He estimates he played on 40 teams from T-Ball to the Big Leagues and was the best player on about 10 of those teams. If that’s the case, how did Ryan Spilborghs make an MLB roster and spend over a decade in professional baseball? Because he just kept chasing the dream. He knew if he kept going, others would fade away and he’d still be there.
“Spilly” was born in Santa Barbara and stayed close to home for his college baseball career, mostly because all the other schools wanted him to walk on. At UC Santa Barbara, he was on scholarship, but quickly realized the work he needed to put in to actually play.
In 2002, the Colorado Rockies drafted him in the 7th round thanks to a Rockies’ scout (Billy Eppler, now GM of the NY Mets) who was in Long Beach for some surfing and happened to watch Ryan hit an improbable home run for the Gauchos against Long Beach State. From there he toiled in the Rockies’ minor league system for a few years and made trusting friendships with guys he’d eventually play with in The Show, like Troy Tulowitzki, Garrett Atkins and Corey Sullivan to name a few. Spilly made his MLB debut on July 16, 2005. He played one game and was back to AAA. He returned in 2006 and hit his first home run. In 2007 he was an integral part of the Rockies’ crazy regular season ending and playoff run which brought them to the World Series.
After becoming a free agent in 2011, Spilly knocked around a few other teams including internationally for a couple years. In 2014, he joined the Rockies TV Broadcast crew as an analyst, a gig he still enjoys today, along with being a dad to two and husband to Stacey. Follow Spilly on Twitter @SpillyGoat19