When Evan Chambers, Drew Maggi and Stefan Welch were called up to the Curve a little more than two weeks ago, manager P.J. Forbes told the three newcomers they would have to earn their playing time.
So far, the play of the trio of 23-year-olds has warranted a solid amount of time in Forbes' lineup.
Entering Saturday's contest in Binghamton, Chambers, Maggi and Welch had played in a combined 31 out of a possible 42 games since entering the lineup against the B-Mets on June 15.
The freshly called-up threesome are hitting a combined .311 in their Double-A careers so far, and the Curve are averaging seven runs per game since those three joined the club two Fridays ago.
"You throw that carrot out there," Forbes said in reference to making them earn their playing time. "They just have to continue to do what they're doing, continue to battle, feel their way through what's going on. They're getting some good help in that clubhouse from guys that have been here and done it. I'm real pleased with how they came in and fit right in, and I continue to look for them to contribute."
Of the three, Welch produced the best numbers in Bradenton, and things haven't changed since the three were called up to Altoona. Welch hit .265 with eight homers and 37 RBIs for the Marauders and has been red hot since joining the Curve.
In 13 games, Welch, a native of Adelaide, Australia, is 16-for-43 (.372) with two homers, and the left-handed hitter also has 10 RBIs. Welch spent the first six years of his pro career with the Mets organization before joining the Pirates this season and said the shift in levels has been easier with two others in the same boat as him.
"It was cool all three of us came up together," Welch said. "It's a lot easier having someone else there to sort of share new experiences with. It's been good, Chambers and Maggi have been smashing it, and we've tried to do what we can to help the team and get some wins."
Chambers and Maggi haven't been utilized as much as Welch (playing in a combined 18 games), but they've both made an impact for the Curve.
On June 16 in a game against Binghamton, Chambers got his first start at Double-A, and he went 2-for-4 while scoring twice and driving in a pair. An outfielder, Chambers has cooled off a little since then, as he had just one hit in his last 12 at-bats entering Saturday, but still said he is enjoying facing a higher level of pitching.
"I love it up here," Chambers said. "The pitching is more aggressive, coming right at you. Down in Bradenton this year, kind of nibbling a lot, a lot of offspeed stuff, so you get a lot more chances to hit your pitch here. You just have to make sure you don't miss it."
In eight games for the Curve, Maggi has hit .290 (9-for-31), and the Arizona State product has also shown his versatility in the field, playing left field, shortstop and second base.