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Before they were postseason bound: Rockies

September 26, 2017

The Rockies are in the postseason for the first time since 2009. Here's everything you need to know about the players heading into Rocktober.• Dress for October: Shop for postseason gearTyler Anderson, LHP Born: Las Vegas DOB: 12/30/1989 HS: Valley High School (Nev.) College: University of Oregon Minors: Tri-City (A-),

The Rockies are in the postseason for the first time since 2009. Here's everything you need to know about the players heading into Rocktober.
Dress for October: Shop for postseason gear
Tyler Anderson, LHP
Born: Las Vegas
DOB: 12/30/1989
HS: Valley High School (Nev.)
College: University of Oregon
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA)
• Anderson's nickname is "Ricky F," which was on his Players Weekend jersey earlier this season. He got the nickname because of a baserunning blunder that resulted in him being picked off by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras at first base on Aug. 19, 2016. It stands for "Rickey Fail," as in, Anderson attempting to be like all-time stolen base king Rickey Henderson, but failing to do so.
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Nolan Arenado, 3B
Born: Newport Beach, Calif.
DOB: 4/16/1991
HS: El Toro High School (Calif.)
Minors: Casper (R), Asheville (A), AZFL Salt River (Fall League), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• In 2013, Arenado became the 10th rookie to ever win a Gold Glove. In 2016, Arenado became the first third baseman to ever begin his career with four consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
Chad Bettis, RHP
Born: Lubbock, Texas
DOB: 4/26/1989
HS: Monterey High School (Texas)
College: Texas Tech University
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Bettis overcame a battle with testicular cancer after first being diagnosed in November 2016, and then discovering the cancer had recurred in March of this year. His return was an inspiration for many, particularly those who have been directly or indirectly impacted by cancer. In his first start of 2017, he tossed seven scoreless innings against the Braves on Aug. 14, exiting to a standing ovation at Coors Field.
Charlie Blackmon, CF
Born: Dallas, Texas
DOB: 7/1/1986
HS: North Gwinnett High School (Ga.)
College: Georgia Institute of Technology, Young Harris College (Ga.)
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Modesto (A+), AZFL Scottsdale (Fall League), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Blackmon was actually a pitcher at Georgia Tech, but after elbow tendinitis caused his velocity to decline, he was unable to regain his prior effectiveness. When he joined a summer league team coached by former MLB outfielder Rusty Greer, he told Greer he was a two-way player. Eventually, Greer saw Blackmon's speed, in addition to his ability to hit, and turned him into an outfielder.
Tyler Chatwood, RHP
Born: Redlands, Calif.
DOB: 12/16/1989
HS: Redlands East Valley High School (Calif.)
Minors: Cedar Rapids (A), Rancho Cucamonga (A+), Arkansas (AA), Salt Lake (AAA)
• Chatwood's road ERA in 2016 was 1.69, best among all MLB starters with a minimum of 75 innings pitched on the road. In 14 starts at Coors Field, however, his ERA last season was 6.12.
Ian Desmond, 1B/SS/OF
Born: Sarasota, Fla.
DOB: 9/20/1985
HS: Sarasota High School (Fla.)
Minors: Gulf Coast League Expos (R), Vermont (A-), Savannah (A), Potomac (A+), Waikiki (Winter Rookie League), Harrisburg (AA), AZFL Peoria Saguaros (Fall League), Syracuse (AAA)
• Desmond is the only active Major League player to have been drafted by the Montreal Expos before the franchise relocated to Washington and became the Nationals in 2005. Desmond was Montreal's third-round selection (84th overall) in the '04 Draft.
Mike Dunn, LHP
Born: Farmington, N.M.
DOB: 5/23/1985
HS: Cimarron-Memorial High School (Nev.)
College: College of Southern Nevada
Minors: Staten Island (A-), Charleston (A), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA), Gwinnett (AAA)
• The Yankees actually drafted Dunn as an outfielder, but then converted him to a pitcher. "I knew that I could pitch, so it was something I could fall back on if hitting didn't work out," Dunn told the New York Daily News when he was called up to the Majors in 2009. "I just wanted to have a jersey on my back, and pitching was how I was going to keep it."
Kyle Freeland, LHP
Born: Denver, Colo.
DOB: 5/14/1993
HS: Thomas Jefferson High School (Colo.)
College: University of Evansville (Ind.)
Minors: Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Hartford (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• When he made his Major League debut by starting the Rockies' home opener against the Dodgers on April 7, Freeland became the sixth Colorado-born player to play for the club. He grew up a Rockies fan, and some of his favorite players include Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga, Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla, who is currently a special assistant to Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich.
Carlos Gonzalez, RF
Born: Maracaibo, Venezuela
DOB: 10/17/1985
HS: Liceo Udon Perez (Venezuela)
Minors: Missoula (R), Yakima (A-), South Bend (A), Lancaster (A+), Tennessee (AA), Mobile (AA), Tucson (AAA), Sacramento (AAA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Gonzalez first raised eyebrows as a teenager playing baseball in his native Venezuela, when he hit a tape-measure home run off future Mariners star and 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. Gonzalez was originally signed by the D-backs in 2002, and was traded to the A's in a 2007 package for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson.
Jon Gray, RHP
Born: Shawnee, Okla.
DOB: 11/5/1991
HS: Chandler High School (Okla.)
College: University of Oklahoma
Minors: Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Gray regularly touches 98 mph with his fastball, but he has also shown power at the plate: On July 5 against the Reds at Coors Field, Gray launched a 467-foot home run into the right-center-field bullpen, which to that point had been the longest home run hit by a Rockie in 2017. Four days later, Blackmon belted a 477-foot shot to right field against the White Sox at Coors. Blackmon later said he wanted to be sure a pitcher didn't hold the record for longest Rockies homer of the season.
Ryan Hanigan, C
Born: Washington, D.C.
DOB: 8/16/1980
HS: Andover High School (Mass.)
College: Rollins College (Fla.)
Minors: Dayton (A), Potomac (A+), AZFL Mesa (Fall League), Chattanooga (AA), Louisville (AAA)
• Hanigan has caught two no-hitters in his career, both while a backstop for the Reds, and both thrown by right-hander Homer Bailey. The first came on Sept. 28, 2012, when Bailey no-hit the Pirates, and the other on July 2, 2013, when he no-hit the Giants.
Jeff Hoffman, RHP
Born: Latham, N.Y.
DOB: 1/8/1993
HS: Shaker High School (N.Y.)
College: East Carolina University (N.C.)
Minors: Dunedin (A+), New Britain (AA), New Hampshire (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Hoffman is one of six current Major League pitchers to come out of East Carolina University: the A's Jharel Cotton, the Twins' Chris Heston, the Orioles' Mike Wright, and the Indians' Shawn Armstrong are the others.
Greg Holland, RHP
Born: Marion, N.C.
DOB: 11/20/1985
HS: McDowell High School (N.C.)
College: Western Carolina University (N.C.)
Minors: Idaho Falls (R), Wilmington (A+) Northwest Arkansas (AA), Omaha (AAA)
• Holland holds the Royals franchise record with 47 saves in 2013. In 2014, he tied a Major League record with seven postseason saves as he helped Kansas City reach the World Series for the first time in 29 years. He also tied a Major League record by recording a save in all four games of the AL Championship Series against the Orioles that October.
DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Born: Visalia, Calif.
DOB: 7/13/1988
HS: Brother Rice High School (Mich.)
College: Louisiana State University
Minors: ARIZ Cubs (R), Peoria (A), Daytona (A+), AZFL Mesa (Fall League), Tennessee (AA), Iowa (AAA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• LeMahieu won the 2016 NL batting title by hitting .348, which was the highest batting average in a single season by a player whose primary position is second base since Rod Carew hit .359 in 1975.
Jonathan Lucroy, C
Born: Eustis, Fla.
DOB: 6/13/1986
HS: Umatilla High School (Fla.)
College: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Minors: Helena (R), North Shore (Winter Rookie League), West Virginia (A), Brevard County (A+), Huntsville (AA), AZFL Peoria Javelinas (Fall League), Nashville (AAA)
• No catcher in baseball history dating back to 1901 has ever had more doubles in a single season than Lucroy's 46 in 2014 while he was with the Brewers. The previous record for doubles while playing catcher was 45, by Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez in 1996.
German Marquez, RHP
Born: San Feliz, Venezuela
DOB: 2/22/1995
Minors: Bowling Green (A), Charlotte (A+), Hartford (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Twice this season, Marquez has taken a no-hitter into the sixth inning or later, first doing so against the Cubs at Coors Field on May 10, when it was broken up by a Kristopher Bryant double to lead off the seventh. The second occasion was at Washington on July 29, when the Nationals' Matt Wieters lined a single to left with one out in the sixth.
Jake McGee, LHP
Born: San Jose, Calif.
DOB: 8/16/1986
HS: Reed High School (Nev.)
Minors: Hudson Valley (A-), Southwest Michigan (A), Charlotte (A+), Vero Beach (A+), Montgomery (AA), Durham (AAA)
• In McGee's Major League debut for the Rays on Sept.14, 2010, his first career strikeout was of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
Pat Neshek, RHP
Born: Madison, Wis.
DOB: 9/4/1980
HS: Park Center High School (Minn.)
College: Butler University (Ind.)
Minors: Fort Myers (A+), Quad Cities (A), New Britain (AA), Rochester (AAA)
• Neshek is an avid memorabilia collector, including a very large collection of baseball cards. He has said he receives 75-100 letters a week with requests for cards to be autographed, and does his best to autograph and return each one. Oftentimes, in exchange for his autograph, fans will send him autographed cards that they have, as he continues his quest to collect as many as possible. Neshek also has other unique pieces of history, including a signature of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Scott Oberg, RHP
Born: Tewksbury, Mass.
DOB: 3/13/1990
HS: Tewksbury Memorial High School (Mass.)
College: University of Connecticut
Minors: Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Oberg is one of four active Major League players out of UConn; the others are the Astros' George Springer, the D-backs' Nick Ahmed and Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes.
Adam Ottavino, RHP
Born: New York, N.Y.
DOB: 11/22/1985
HS: Berkeley Carroll High School (N.Y.)
College: Northeastern University (Mass.)
Minors: State College (A-), Quad Cities (A), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA)
• Ottavino has studied sabermetrics to change his results on the mound, including implementing a high fastball strategy he gleaned from a Fangraphs article in 2014 that detailed other hurlers, including Sean Doolittle, Lance Lynn and Jordan Zimmermann. The result was a lowered ERA, from 4.12 in the first half of that season, to 2.53 in the second half.
Gerardo Parra, OF
Born: Santa Barbara, Venezuela
DOB: 5/6/1987
HS: Liceo Francisco Pulgar (Venezuela)
Minors: Missoula (R), South Bend (A), Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA), Reno (AAA)
• On May 13, 2009, Parra became the 100th player in MLB history to homer in his first career at-bat, doing so for the D-backs against the Reds in Arizona. He homered off right-hander Johnny Cueto.
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Born: Pikeville, Ky.
DOB: 8/3/1983
HS: First Colonial High School (Va.)
College: University of Virginia
Minors: Yakima (A-), South Bend (A), Lancaster (A+), AZFL Scottsdale (Fall League), Tennessee (AA)
• Reynolds was an AAU teammate of Melvin Upton Jr., and later played on a travel showcase team with Melvin's brother Justin, David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman. Reynolds and Zimmerman would later be teammates at the University of Virginia.
Chris Rusin, LHP
Born: Detroit, Mich.
DOB: 10/22/1986
HS: Divine Child High School (Mich.)
College: University of Kentucky
Minors: Boise (A-), Daytona (A+), Tennessee (AA), Iowa (AAA)
• Rusin was on the mound on Aug. 7, 2016, when Ichiro Suzuki collected his 3,000th hit, a triple off the right-field wall at Coors Field on a 2-0 slider.
Antonio Senzatela, RHP
Born: Valencia, Venezuela
DOB: 1/21/1995
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Hartford (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• In his first month in the big leagues, Senzatela was named the NL Rookie of the Month after posting a 2.81 ERA over his first five Major League starts.
Trevor Story, SS
Born: Irving, Texas
DOB: 11/15/1992
HS: Irving High School (Texas)
Minors: Casper (R), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), New Britain (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• In the first six games of the 2016 season (also the first six games of his career), Story hit seven home runs, setting an MLB record for most homers through a team's first six games. The previous mark of six was held by three players: Walker (for the Rockies in 1997), Mike Schmidt (1976) and Willie Mays (1964).
Raimel Tapia, RF
Born: San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
DOB: 2/4/1994
Minors: Grand Junction (R), Asheville (A), AZFL Salt River (Fall League), Modesto (A+), Hartford (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Tapia regularly talks to his bat when he's at the plate. "I've been doing it since I was 13 or 14, when I was in Little League," he said in June. "Whatever it was, metal bat, wood bat, broomstick, whatever I had in my hand."
Pat Valaika, INF/OF
Born: Valencia, Calif.
DOB: 9/9/1992
HS: William S. Hart High School (Calif.)
College: UCLA
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), New Britain (AA), AZFL Salt River (Fall League), Hartford (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Valaika was one of nine Major League players to homer on both Mother's Day and Father's Day in 2017 (Arenado was one of the others to do so). Valaika hit two homers on Mother's Day and one on Father's Day -- he didn't even start in the Father's Day contest against the Giants at Coors Field, but hit a pinch-hit homer to left.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.