Published: June 18, 2013
Monday's lineup for the Rockies included three players called up from Colorado Springs this season.
So did Sunday's lineup.
On Saturday, Tyler Chatwood earned the victory as Tyler Colvin, Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu combined for seven hits and four RBIs. Each spent time with the Sky Sox this season.
This has been an usually active season for Colorado in terms of minor league call-ups, particularly among position players. And as much as the Colorado Springs send-ups have helped the Rockies, the value of those transactions has helped the team here as well.
"Obviously it's good to see guys go up," Sky Sox catcher Matt McBride said. "We're all close here, so we're happy for them. It also creates more opportunities for guys down here to play."
The perfect example of that was chain reaction created when Arenado was promoted. Ryan Wheeler, a third baseman by trade, was able to slide from first base and Ben Paulsen then found regular time at first. Both have utilized their opportunities to showcase their abilities, with Paulsen driving in 38 runs through Sunday and Wheeler 36.
The less obvious benefit is the morale boost that seeing good work rewarded provides. Triple-A can be a complicated level, as players are achingly close to the magnified money and spotlight that the major leagues provide. If a clubhouse is full of guys worthy of a call but not getting one, a dejected mindset can pollute the system.
Former Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart illustrated this last week, when he earned a suspension from the Cubs after taking his frustrations of being left in Triple A out on Twitter.
Stewart's situation is different than most Sky Sox players in that his $2 million this season is guaranteed and his performance didn't justify another shot in the majors.
Because of injuries and performances both at the major and minor-league levels, the Rockies have made the call to Colorado Springs 15 times already this season. Not all of those players have stuck, as Wheeler and Charlie Blackmon, for example, have been up and back down; but there have been enough promotions that players have to see that the opportunity will be extended to those who have earned it.
Of course, that still doesn't make it easier for those waiting that first call.
"It's not ever easier to take as a competitor," said outfielder Corey Dickerson, a Pacific Coast League MVP candidate in his first season with the Sky Sox. "If you feel like you can compete at that level you want to be there. You want to play against the best guys. You have to be self-motivated and you have to understand the politics of the game and understand they're trying to do what's best for you even if you think it should be your time."