Christian Koss learned how to handle the highs and lows of a professional baseball season.
For Eric Hepple, it was making the necessary adjustments on the mound after he started the season higher in the Colorado Rockies' organization.
Todd Isaacs embraced a leadership role as he started over in a new organization.
Brenton Doyle overcame a freak injury that cost him nearly a month of his first season to lead the Pioneer League in hitting.
All of the Grand Junction Rockies made adjustments in their games during the season, for many, their first in professional baseball or their first year in the United States.
"Throughout a whole season you see a whole lot," manager Jake Opitz said. "You see them on the field day in, day out. It's not just stuff on the field, things they're doing in the clubhouse, their leadership, how they've matured off the field. Reflecting back, it's pretty cool to see in 2½ months the effect you can have on guys. I'm excited about this team."
Another aspect of the learning curve for Rookie league players is how to physically make it through 76 games in 87 days.
Koss, Doyle, Jack Yalowitz and Colin Simpson all agreed that they learned how to survive the grind.
"Playing every single day is probably the biggest thing, knowing how to take care of your body and treat your body so you can perform to 100 percent the next day, whether that's getting enough sleep or putting the right food in your body," Doyle said.
"Back in college I'd only have games on the weekends and during the week was practice. This is a lot more physically stressful, so you have to know how to treat your body right and that's the biggest thing I've done. It's September and my body's still feeling (good). If I was on my college schedule, I wouldn't be able to perform the way I am now."
The Rockies show up to the field early in the afternoon for individual and positional work, then take batting practice and play, spending up to nine or 10 hours at the ballpark. The players learned early on that they can't function on a typical college student's diet of pizza and burgers.
"The hardest part about this is the recovery aspect,"said Simpson, who played left field, first base and caught during his Pioneer League MVP season. "We play a ton of games in a short amount of time.
"The hardest part for me was learning how to wake up every day and keep my body fresh. Go to bed at a good time and put stuff in my body food-wise that's going to make me feel better and not just go to McDonald's and eat junk food. That was the hardest part for me and I think I've done a good job with it."
Yalowitz echoed his fellow outfielders, adding that he's learned about the mental grind as much as the physical.
"It's just playing every day, strapping it on and competing," he said. "It's different in college maybe you play once during the week and three times on the weekend. It's a little different on your body and definitely different on your mind. Just getting better at that is the biggest part for me."
Koss had an incredible stretch at the plate in July that catapulted him to the top of the league in hitting, then he and the entire team went into a collective funk before turning it around and clinching a spot in the Pioneer League South Division playoffs, which start at 6 tonight at Suplizio Field against Ogden.
"August can be hard, it hit the team hard," Koss said. "I think that was good for us to see it's not all rainbows and sunshine, but I think that also gave me a chance to show who I was as a player.
"Even though you're struggling, how you continue day by day to come to the field and try to get better. It gave me time to work on things I needed to work on that probably weren't addressed when I was going good, to grow."
Opitz saw that from several players throughout the season as their roles changed.
Julio Carreras emerged as a catalyst at the top of the lineup after a knee injury ended Eddy Diaz's season early. Pitcher Juan Mejia blossomed late in the season, becoming a clutch late-inning reliever. Ever Moya got stronger as the season stretched on.
"They're pitching inside effectively, Moya's been up to 97. He started out 91, 92 and now he's up to 97 and he's got a breaking ball," Opitz said. "That's a huge jump. Juan Mejia has taken a huge jump; the college guys, they've been pretty good all the time.
"(Carreras) has the leadership qualities, he's got the personality for it. He speaks really good English for a first-year player in the States. All the kids are drawn to him, his personality, his energy and the way he plays. ... He's had a few things he has to work on through the season, but they all do."
Hepple started the season in Low-A Asheville, but was sent down to make some necessary adjustments.
"I wasn't pitching well, getting into hitters' counts, leaving the ball over the plate and got sent back here to work on that," said Hepple, who's pitched as a setup guy and a closer for the Rockies. "Personally, I feel like I had some ups and downs but really, I figured a lot of things out in the last few months."
Isaacs, who was signed as a free agent in April after being released from Cleveland's Class A club, started over in Rookie ball. He was briefly moved to Triple-A Albuquerque to help fill in for some injuries, then returned to Grand Junction.
The 23-year-old took on a leadership role for the younger players as he continued to work on his own game.
"For me I'm starting to trust myself more, relying on my ability," he said. "In all the years I've been in pro ball (since 2015), all the work I've put in from day one to now is starting to pay off. I feel that me starting over here in Rookie ball has given me the opportunity to build my confidence to move forward in seasons to come.
"The biggest thing for me is I want to help the team win. That's all I can do, find ways to win."