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Tracking Dust Devils to reach major leagues

Just on a whim, I counted up all the former Dust Devils (or all that I could remember or find) that have reached the major leagues at some point.

See how many you can remember:

2001 (6): Justin Hampson, a pitcher who started 13 games for Tri-City — including the first in Dust Devils history — he went 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA. He’s now a middle-reliever for the San Diego Padres. 2) Eduardo Villacis, a reliever who went 4-1 with a 4.26 ERA with Dust Devils. Pitched in one game with Kansas City Royals in 2004, giving up 5 earned runs on six hits, taking the loss. He’s now the pitching coach for the Rockies’ rookie affiliate at Casper. 3) Alvin Colina, who hit 5 homers and hit .213 with Tri-City before starting one game for 2006 Rockies, going 1-for-5 with an RBI. 4) Vernand Morency, outfielder hit .230 with 4 HRs, 30 runs, 27 RBIs for Dusties, but never reached the bigs as a baseball player. However, the former Oklahoma state running back is now playing pro football for the Green Bay Packers. 5) Jermaine Van Buren, was 1-0 with 7.20 ERA in one start at Tri-City. Played with 2005 Chicago Cubs and 2006 Boston Red Sox for combined 1-2, 9.00 ERA. 6) Mark Thompson, seven-year big-league vet was 1-1 with 1.29 ERA in four games with 2001 Dust Devils in rehab stay.

2002 (6): 1) Jeff Salazar, an outfielder who hit .235 with 4 homers, 21 RBIs and 38 runs in 72 games. He’s now with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 2) Jeff Francis, first-round pick pitched 10 2/3 innings in three starts for Tri-City without allowing a run. He’s now the No. 1 starter in the Rockies’ rotation. 3) Ryan Spilborghs, outfielder hit .230 with 4 HRs, 34 runs, 34 RBIs with Dusties. Now backs up all three outfield positions with Rockies. 4) Darren Clarke, went 4-3 with 6.98 ERA in nine starts for TC. Also rehabbed with 2005 Dust Devils. Made two relief appearances for 2007 Rockies. 5) Chin-Hui Tsao, started 3 games for Dusties without allowing a run in 11 innings. Split time between majors and minors with Rockies in 2003-06 and with Dodgers in 2007. 6) Sean Barker, hit .223 with 21 runs in 45 games. Appeared in two games for 2007 Rockies, getting hit by a pitch in one of two at bats.

2003 (1): Manny Corpas, went 5-6 with 5.79 ERA in 15 starts for Tri-City. Became closer at mid-season for 2007 Rockies, helping lead team to its first-ever National League pennant with 19 saves. Now in middle relief.

2004 (3): 1) Joe Koshansky, outfielder led Dust Devils with 12 HRs, 43 RBIs. Played in 17 games for 2007 Rockies, where only hit in 12 AB was 2-run double. 2) Seth Smith, outfielder played just nine games with TC, but scored six runs with 5 RBIs. Reached majors in 2007-08 with Rockies, hitting .262 in 50 AB. 3) Juan Morillo, went 3-2 with 2.98 ERA in 14 starts for Dusties. Got one start for 2006 Rockies, allowing seven runs on eight hits in four innings. Made four relief appearances in 2007.

2005 (1): 1) Aaron Cook, started two games (7.0 IP, 0.00 ERA) in rehab assignment with Tri-City. Remains the No. 2 starter in Rockies rotation.

That’s it so far. But a total of 17 players total with more to come over the next few seasons.

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