Colorado Rockies Old Friend: Do You Remember Tommy Field?
May 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman T. Field (39) throws to first for an out in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
A member of the Colorado Rockies briefly in 2011 and 2012, the middle infielder is in AAA with the Texas Rangers, trying to get another shot at the big leagues.
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I’ll be impressed if you remember Thomas Field, since he was in the big leagues with the Colorado Rockies for exactly 18 games over two seasons. And if you do remember him… you win… uh… the Rockies’ four-man rotation from 2011? Yeah, nobody wants that.
Ok, anyways, Field was a September call-up back in 2011 when Troy Tulowitzki experienced hip issues with about 20 games left in the season. The Rox sat down Tulo, and gave Tommy a call. Field’s minor league season had already ended when he got that call, but he ended up hitting the ground running, playing 16 of the final 17 games down the stretch for the ’11 Rockies — and he actually wasn’t horrible.
Even the Denver Post only has brief tidbits about Tommy, this taken from an item in the paper on the day he was called up to the big leagues for the first time:
"[Jim] Tracy on rookie shortstop Thomas Field, who was called up when Troy Tulowitzki began experiencing problems with bursitis in his left hip: “Offensively, he’s going to be challenged at this level, but he’s proven he can catch the ball and take charge in that infield.’’ Field singled to right field in the second for his first major league hit."
In those sixteen games, Field slashed .271/.314/.271, got three RBIs, walked three times, and struck out fourteen times in 51 plate appearances. For a guy that, to that point, hadn’t been above AA, that’s not a bad showing in September big league games. It was also the most sustained action he’s ever gotten in the majors.
The Rockies called him up from AAA Colorado Springs for a whopping two at-bats in 2012, and then out of a job in Colorado, he meandered to southern California where he joined the Angels. He spent the majority of the next two seasons in AAA, only getting 27 at-bats in the big leagues in 2013 with Los Angeles.
[ Related: Catch up on other former Colorado Rockies now elsewhere in baseball ]
Now, he’s with the Rangers. Well, he’s really with the Round Rock Express, the Rangers’ AAA affiliate in Round Rock, Texas, but he has been in the big leagues with the Rangers this season. He played in 14 games from May 11-27 with Texas, going only 8-for-46, but he did hit two home runs — the first and thus far only two homers of his big league career!
He’ll turn 29 years old at the start of Spring Training in 2016, so his age and .214/.264/.274 career slash line at the big league level probably isn’t going to inspire the Rangers or anyone else to make him an everyday infielder, short of insane injuries. It’s probably a safe bet to say that while he’ll see more big league time over the next few years, most of it will come in the form he’s already seen: a temporary injury replacement destined to shuttle back to AAA after insert-player-here gets off the 15-day disabled list.
But to his credit, Field is controlling what he can control in AAA; in 278 plate appearances this year, the middle infielder is slashing .270/.363/.494 with sixteen doubles, 11 home runs, and 32 walks against just 49 strikeouts. That’s not bad for a 5’10”, 185-pound second baseman.
Thomas Field represents the same AAAA “Quad-A” traits so many other players have before him: he’s good enough to play his way out of AAA four times in the last five years, but he’s not quite good enough to stick in the big leagues. Think of it this way: with 25 active players on 30 different big league rosters, there are 750 slots every year for big leaguers.
Add to that those on the disabled list at any one time, and each team’s crop of consistent call-ups (like Field), and there are about 1,000 Major Leaguers in the entire world at any one time.
Considering how many professional, college, and high school baseball players take the field each year, being one of those 1,000 is an incredible achievement.
Field has spent several seasons as part of that 1,000, and nobody will ever take that away from him.
But like so many others, he’s on the outside looking in to the only group that really matters: the 750.