DENVER – Colorado Rockies outfielder Noel Cuevas got the message he waited years for yesterday afternoon. The one that informed him he reached The Show.
The 26-year-old from Puerto Rico was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 21st round of the 2010 draft. He spent nine seasons in the minors, the last four which where with the Rockies.
It’s not easy to be that low of a pick or spend that much time in the minors. The righty did both.
"“I was a 21st rounder so everything I’ve had throughout my career I’ve had to earn” Cuevas told Jake Shapiro of Rox Pile on Sunday. “I think that is a valuable lesson that I’m bringing with me here. Nothing was given. I’ve had to earn every single bit and all the sacrifices, everything. To be honest, I’m an aggressive ball player, I’m not afraid to make mistakes and I think that’s what got me to the next level. That I was finally able to get over that fence of playing not to make mistakes. Now, I’m playing not afraid to make mistakes with is a huge difference.”"
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Cuevas has come a long way and has certainly worked his way to where he is today. He was the PTBNL in the Juan Nicasio trade, a write off. The grind that has led him to making his MLB debut on Sunday makes it just all the more sweeter.
"“I actually feel pretty calm. I don’t think it’s hit me. I’m just trying to do what I would’ve been doing what brought me up here. Its the same game. I know a lot of people that have played in the game from back home in Puerto Rico and I’ve talked to them and they’ve said the same thing. And they say, ‘Hey it’s the same thing. Don’t change a bit you’re there because of what you’ve done.’ So you just gotta keep doing what you’re doing. So i’m going to take that advice, take it out there, and do me.”"
When Cuevas found out he would be playing against the Chicago Cubs, it was a whirlwind of emotion not just for him, but also for Albuquerque Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill.
"“I was in Salt Lake City in the clubhouse and Glenallen Hill called me in the office and he’s the one that gave me the big news. I was really excited and gave him a hug. And I was like, ‘Man, I’ve worked for this a long time.’ Him and I both cause I spent the whole year with him last year in Triple-A and I learned a lot from him. So the fact that he was the one able to tell me, ‘Hey you made it. You’re going up!’ It’s a big deal.”"
Cuevas spent all last season with the Isotopes in Triple-A, playing in 128 games where he hit 15 home runs, drove in 79 runs, and hit for an average of .312. After a strong season in Triple-A last year, Cuevas has started the 2018 campaign strong as well, already bashing two home runs and hitting for an average of .333. As most Rockies fans might not be familiar with Cuevas’ game, he talked about what fans can expect to see from him when he laces them up at Coors Field.
"“It means the world. It means the world to my family. It means the world to the island of Puerto Rico, and especially to my city. I think everybody is going to be watching today from my city and I love them all. I feel the good vibes. I feel the support that they’ve been giving me since day one and this is what we’re worked for those seven years in the minors. I was finally able to get the call.”"
Cuevas seems like a pretty calm, cool, and collected guy, and nothing was different when he was told he would be joining the Rockies.
The mindset that Cuevas brings to the Rockies clubhouse seems like it’ll be nothing but beneficial for the club. We will certainly be rooting for Cuevas when he takes his first steps in a major league batters box on Sunday. At the very least, he’s a much needed right-handed bat for Bud Black.