A 2018 draft pick for Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies, Dunn native Trent Fennell moved closer to realizing his top childhood dream this spring.
A 2018 draft pick for Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies, Dunn native Trent Fennell moved closer to realizing his top childhood aspiration this spring.
The former Triton standout was called up to the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, Hartford Yard Goats, in April after pitching six months with the Spokane Indians in 2021 where he collected 82 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings of work.
Fennell took time from his game prep this week to answer a few questions from The Daily Record about his Minor League journey.
What’s been your biggest accomplishment the past two years?
Going into this year, the main goal was to make the jump from High-A last year. ... And the biggest goal was just to make that next step up to Double-A and that’s kind of what I did. That was my motivation in the offseason and that’s kind of where I wanted to be, to make that next step. And it’s the biggest jump in the minor leagues ... once you get to Double-A, anything can kind of happen. You see guys move all the time, just straight to “The Show” (MLB), from here.
How are you progressing during your minor league stint?
As far as me as a pitcher, just continue to work on the same arsenal I’ve always had and just try to make the secondary stuff better — the slider sharper and the changeup better. And the fastball velocity, just trying to continue to throw harder every single year.
What were conversations with coaches like during your promotion this spring?
I think the biggest thing they like about me is my versatility. I mean, I was a starting pitcher my whole life and then the 2019 season was my first season as a full reliever. ... And then last year, I was a reliever and I’ve kind of been in a unique role where I’ll make some spot starts and then I’ll (serve as) kind of a long reliever. I guess it’s the best way to describe it. ... Being able to kind of go in there when a starter might not have his best outing, or eating up some innings out of the pen. And that’s what they liked most about me. And that was kind of the conversations I had coming into this year, that was gonna kind of be my role here.
Thoughts on matching against current MLB stars during their rehab efforts?
It’s cool, man. (Wednesday) we (saw) Max Scherzer and he was one of my favorite two pitchers growing up, so it’s just kind of cool to sit back and watch. And then the same thing with Aroldis Chapman. I mean, everybody knows who he is. He’s one of the hardest throwers of our generation, one of the most dominant arms we’ve ever seen. So it’s just really cool to kind of be on the same field as those guys. It’s awesome to be here right now ... it’s just been a really good experience overall.
How have you adjusted to living so far away from home for so long?
I’ve actually never been west of Nashville, Tennessee until I was drafted. Since then, I’ve played all over the place. Like this year ... I’m in the Northeast primarily. Last year, I was in the Northwest primarily. I’ve been in Arizona for camp. I played in the Cali (California) League in 2019 and played all the way from Montana down to Colorado my rookie year. So it’s been kind of everywhere and that’s been one of the best parts about this whole thing is being able to just go places, see new things. My family, they’ve been able to come out and travel a lot and I’m really thankful for their support. ... It’s tough at times, but they do a really good job. I keep in contact with them and call them every single day, so I wouldn’t be here without them.
What are some things you still have left to accomplish?
I mean, ultimately, the goal is the big leagues, and to stay there and to have success. I’m confident that I can get those guys (MLB hitters) out right now ... but at the same time, there’s always room for improvement. And I think the biggest thing is just consistency. I’ve trained with big leaguers, I’m friends with big leaguers and that’s the biggest thing that separates them, is the consistency. Some guys that I play with right now have better stuff than guys that are in “The Show.” It’s just it’s a mental game and it’s about being consistent and being able to do it every single night.
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-230-2040.