramount in the process, but the support system from the organization was always in place to help him graduate as Bud Black exemplified in his press conference on Sunday:

“It’s a good story, and I hope it continues on the positive side,” Black said. “There was a valley in there that was pretty deep and he’s risen out of it, so that’s a great tribute to him that he is here.

“I think there’s a bright future because there’s a big talent in there. There’s a Major League-quality arm,” Black continued. “He’s a good kid and I hope he has a long career. This is a starting point. Who knows how it is going to play out, but he got to the big leagues. He’s here.”

Much has changed from the player fans and the organization expected Pint to be when he was drafted back in 2016. No longer is there a burden of being the best pitcher in organization history, but rather just a good pitcher for the organization. While it may feel like reaching the majors is this story’s climax, it’s not over yet. In many ways, it actually feels like it’s finally beginning.

(Special thanks to Kevin Henry for his contributions to this article)

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Rockies’ Ryan Feltner out weeks to months with fractured skull, concussion after line drive to head | The Athletic

It was a scary scene at Coors Field on Saturday as Ryan Feltner was hit in the head by a line-drive off the bat of Nick Castellanos in the second inning. Feltner walked off the field with the help of the team trainers and was immediately transported to the hospital where he stayed through Sunday. Ultimately, Feltner suffered a skull fracture and concussion in the play and is considered out indefinitely while he recovers.

Injuries & Moves: Cron (back spasms) bound for IL |

The poor injury-luck continued for the Rockies on Sunday as 1B C.J. Cron was taken out of the game in the third inning after a routine pop-up. It was later revealed that back spasms were the cause of the injury, leading the club to place Cron on the 10-day IL. Michael Toglia is expected to be promoted to fill Cron’s spot on the roster.

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Pebble Report: April 10-16, 2023

It was a strong week for the Rockies’ farm system, with three of the four levels gathering four wins in their series. One of those success stories was the High-A Spokane Indians, who were anchored offensively by OF Yanquiel Fernandez (No. 12 PuRP). In six games, Fernandez produced a lofty 1.555 OPS, going 14-for-26 with one triple, two doubles, three home runs, seven runs scored and 12 batted-in. In all, Fernandez collected 27 total-bases in week that is likely worthy of earning Northwest Player of the Week honors.

Top 30 PuRPs

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (2-4, 16-23 overall)

Another week, another strong Coco Montes performance as he hit two dingers and finished with a .320/.367/.600 slash line. Nolan Jones also went deep twice to go with three doubles, resulting in a robust .810 SLG%. Joining Montes and Jones with eight knocks was Elehuris Montero, who doubled twice, went deep once and scored six runs.

On the hill, Karl Kauffmann (No. 23 PuRP) delivered six strong innings, allowing two runs while striking out five without issuing a walk to Las Vegas (OAK). After struggling with walks in April, Kauffmann has now produced a K/BB of 12/0 in his two May starts.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (4-3, 17-15 overall)

Case Williams (No. 26 PuRP) toed the rubber twice against Binghamton (NYM) and struggled immensely. Williams allowed eight runs in each start and finished the week with 15 ER on 15 hits — 4 HR — and 9 BB to just 3 K in 8 13 IP.

At the plate, Hunter Goodman (No. 19 PuRP) continued to mash with all of his six hits going for extra-bases. Four of them cleared the wall, bringing his season total up to 12.

High-A: Spokane Indians (4-2, 16-14 overall)

While Yanquiel Fernandez stole the show against Hillsboro (ARI), he did have a supporting cast in the lineup. Jordan Beck (No. 9 PuRP) and Adael Amador (No. 3 PuRP) each bopped two homers and scored five runs. But the true co-star was Zach Kokoska, who smacked four home runs and double as part of his seven hits. Kokoska finished the week with a very healthy .389/.522/1.111 slash-line in a week that could catch the eye of the Northwest League more than Fernandez’s.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (4-2, 18-15 overall)

The Grizzlies topped the .500 mark with a series win against Visalia (ARI). Pitching led the way for the Fresno club, with only one starter allowing more than one run in their outing. Jordy Vargas (No. 10 PuRP) went seven innings with six strikeouts and no walks while Blake Adams matched him across the board except for strikeouts, where he punched-out nine. Jackson Cox (No. 25 PuRP) made his second professional start, striking out four in four one-run innings.

Jesus Bugarin collected eight hits and a strong .381 AVG while Robby Martin went yard twice and Skyler Messinger cleared the wall as well. EJ Andrews didn’t leave the yard, but did have plenty of trips around the bags with a double and two triples, resulting in a strong 1.362 OPS in five games.

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: 5/16-5/21 vs Tacoma (SEA)

Double-A Hartford: 5/16-5/21 vs Portland (BOS)

High-A Spokane: 5/16-5/21 @ Everett (SEA)

Low-A Fresno: 5/16-5/21 @ Modesto (SEA)

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