BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
Playing in the minors is humbling for a player after experiencing Major League Baseball.
It means the team is not happy with a player’s development.
It means that it’s not fair that he lost out a roster spot.
That’s the case with Tyler Colvin after he did not make the Rockies’ roster on Opening Day. He lost a spot to a player that specialize only in bunting in Eric Young Jr.
Colvin was called up last week, and the Rockies expect him to be on their roster for the rest of the season.
Still, that does not make him happy about playing in the minors this season.
Who can blame him for feeling that way? After all, he hit .290 with 27 doubles, 10 triples, 18 homers and 72 RBIs last season.
One would think that’s enough for him to be a cinch to make the roster. That wasn’t the case.
The Rockies were not happy with the way he played in spring training by hitting .167. They felt he was not working hard enough, and they felt he was complacent after his success last year. They thought he should have had a better attitude heading to spring training. What it means was the Rockies thought he assumed he had a roster spot locked up, and they wanted to teach him a lesson.
Why else would he be playing in the minors after doing well last year?
It’s not the first time the Rockies have sent a guy down in the minors when it comes to attitude.
They had issues with Nolan Arenado’s work ethic last year when he was playing at Double-A Tulsa, which is why he did not play in Triple-A Colorado Springs last year.
They had issues with Ian Stewart’s approach to the game, which is why he was a fixture in the minors.
With the Rockies, they value work ethic when it comes to young players making the team for the first time after being in the minors.
Colvin should have made the roster despite what the organization felt about his attitude. He is a guy that can get a team going, and he is a good hitter. Teams can’t get enough guys like Colvin.
Rather than pout about his situation, Colvin was determined to be back with the Rockies by hitting .293 with eight doubles, four triples, nine homers and 29 RBIs at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
The Rockies liked how Colvin played and how he responded after not making the roster, and that’s why he was promoted last week.
Colvin has hit three home runs and drove in 9 runs in the seven games he played for the Rockies since he was being called up.
He hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning that tied the game at 2 against the Nationals on Tuesday night.
He played a role in the Rockies’ six-run first inning yesterday afternoon by hitting a two-run home run that gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead over the Phillies.
It’s safe to say he will be in the lineup one way or another, and he should being that he is a great hitter.
Don’t expect Colvin to think anything is a guarantee anymore after the way everything went down in spring training. No one can blame him.
He will remember this for the rest of his career. Major League players are wired that way when they get demoted.
Playing in the minors is not fun after being in the majors. The working conditions is nothing special, and the buffet is horrible. There is nothing worse than traveling on a bus for games.
It’s a humbling experience, and there is no question Colvin experienced it.
It’s the way Rockies like it, and that’s the way they drew up when they sent him down.
The Rockies feel Colvin will benefit from being sent to the minors. They know he realizes he can’t take his spot for granted since he is not a core player they are going to build around.
Colvin may not even be on the team next year, and he knows that.
He certainly has something to prove to the Rockies and other teams.
He is playing like it, and he intends to continue to play like it for a long time.
Playing in Colorado Springs or in the minors is not what he wants to do anymore.
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BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
There have been roster changes with the Rockies this year.
It’s a refreshing change of pace for an organization that has been complacent.
If a player doesn’t produce, he loses his gig to another player.
That was evident again yesterday when the Rockies designated Eric Young Jr. for assignment after not producing offensively. He became expendable after Tyler Colvin homered twice and drove in six RBIs since his callup on Saturday.
It was a move the Rockies had to make.
There is no question Young Jr. is a great guy as Rockies TV play-by-play announcer Drew Goodman gushed many times on the telecast last night, but he becomes useless if he is known to bunt to get hits. He hasn’t given the Rockies anything on offense, so it was easy for him to lose his job for a player that is better offensively in Colvin.
It was amazing how Colvin did not make the team based on what he can do offensively.
This isn’t the first move they made with a player that is not producing.
They released Jon Garland on Saturday after being 4-6 in 12 starts with a 6.81 ERA over his last seven starts. He was giving them nothing after he displayed lack of command when he was on the mound.
The Rockies knew it wasn’t getting better, so rather than let him work out his problems, they gave up on him.
If this was last year, he would be pitching with no consequences no matter how bad he was pitching.
Jeff Francis is the next starter to lose his spot in the rotation as soon as Roy Oswalt is called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Francis has been awful this season. He has a 6.30 ERA in 9 games, and he has not had the command that made him successful. He hasn’t gone deep in games, either. He can’t get by throwing 30 pitches to get by early in the game.
It’s hard for him to justify being in the rotation.
Jhoulys Chacin could be another guy losing his role if Drew Pomeranz is ready to pitch in the majors.
Chacin hasn’t deserved to stay in the rotation with the way he has pitched this season. Before Tuesday night’s start, he hasn’t won since April.
It’s hard to believe the Rockies are going to be patient with him if he continues to struggle and loses focus every fifth day.
No one figured Nolan Arenado would be called up in April, but that’s exactly what happened.
The Rockies had enough of Chris Nelson’s poor performance at the plate, so he was designated for assignment. They figured Arenado could learn on the job by being an everyday player in April rather than wait for the summer.
It’s been great to see the Rockies behave like a professional franchise by showing accountability for guys that are not producing.
That’s the way it should be.
Professional sports are about results. It’s about guys that are supposed to be their best players on the 25-man roster.
Now, there are exceptions. There is no way Todd Helton is losing his starting job to Jordan Pacheco, especially with him retiring at the end of the season. Besides, he does add value by playing good defensively at first, and he can still get hits.
Outside of Helton, no one can complain about the Rockies running a country club anymore.
Last year was tough to take. They had the most losses in franchise history last year by losing 98 games. Guys did not suffer the consequences of playing bad baseball and not hustling in games. There were guys who did not seem to get worked up.
It was hard to get interested.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort promised this year would be different when the season started. He was embarrassed about what took place on the field last year.
He certainly backed up his words with the team making so many transactions with their own players.
It’s about time the Rockies change the way they do business at 20th and Blake Street.
Whether the moves work or not is not the point.
It’s about marginal guys knowing they shouldn’t be comfortable just being on the roster.
They have to know they have to do what it takes to stay in the majors.
Accountability is the first step for a team to be a winning franchise.
Follow me or contact me @TalkinRockies on Twitter.
Walt Weiss talked about the Rockies using their strength to win ballgames.
The first-year Rockies manager wants his team to find a way to outscore the other team and he wants his players to be aggressive on the basepaths.
It is interesting Weiss mentions that. It’s clear he does not believe in his starters to win games for the Rockies or else he wouldn’t be talking about outscoring the other team. He has been around winning teams as a player to know great starting pitching results to victories.
Weiss has to make do with what he has to work with. He has to rely on his hitters to win games. He feels if the Rockies can outscore the other team late, his bullpen is good enough to protect the lead.
It may be enough to win games at home, but it’s also a flawed strategy.
There’s no question the Rockies have a great lineup. They have a mixture of tablesetters and sluggers. The Rockies have Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge to leadoff, and they rely on Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki or Michael Cuddyer to drive them home.
It’s a formula that is going to work. The Rockies have speed, and they will extend a single into a double or they will steal bases to be in a position to score. This is a lineup that is going to be tough for pitchers to go up against.
Weiss also wants the Rockies to use Coors Field as home-field advantage. He knows his hitters can flourish well at their ballpark because it’s a hard place to pitch. It can wear on a pitcher’s mind as the game goes on.
The Rockies have benefitted over the years of playing in altitude. They always dominated at home.
The problem is winning on the road.
Pitchers will always have advantage over the Rockies’ hitters, especially the great ones.
The Rockies struggled to hit on the road in their history. They don’t hit many home runs as they do when they are at home.
Troy Tulowizki is a great hitter whether he hits at home or not. One has to think Nolan Arenado is good enough to be a good hitter at home and on road.
It’s the other guys that have to play well on the road.
It would be easy if the Rockies starters can do their job on the road. They need to set the tone to win games on the road. They don’t have to deal with the altitude, and they don’t have to worry about trying too hard out there. They have to just pitch by throwing strikes and working fast out there.
The starters need to make the hitters’ job easy when it comes to winning on the road. The hitters can’t do it all every game with great pitchers shutting them down. That’s where the starters must show up.
It remains to be seen if the starters are up to the task.
No one is giving the Rockies a chance to have a winning season as a result of so many question marks of the starting rotation.
The Rockies will be competitive thanks to their hitting, but that can only go so far. They have to develop starters this year for them to be successful. This is not a secret.
In yesterday’s Rockies’ 8-6 victory over the Angels, they benefitted from a slugfest. The hitters bailed Juan Nicasio out after he struggled on the mound.
The Rockies can get by, but they can’t rely on this all year. It’s not conducive to success.
Weiss knows this despite what he is saying publicly about winning games by outhitting and outscoring the other team.
The Rockies are hoping to find someone on the mound to step up. If they can get that, they can get by when they go through hitting slumps.
Outslugging guys can be entertaining, but that’s not baseball. The sport is meant to play tight games. This is where the Rockies must know how to execute smallball, play great defense and receive efficient pitching.
Odds are there will be more tight games than slugfests for the Rockies, especially on the road. This is where the Rockies must know how to do things that win those games.
No team ever won a championship by outslugging others, and that will never change.
As much as Weiss publicly says that his team will win by outscoring the other team, he privately hopes his team can get pitching and defense to win games.