There are a few players that even the most passive, bandwagon Colorado Rockies fan can name. Ryan “Spilly” Spilborghs is one of them. Known as a funny guy and a good teammate, Spilborghs’ on-field production waned last year as the season wore on, and he saw his place on the team’s outfield depth-chart fall faster than a drunk bar-hopper in LoDo.
The Denver Post’s Troy Renck writes personal reasons are to blame for last year’s slump. Getting married, losing his mother, and having a baby were three events that changed Spilly’s life last season, as well as his performance behind the plate.
Falling to fourth on the outfield depth-chart almost led to him being shipped out of town, but his intangibles on the field and in the clubhouse kept him in Denver, and he came up with some special moments. Perhaps the biggest was his 14th-inning walkoff grand slam against the San Francisco Giants on August 24, 2009, one of the highlights of the year.
This year, Spilly says he’s taking a new approach and wants to be a more reliable contributor behind the plate, especially against left-handed pitchers. And he isn’t the only one bringing his best to spring training.
Young pitcher Jhoulys Chacin has showed loads of promise but has had trouble carrying it into regular-season games. He tells MLB.com his aim is to be on the opening-day roster, a goal that may not be attainable.
The team has five proven starters and a solid bullpen, so Chacin could see spot duty from the bullpen if there’s an injury, but nothing’s guaranteed at this point. He’s shown a lot of potential, going 18-3 over two minor-league levels last year, and is one of several pitching prospects that could contribute to making afternoons at Coors Field very enjoyable.