Rayan Gonzalez Controls His Cutter

DENVER—Reliever Rayan Gonzalez has always had a daunting cutter, but its lack of consistency prevented the righthander from turning it into a reliable weapon.

“At times it was too big, at times it was real short and quick,” pitching coordinator Doug Linton said. “And you never knew from game to game or pitch to pitch when he was throwing this pitch where it was going to end up, just because he didn’t know what it was going to do.”

That all changed last season at Double-A Hartford and then in the Arizona Fall League, resulting in Gonzalez, 26, being added to the 40-man roster for the first time along with righthanders Yency Almonte, Shane Carle and Zach Jemiola and lefthander Sam Moll.

Gonzalez, a 2012 21st-round pick from Bethune-Cookman, allowed more hits than innings pitched every season until 2016 when he yielded 44 hits, just two homers, in 52 innings at Hartford and went 2-2, 3.12 in 46 games. In the AFL, Gonzalez gave up seven hits in 11.1 innings and went 0-0, 2.31 with two walks and 12 strikeouts.

Gonzalez yields few hits off the barrel. Jam shots, balls off the end of the bat and infield hits are more typical, given Gonzalez’s more dependable cutter and improved curveball.

“That cutter now is controlled,” farm director Zach Wilson said. “There are times when he can actually pinpoint it pretty good. But even when he doesn’t, it’s got so much movement that when it stays in the strike zone, there are times when it’s unhittable.”

Gonzalez’s cutter sits in the 93-94 mph range, touching 97-98, and in the AFL became particularly adept at throwing his curveball for a strike or burying it.

“I’m proud of the kid the way he’s worked,” Wilson said. “I’m proud of our staff the way they’ve worked. And together, they’ve turned him in to truly what he is now. And I think there’s even still more in there when he gets to the big league level.”


Second baseman Josh Rutledge’s return to the Rockies was brief. The Red Sox, for whom he played the past two seasons, took Rutledge in the Rule 5 draft two weeks after he signed a minor league contract with the Rockies.

The Rockies non-tendered reliever Matt Carasiti, 25, and first baseman/outfielder Stephen Cardullo, 29. Both made their major league debuts last season.

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