Colorado Rockies: Peter Lambert talks spring progress and focus

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Peter Lambert #78 of the Colorado Rockies poses during MLB Photo Day on February 20, 2019 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: Peter Lambert #78 of the Colorado Rockies poses during MLB Photo Day on February 20, 2019 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /

Scottsdale, Arizona — Colorado Rockies pitcher Peter Lambert had an eventful two innings against the Texas Rangers on Monday. During his relief appearance, he flashed the best and worst of what can happen to young, promising pitchers early in their careers.

Pitching the seventh and eighth innings, Peter Lambert gave up a solo home run to Bubba Thompson on an 0-1 pitch as part of the 4-4 tie between the Rangers and Colorado Rockies. There’s the bad. The good, however, made sure that the game didn’t slip away from the Rockies.

Following the homer in the seventh, the soon-to-be-22-year-old Lambert opened the eighth by surrendering a single and two walks to load the bases. Facing a bases-loaded situation with no outs and a visit to the mound, however, Lambert settled in and displayed some of the tools that makes him one of Colorado’s most talked about prospects this spring.

The first pitch to the next batter, on what was described as “a great changeup” by Colorado manager Bud Black, got Preston Beck of Texas to tap one in front of the plate which he touched in fair territory, ruling him out.

One out. Bases still loaded.

The very next pitch, Lambert hummed a well-placed fastball to Charles Leblanc, which he hit to Brendan Rodgers at shortstop. A 6-4-3 double play was turned and the inning was over with no damage done.

Plenty of pitches got Lambert into trouble. He needed only two to get out of it.

"“I told Peter every day is a test,” Black said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s a spring training game, a regular season game, a playoff game. He answered a few questions today and I think you saw some things that, as he climbs up the ladder of competition, there are some things he has to improve.”"

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Colorado’s second-round draft pick in the 2015 amateur draft has moved up the organizational ladder and fulfilled 11 Triple-A starts last season, giving up 72 hits in 55.1 innings pitched. In an exclusive interview, Lambert said he is working this spring on lowering that number, which includes better command of his fastball.

In six spring innings so far, opponents are hitting .348 against Lambert and he has given up eight hits and five runs. He knows there is still plenty of work to do.

"“It’s spring training so I am trying to dial everything in,” Lambert said. “This spring, I’ve really been working on my fastball command because that’s definitely been my problem during spring. Fastball glove side, really been dialing that in.”"

There is plenty of talk that Lambert could make the jump to the Majors this season if he can make those adjustments and continue the upward trajectory he has been on since starting in Grand Junction in the Rookie League in 2015. He is one of many young, talented starters in the Rockies organization, and points to players like Kyle Freeland and German Marquez as inspiration and motivation.

"“They’ve been around. They have had great success at the highest level,” Lambert said of the Major League pitchers sitting catacorner from his spring training locker. “I’m just trying to learn from them.”"

Lambert knows the buzz is out there about what might be this season, but Colorado’s highest-rated pitching prospect is only focused on what he needs to do to get better. Whenever his Major League debut comes, he just wants to be ready.

"“I try to shut that out and keep that out of my head as much as possible,” Lambert smiled when asked about all of the what-might-be’s surrounding his future in Denver."

Next. Ryan McMahon's hot streak is making a spring statement. dark

For now, Lambert is focused on his moments of learning in his second spring training stint with the Rockies.

"“With it being my second year, it’s a bit more comfortable,” Lambert said of his Scottsdale surroundings. “I’m trying to learn as much as I can and get as much out of it as I can.”"