Scottsdale, Ariz — A year ago, Stephen Cardullo was a seemingly afterthought spring training signing by Jeff Bridich out of the Independent Leagues. He looked like roster filler at the time, but slotted right into Triple-A and immediately went to work proving he could hit, and hit with power, hitting .308 with 17 home runs and earning a late-season call-up to MLB.
He didn’t get a ton of looks thereafter but still managed a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, of which he now has two this spring. The four-run salami has become an odd kind of calling card for Cardullo. “It is a great feeling to be put in that situation to drive runners in. I give credit to my teammates for that,” he told BSN Denver. “We got men on base, drove in a lot of runs, but unfortunately did not get the win. But yeah man, love hitting … I mean we put up eight runs. We are swinging the bat well.”
So much has been made of the Rockies signing Ian Desmond to play first base but even after that signing and the return of Mark Reynolds to the roster, there have still been calls for the Rockies to add help at that position. The presence of Jordan Patterson would make this nearly insane if not for the fact that he bats left-handed and the Rockies are overloaded with lefties and struggled with right-handed power especially after losing Trevor Story and Mark Reynolds for a time due to injury. Enter: Stephen Cardullo.
Cardullo is hitting .296/.382/.593 with a pair of grand slams and is pacing the team with 11 RBI this spring. All the qualifiers of spring training apply, but Cardullo has been proving people wrong for almost a whole year now.
Yeah, a 29-year-old who has barely exhausted rookie eligibility may not be most people’s ideal insurance plan, but guys who can step in and perform when asked, even when not given consistent playing time, have a special value in and of themselves. Perhaps most importantly, Cardullo understands his role and seeks to excel inside of it. When asked about playing in the outfield occasionally or that he might need to give the team some run early with Desmon on the shelf, he says: “Absolutely. That is my situation as being a role player especially in the National League. You have to play multiple positions for the double switch. Anywhere I can be versatile to help a team win and get in the lineup, I’d be happy to do it.”
If he can continue to put up that kind of right-handed power, you better believe the Rockies will be happy to have him do it t0o.