Rockies' Blair Calvo Thrives On Adrenaline
Righthander Blair Calvo went to the Arizona Fall League after a season at Double-A Hartford that was highly successful and borderline tragic.
The 26-year-old reliever recorded a 3.09 ERA in 29 appearances while allowing two home runs in 35 innings and averaging 12.1 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings.
But in a May 31 outing in Hartford, Calvo “could feel his heart pumping out of his skin,” according to assistant farm director Jesse Stender, and said something wasn’t right.
As a heavy coffee drinker, Calvo was always highly caffeinated. Hartford trainer Kelsey Branstetter acted quickly and got Calvo to an emergency room.
When he was cleared to pitch in games, Calvo made two August outings in the Arizona Complex League before returning to Hartford on Aug. 6. Calvo was told how serious his heart issue was and how it was imperative for him to drop caffeine.
“And a big part in being able to explain that to him,” Stender said, “was to tell him the enormity of the situation.”
The Rockies drafted Calvo in the 23rd round in 2019 out of Division II Flagler in Florida and signed him for $3,000.
He throws a 92-98 mph fastball that averages 94, a slider that averages 88 mph and ranged from 85-90 and an 86-89 mph splitter. His slider and split flash plus, and his fastball is explosive.
After posting a 4.54 ERA in 71.1 innings at Low-A Fresno in 2021, Calvo breezed through spring training, and the Rockies decided to catch him up with his age group. They skipped him over High-A Spokane and sent him to Hartford.
Calvo met that challenge.
“His fastball’s got late action to it, and he’s got a slider to wipe you out when he’s right,” Rockies farm director Chris Forbes said. “It’s not like you would teach a delivery like that. It’s not as smooth as you’d like. He can get off line.”
Calvo's delivery is herky-jerky, aggressive and uptempo. But he is able to get his arm in the proper position to have a consistent release point.
— Hunter Goodman, 23, began playing both corner outfield positions at instructional league, as the Rockies seek more opportunities to get his power bat in the lineup. Goodman this season hit a combined .294/.354/.572 with 36 home runs and 106 RBIs at Low-A Fresno, High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford. The Rockies introduced Goodman, drafted as a catcher out of Memphis in the fourth round in 2021, to first base in spring training this year. He made 41 starts at catcher and 78 at first base this year.
— Outfielder Brenton Doyle, 24, finished the season at Triple-A Albuquerque where he hit .389/.463/.778 in nine games with three homers, nine RBIs and a 31.7% strikeout rate. He moved up from Hartford where he hit .246/.287/.450 n 123 games with a franchise-record tying 23 home runs, 68 RBIs and a strikeout rate of 31.2%.
— Righthander Case Williams, 20, went a combined 11-5, 4.64 for Low-A Fresno, High-A Spokane and Double-A Hartford with 46 walks and 135 strikeouts in 128 innings. In his one start for Hartford, Williams gave up six hits and four runs in six innings and lost 6-0 at Binghamton but struck out 12 with one walk.