GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. As the majority of this year's GJ Rockies club walked onto Suplizio Field Tuesday, it was pretty clear that this fresh batch of young talent- made up mostly of Dominican League players- is happy to be here and thrilled for the season to begin.
"Extremely excited," said pitcher Javier Palacios through an interpreter, "It's a step in his (my) career, moving up and he's (I've) heard great things about the community here from the players that have played here, so he's (I'm) looking forward to playing here for the whole summer."
It's almost an entirely new roster.
In 2013, the Rockies had five guys return from the year before. In 2014, there's just three: Terry McClure, Dom Nunez. and Wesley Jones, who will be looked to for help guiding the squad.
"Help them out on field and off-field because off-field is just as important," McClure said. "Finding places to eat, with host families and everything, make sure everything's good with that and on the field so we're going to kind of be leading the team this year."
"They're going to play their game and hopefully you can just lead them and show them the right direction and just get wins, is really what it's all about," said Nunez.
Maybe the most important constant for a young developing team is the coaching staff.
Pitching coach Ryan Kibler and hitting coach Lee Stevens join Anthony Sanders, who returns for his second year as the team's skipper.
"Just a new wave of guys," Sanders said. "Guys have to learn the system the Rockies way and learn to be a professional out here and that's our job."
While we'll miss some great swings from guys like Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia, the new team's identity might be even more exciting.
"Athletically we're a little further than we were last year, we have a lot of guys who can run, a lot of guys who can play centerfield in the outfield, we have like eight outfielders who can play all three positions. There's going to be a lot of moving guys around and a lot of versatility."
"This team's more finesse so i expect a lot of stolen bases, a lot of diving plays, highlight plays, and a lot of strikes thrown from our pitchers," McClure added.
A handful of players selected in the first-year player over the weekend will join the Rox along the way, completing a roster of energetic youth that's sure to be a lot of fun to watch.