SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Less than a year ago, Ashton Goudeau was a free agent, eligible to sign with any big league organization. In November, he inked a Minor League deal with his third franchise, the Rockies, at 26 years old.
Now 27, Goudeau has been one of the most devastating pitchers for opponents to face in the Arizona Fall League.
Following his two-inning stint during Salt River’s 2-1, 10-inning win Sunday, Goudeau has thrown 13 innings in the AFL and has allowed no runs on four hits, walked none and struck out 18.
During the 2019 regular season, Goudeau made 16 starts with Double-A Hartford. He was electric there, compiling 91 strikeouts across 78 1/3 innings of work and posting a 2.07 ERA. He's taken a considerable leap forward during his time in Arizona. But from his perspective, not much has changed concerning his stuff.
“Honestly, it’s the same as the [regular] season,” Goudeau said. “I’m just trying to stay consistent with the fastball-curveball mix, and stay consistent with the changeup too, but it’s mostly just continue to focus on the little things that I worked on with Hartford.”
His spotless ERA is a far cry from a pitcher who had a 5.37 ERA across 21 appearances (including seven starts) in Double-A with Kansas City in 2017. Chosen in the 27th round of the 2012 Draft by the Royals out of Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, Mo., Goudeau has taken a path to participating alongside some of the top prospects in the game that has been far from an unimpeded upward trajectory.
The 6-foot-6 righty arrived in Arizona knowing that he would have the chance to pitch, albeit not in the capacity that he grew accustomed to while with Hartford. As both he and Sunday’s starter, Ryan Castellani, suffered injuries toward the conclusion of the '19 season, the Rockies eyed Goudeau as a long reliever who would work multiple innings.
While Goudeau conceded that looking long-term he would love to be a vital cog in a starting rotation, he seemed happy just to be on the mound racking up outs.
“It’s all the same to me,” Goudeau said of pitching in relief. “You know, you’re just trying to get outs when coach gives you the ball and you’re doing your best out there.”
Goudeau got the ball Sunday following Castellani’s four-inning start. A Phoenix native, Castellani allowed two hits and walked three while allowing an unearned run, in addition to striking out four against Surprise. Through five starts in the AFL, the righty, who scuffled during his 10 starts with Triple-A Albuquerque, has posted a 2.16 ERA.
After six nearly impressive frames from members of the Rockies’ organization, the Rafters locked down the win with two more from Alexander Guillen. A 23-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Guillen has been similarly stingy during his time with Salt River, having allowed just one run across 10 frames while racking up 13 strikeouts.
Ultimately, for a franchise that is perpetually on the lookout for talented arms, the Rockies’ triumvirate that pitched Sunday at the club’s Spring Training facility looked impressive. No matter if they were a Minor League free agent (Goudeau), a second-round Draft pick (Castellani) or an international free agent (Guillen), Colorado has seen during the fall that they have arms in the pipeline capable of amassing outs in bunches.