Greetings from Rockies Spring Training in Scottsdale, Arizona! It's always nice to catch up with several former Yard Goats now in the Major Leagues, talk baseball with the Goats coaching staff, and visit with the Rockies front office. I will also be hosting our annual spring training preview show, which will air on Thursday evening, from 6-7 PM EST on WPOP AM 1410, FM 100.9 and on the iHeartRadio app. We will discuss who has been impressive in camp and what type of team we will see in Hartford this season.
So far the weather has been perfect (80's and sunny each day), but everyone has told me it's been a cold spring. I know everyone back in Connecticut is ready for warm weather and to kick off the baseball season. Amazingly, we are just 22 away from the home opener at Dunkin' Donuts Park in downtown Hartford. The Yard Goats begin the season with a week long road trip to Richmond, Virginia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and then return home on Thursday, April 11 to host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at 7:05 PM.
No Goats No Glory
Having talked to some folks from the Rockies, they are excited about the club we will have in Hartford this season. We are still some time away from hearing the names officially, but many players had solid seasons at High-A Lancaster in 2018, and could be dressing in the Yard Goats blue and green this season. It is a big week for some of the players who are on the Double-A/Triple-A bubble and are trying to impress the front office and coaching staffs. I think we will have a better idea of who will be opening the season with the Yard Goats by the end of this week. Like any other year, the Yard Goats will have some top prospects mixed in with some returning players from 2018 along with some Eastern League rookies.
One player that we can talk about is former Yard Goats infielder Ryan McMahon . In fact, "Mac" has been the talk of camp and for good reason. McMahon, who made history in Hartford in 2017 by become the first member of the Yard Goats to homer at Dunkin' Donuts Park, has had a monster spring. The infielder is leading all of Major League Baseball (both Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues) in batting average (.457), On Base Percentage OBP (.500), Slugging Percentage SLG (.848), OPS (13.48), hits (21) and total bases (39). "Mac" has hit safely in 16 of 20 games with the Rockies.
Yard Goats Getting a Chance at Some Major League Spring Training Time
During the last couple of weeks of spring training several minor league players get the opportunity to dress for the Major League Cactus League games. This is a chance for the younger kids to show what they've got in front of the Colorado Rockies coaching staff. Many Yard Goats have seen action on the Major League side this spring.
Although most of the chatter was about Mike Trout's contract extension at the Angels complex in Tempe on Tuesday, five Yard Goats from last year's club were in the game against the Los Angeles Angels (Scott Burcham , Chris Rabago , Garrett Hampson , Ryan Metzler , and Mitch Horacek ). The following players from the 2018 Yard Goats squad have played in MLB games this spring: Scott Burcham, Omar Carrizales , Logan Cozart , Yonathan Daza , Sam Hilliard , Garrett Hampson, Mitch Horacek, Mylz Jones , Ryan Metzler, Brian Mundell , Dom Nunez , Chris Rabago, Roberto Ramos , Brendan Rodgers , Wes Rogers , Jesus Tinoco , and Drew Weeks .
Yard Goats Coaching Staff Excited to Head East to Hartford
I spent some time with the Yard Goats coaching staff, Manager Warren Schaeffer and Hitting Coach Lee Stevens are excited about some of the players that we will see in Hartford this season. Warren loves Hartford and says the energy at Dunkin' Donuts Park is the best in Minor League Baseball. They also think it is going to be a good group of players for clubhouse chemistry. This is very important when you are playing a 140 game schedule. I also got a chance to meet new Yard Goats pitching coach Steve Merriman, and he is very nice and also excited about coming to Hartford.
Here is a list of some recent Colorado Rockies player moves with some familiar names to Yard Goats fans. The Rockies roster is now at 35 including 4 non-roster invites, and this will be trimmed down to 25 for opening day. March 18: Optioned outfielder Noel Cuevas to Triple-A Albuquerque and reassigned left-handed pitcher Sam Howard , right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert and infielder Peter Mooney to Minor League camp. March 16: Reassigned the following non-roster invitees to Minor League camp: infielders Bret Boswell , Brian Mundell and Brendan Rodgers , right-handed pitcher Matt Pierpont , left-handed pitcher Ben Bowden and catcher Dom Nuñez. March 11: Optioned the following players to Triple-A Albuquerque: right-handed pitchers Ryan Castellani , Rayan González and Jesus Tinoco ; outfielders Yonathan Daza and Sam Hilliard and infielder Josh Fuentes . Additionally, right-handed pitcher Justin Lawrence optioned to Double-A Hartford.
Thanks for reading, and more to come this week!
The Voice of the Yard Goats
Annual Spring Training Radio Show Set for Thursday from 6-7 PM EST.
Annual Spring Training Show on Thursday 6-7 PM live from the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Listen on Yard Goats flagship station WPOP AM 1410 and 100.9FM. The show will also be available on several mobile devices through the iHeartRadio app.