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Notes: Goudeau clicking; Hoffman's consistency

@harding_at_mlb
February 23, 2020

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The end of the sentence, the part after the compliment, used to frustrate Rockies righty prospect Ashton Goudeau -- even more than the person saying it. “I would have some player development guys or the assistant GM say, ‘You have big league stuff -- it’s just not

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The end of the sentence, the part after the compliment, used to frustrate Rockies righty prospect Ashton Goudeau -- even more than the person saying it.

“I would have some player development guys or the assistant GM say, ‘You have big league stuff -- it’s just not clicking,'” Goudeau recalled.

After up-and-down work with the Royals (2012-17) and Mariners (2018) organizations, Goudeau began putting it together with the Rockies at Double-A Hartford. He posted a 2.07 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings over 16 starts last season, and kept it going in the Arizona Fall League, where he allowed no runs, no walks, four hits and 18 strikeouts in 13 innings.

He kept clicking in a two-inning stint during Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium in the Rockies’ first Spring Training game. Goudeau, 27, looked like a contemporary prototype -- 6-foot-6 with a firm fastball that's worked up and in, and a heavy curve.

Goudeau fanned two in his first inning in the fourth, then gave up a run the next frame after a Matt Thaiss triple -- one that a center fielder Garrett Hampson nearly nabbed -- and a Michael Hermosillo single.

Last year’s production earned Goudeau a spot on the Rockies’ 40-man roster. While his Triple-A experience is 20 forgettable games (1-5, 8.20 ERA) mostly in relief with the Mariners at Tacoma, Goudeau is trying to make himself part of the Rockies’ Major League depth picture, at least.

At Hartford, then-pitching coach and now Rockies Minor League co-pitching coordinator Steve Merriman and player development director Zach Wilson saw what the other clubs did. But they asked him to eliminate his slider and live on his two best pitches, plus his changeup.

“[Merriman] told me [what] my three pitches were if I got rid of that slider, and just simplify,” said Goudeau, who found the data presented to him by the Rockies eye opening. “I was able to grab on to that.”

Wilson said, “It all works for him because you just don’t know what pitch is going to come out of that same slot, but it’s going to come downhill. That works well for him, but what works well for him might not work well for another guy.”

Goudeau said he will learn from the Thaiss triple, which came off a changeup that may have been employed sooner than it should have. But overall it was a solid experience for Goudeau, a 27th-round pick in the 2012 Draft out of Maple Woods Community College who is in his first Major League camp.

“There’s a level of comfort – I trust our coaches and our staff, and that’s the big thing,” Goudeau said. “They make it fun to learn.”

Manager Bud Black said, “I like the way he threw the ball -- good command of the fastball, both sides of the plate and a good hook.”

Gaining comfort

Righty starter Jeff Hoffman walked the first hitter he faced and gave up a run in each of the two innings he pitched in his start against the Angels. But he felt good about his shortened arm action while striking out three with three hits and one walk.

“My whole body felt good, felt I was consistent with my delivery and my lineup,” said Hoffman, who is competing for a rotation spot and out of Minor League options. “That was definitely something good to feel at game speed with another team over there. That’s the foundation.”

Black said Hoffman is guided by simple principles: “Jeff wanted to become more consistent with all his pitches, and the strike-throwing component of all his pitches.”

Righty Ryan Castellani (Colorado's No. 15 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) struck out two and showed good secondary pitch action, but fastball wildness led to two runs -- one earned -- on one hit and three walks.

Non-roster impressions

Catcher Elias Díaz, trying to earn action alongside Tony Wolters, doubled to center against Mike Mayers in his first Rockies at-bat. … Infielder Eric Stamets, who saw action with the Indians last year, did him one better with a three-run homer. … Before the homer, Chris Owings flashed his key trait, speed, by going first-to-third on a Colton Welker single through the infield -- a play on which many players would not have run.

Bullpen race

The Rockies’ gradual buildup of relievers in recent years, especially in the last 12 months, should produce competition. Lefty James Pazos walked one and struck out one in an inning, and righty Tyler Kinley pitched a clean frame. Non-roster righty Joe Harvey gave up two solo homers in the seventh.

Up next

Righties Chi Chi González and Peter Lambert, who are competing for the rotation like Hoffman, will be the first two to pitch against the Indians at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Monday at 1:10 p.m. MT.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.