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Noel Cuevas Earns Long-Awaited Callup

In the first month of his ninth professional season, outfielder Noel Cuevas finally reached the majors after 766 games and 2,825 at-bats in the minors.

That slog began with the Dodgers, who drafted Cuevas in the 21st round in 2010 out of junior college in Puerto Rico. They traded him to the Rockies in December 2014 for reliever Juan Nicasio.

In his first two seasons in the Rockies organization, mostly spent at Double-A, Cuevas totaled seven home runs. Last year at Triple-A Albuquerque, his output included 17 doubles, 12 triples and 15 homers as he hit .312/.353/.487 in 128 games.

Cuevas credits Darin Everson, the hitting coach last year at Albuquerque, with getting him to use his lower half effectively and connect it to his upper half.

"If the bottom is working correctly, you have a window of being wrong on the top and still being successful,” said Cuevas, 26. "But when you are wrong in the bottom, it doesn’t matter what you do on the top. Your chance of being successful is going to be minimal.”

Cuevas said Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill greatly boosted his confidence last year by putting him in the cleanup spot and leaving him there.

"I’m going to be forever thankful,” Cuevas said, "because he really changed the way that I thought about myself as a player.”

The 26-year-old Cuevas, who is from Camuy, Puerto Rico, played winter ball in Mexico before returning to his homeland, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma. He began this season hitting .333/.419/.571 in 16 games at Albuquerque with two homers before the Rockies called him up. He went 9-for-27 (.333) in his first 11 games in the majors.

"He’s been through a lot in his development path,” farm director Zach Wilson said. "Obviously, he’s been through a lot personally with what’s going on in Puerto Rico. I think all those things have just given him perspective. And perspective in this game is such a great tool to be able to utilize. He’s used it, and it’s really helped him become a better player.”

Ian Happ Tomdipace

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