Michael Cuddyer has been solid for the Colorado Rockies this season. His stat line from the plate and his dependable glove in the field is a major reason for the Rockies early success. In just 29 games, the former Minnesota Twin has already hit half the number of homeruns he did all season one year ago. Cuddyer sits just behind Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki with 24 RBIs and a .333 batting average. He is top ten in all major National League batting statistics. It’s safe to say this Rockies slugger is having a career year.
However, it is the contributions that do not show up in a stat line that make Cuddyer such an asset to the Rockies. If hustle points were a stat, chances are he’d lead the NL in that category. He is Colorado’s “Mr. Hustle.”
In the movie “Any Given Sunday” actor Al Pacino talks about the importance of inches in sports. “The inches we need are everywhere around us,” Pacino explains “They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. When we add up all those inches that’s the difference between winning and losing.”
Cuddyer emulates the true definition of Pacino’s infamous speech. The box score and media headlines told of rookie Nolan Arenado’s grand slam in a recent victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. What wasn’t reported or jotted down in any formal stat category was Cuddyer legging out a single that could have been the third out of the inning for Colorado. Minus Cuddyer’s hustle, Arenado has one less HR and four less RBIs. If the grand slam isn’t hit, the game remains competitive and the outcome could have been different. This is just one of countless examples.
There are many components to the story that is the Rockies early successes. Tulo is once again putting up MVP type statistics, Carlos Gonzalez is his usual consistent stat line and Dexter Fowler leads Rockies sluggers with eight dingers. The bullpen has been solid, and a rookie third baseman has all of the Rocky Mountain country buzzing.
However, Cuddyer could just be the best story line of the season. Baseball has always been a game about team play and sacrifice. Teammates laying down bunts or hitting deep flies knowing it won’t help their individual stats doing so instead for the welfare of the team. Cuddyer exemplifies this aspect of baseball, and he is a huge reason the Rockies are playing on a Mile High in Colorado.