Buoyed by Rockies first baseman Todd Helton's
three-game rehab assignment, Casper has begun to turn its luck around after a somewhat sluggish first half.
Along with Helton's .500 average and five RBIs in 10 at-bats, the team has enjoyed some stellar performances by everyday players such as outfielder Corey Dickerson and third baseman Brett Tanos.
Dickerson has made quite the transition from Meridian Community College in his native Mississippi, hitting .336 with seven homers and a .589 slugging percentage in his first pro season. The 21-year-old said when he was sent to Casper, he expected his experience to be a little different in terms of travel but that he loves the city and the team.
"It's pretty rough on you when the closest team is six hours away," he said, "but overall this has been very fun."
Drafted in the eighth round this year by the Rockies, Dickerson said he feels well prepared for the Pioneer League after playing in junior college, as opposed to coming out of high school.
"I have a lot more confidence since my two years in JC," Dickerson said. "Now I can come out here and feel like I have something to prove."
Tanos, a 10th-round pick out of Santa Ana JC and a California native, said playing in Casper has been an unbelievable experience.
"We are a close-knit group," he said. "I honestly didn't expect it to be this much fun."
Tanos, who is hitting .312 this season, said the coaching staff in Casper has really done a good job of improving his approach at the plate.
"Hitting coach John Stone has been really good with me," he said. "He has done a great job of making sure I let the game come to me, instead of trying to do too much."
On being able to play with future Hall of Fame candidate Todd Helton, both players were ecstatic about the experience, saying Helton was a "pro's pro" and "really down to earth."
"He was awesome," said Tanos. "None of us knew what to expect, but he really did set the tone for us for the second half. All he wanted to do was win, even playing down in Rookie ball. That is exactly what you want to see a guy do."
Dickerson said it was great to be able to pick the brain of someone with Helton's resume.
"I got a chance to ask him simple questions -- stuff like his two-strike approach and other little hitting tips," Dickerson said. "He was really easy to talk to."
Holmberg faces old friends: After being traded along with Dan Hudson from the White Sox to the D-backs organization as part of the Edwin Jackson deal, David Holmberg started for Missoula on Wednesday against Great Falls less than a week after earning Player of the Week honors with the Voyagers.
Eaton a bright spot: Though his team may not be hot right now, Missoula outfielder Adam Eaton is on fire, hitting .500 over the last 10 games and .397 overall. Last week's Player of the Week has a .596 slugging percentage and an OPS of 1.405.