The kids are looking good … and getting experience
Spring training is a time when all teams get a look at that “next generation” of players. That includes players like Daniel Castro, who went 3-for-3 from the nine hole in a March 6 win over Seattle, and Sam Hilliard, who drove in the winning run with a two-out, two-strike single on March 8 against Cincinnati.
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Bud Black likes getting a chance to see the young Rockies in clutch situations, and he got a chance to see them in those situations a lot during a run of six consecutive one-run decisions (three losses followed by three wins).
"“It’s good to see these guys in these situations,” Black said. “For Hilliard, (Brendan) Rodgers, (Yonathan) Daza, this is great experience for them. We talk about all these steps we have to take all the time. These are little steps, even though it’s a spring training game. But it’s a big league camp. They’ve never been here before. We look for certain things because we want to know these players as they go through the system to see what they can actually do. “I like to see the young guys at the back end of these games. Both the pitchers and the hitters. Even when we’re on defense, it’s good to see these guys make plays. (Garrett) Hampson made a nice play in the hole. It’s good to see these late-game at-bats. Hilliard, two strikes, took a fastball the other way for a base hit. That was good to see. Sam’s has had a good spring. He’s shown well. It puts a little pressure on the pitching too in these close games. So these young guys like (Shane) Broyles and (James) Farris and (Jerry) Vasto and (Ryan) Castellani, it’s good to see these guys pitch in close games.”"
While some Rockies fans may not know their names (yet), having these young players on the field for important innings is a big part of spring training … and can pay off down the road for the organization.