Rockies' CarGo helps cousin Bohorquez get pro contract with GJ Rox
Before Carlos Gonzales had a tumor removed from his right index finger, he pointed out a pitching prospect for the Colorado Rockies.
Fabian Bohorquez, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-handed reliever, made his first appearance in a Grand Junction Rockies uniform Tuesday. He’s excited for the opportunity and has his famous cousin to thank for getting a free-agent contract with the Rockies.
“He helped me to sign here,” Bohorquez said about CarGo. “It’s hard for a lot of guys to sign after free agency so he helped me sign here.”
After two years with the Cincinnati Reds’ Dominican Summer League team, the DSL Rojos, the Reds released Bohorquez, who believes his potential generated interest from the Rockies.
“I think I did a good job with Cincinnati, so I think that’s why they signed me,” he said.
Bohorquez and Gonzalez, the Rockies all-star left-fielder, are from Maracaibo, Venezuela.
“I have a lot of opportunity here. They trust me to do my job. I think I will do well,” Bohorquez said.
Grand Junction Rockies pitching coach Ryan Kibler likes what he’s seen in the 23-year-old bullpen prospect. Coaching helps young pitchers develop, but it sure doesn’t hurt when there’s a natural ability or something unique that a pitcher brings to the mound.
Bohorquez brings something special to the mound.
“He has a weapon that not everybody has,” Kibler said. “His fastball has a little cut to it. It’s just the way it comes out of his hand. He doesn’t try to do it, but it has a cut to it, and that’s a special pitch.”
The late-breaking fastball doesn’t give hitters much time to adjust and get good wood on the ball.
“That’s a weapon for him, and he’s developing his curveball, still, and developing a change-up at the same time,” Kibler said.
The most famous pitcher with a late-moving cutter fastball is Mariano Rivera, Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader who recently retired from the New York Yankees.
Ultimately to be successful in the Rockies’ organization, Bohorquez and every other pitcher need to master their control, Kibler said.
“We just want him to be able to move the fastball in and out and keep it down with that little cut on it,” Kibler said. “Late movement is one of the best pitches in baseball.”
Bohorquez is ready to get started and show what he can do for the Rockies.
“I just want to do my job. I’m a reliever, so I’m trying to have good moments,” he said. “I try to pitch up to five innings with no runs.”
But he knows that’s a lofty goal pitching at Suplizio Field.
“In this league the hitters hit a lot,” he said, smiling.
He knows high-altitude has a way of chewing up pitchers.
“I have to keep the ball down,” he said, again with a smile.
Even catchers know it’s a big obstacle facing pitchers. Marte Hamlet, who was an eighth-round draft pick by the Rockies last year, said a big part of his job with the Grand Junction Rockies is helping pitchers handle the pressure of pitching at Suplizio.
“I have to remind the pitchers to keep the ball down. If they throw high, they will pay the price,” he said.
Kibler said most of the players who come from the Dominican Summer League have the skills to compete at a high baseball level, but they have to adjust to the bigger stage, even in Grand Junction. In the Dominican Summer League, there are no lights, no stands and very few fans, if any, at the games.
“The main thing they have to deal with here is getting used to this grand stage,” Kibler said, pointing to the Suplizio Field surroundings. “This is a huge adjustment for them.
“They get used to it, but they’ve never seen anything like this when they first start.”
Players from major college programs are used to playing in front of large crowds, he added.
For Bohorquez, he needs to adjust to the big crowds and Suplizio Field surroundings, but the main thing he has to accomplish is adapting to the pressures of pitching at elevation.
That’s the main goal if he hope to someday make the big club and pitch at Coors Field.