The 2017 season has been an exhilarating one for the Colorado Rockies. A year that was gushing with promise back in the springtime turned into a productive one, as the Rockies made the postseason for the first time in eight seasons.

The hiring of manager Bud Black was a game-changer for the organization, and a move that has helped push the culture forward for the Rockies franchise. Part of the reason the Rockies were successful in 2017 was the integration of the youth within the starting rotation.

Colorado’s rotation featured three rookies at one point, in addition to second-year arm Jon Gray and middle-men Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood.

Kyle Freeland was one of those three rookies in the rotation this season, and was instrumental in getting Rockies into Wednesday’s National League Wild Card game.

Freeland, a Colorado native and Thomas Jefferson High School graduate, earned his spot in the rotation during spring training and began his major league career with a start in front of his hometown fans at a jam-packed Coors Field. He went on to hurl six innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits while striking out six in his debut, marking the start of what would be a storied rookie campaign.

Freeland would appear in 33 games for the Rockies, logging 28 starts while posting a record of 11-11 with an ERA of 4.10. Like most rookies, Freeland’s experienced highs (like his near no-hitter back on July 9th) and lows (his quick, three-batter departure on August 4th), but the opportunity to help get his hometown team back to the postseason made for a storybook ending to the first regular season of his career.

“It was awesome, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” Freeland told Mile High Sports. “It’s awesome. I couldn’t be more happy with where I’m at and how everything unfolded for me in my career so far. It’s storybook, pretty much. If you dream it up, every kid wants to play for their hometown team and win championships with them.”

The opportunity to play meaningful games late in the season and beyond has been a dream in the works for both Freeland and many of his teammates. 2017 was such a special season because, in the end, Freeland was celebrating with players he’s been with since the beginning and beyond.

“There’s a handful of us in this clubhouse that came through the minor league system together, and we did that with success,” Freeland said. “Myself, (Antonio) Senzatela, (Ramiel) Tapia, (Ryan) McMahon, we all won a championship in low-A together, and so we kind of brought that mentality and kept that.”

It’s unknown if Freeland will be a part of Colorado’s postseason roster, but there has been speculation that he will miss the cut. That said, Freeland believes Wednesday’s Wild Card game will be a great contest between the two up-and-comers in the National League West.

“It’s going to be a great game. We are going to bring our ‘ones’ against their ‘ones’ and battle it out until the end — and see who comes out on top.” Freeland said.

Sorry – this audio content is no longer available., including his memories of the 2007 ‘Rocktober’ run, in the latest installment of The Blitz podcast.

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