FanGraphs is doing their apparently annual rankings of every organization in terms of present and future hope for success, and the Rockies have just been revealed at #7.
For those unfamiliar, each team gets three pieces: one about present talent, one about future talent and one about the organization in total. I'll post them here in the hopes of generating discussion as they come up.
The Rockies also have some talent in the outfield, although it remains to be seen if they’ll be deployed optimally. The best combination of three is probably Carlos Gonzalez in center, with Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs on the corners. While Gonzalez (just 24) hasn’t had a huge impact yet, he profiles as a very good outfield defender with a developing bat who is at least above average now and potential to be much more. The underutilized Smith is a good hitter who is at least average in the field. Spilborghs is older and inferior to Smith, but he’s got enough of a bat and glove to be about average over a full season. Sadly, the Rockies may still go with Gonzalez in left; Dexter Fowler, a fast guy who is a poor hitter and hasn’t impressed in the field, either, in center; and… wait for it… the legendary Brad Hawpe in right. Much virtual ink has been spilled over Hawpe’s dreadful fielding. Suffice it to say that while Hawpe has a good bat, if Adam Dunn (a superior hitter) can’t come close to being a league average player while putting up -30 seasons in the field, Hawpe can’t either. Some sort of arrangement putting Gonzalez in center, Smith in left, and platooning Hawpe and Spilborghs (with judicious use of Fowler) would likely give the Rockies at least one more win in a tight divisional race. Surely it has crossed someone’s mind.
The Colorado Rockies club is one of the most self-sufficient organizations in baseball. With the exception of Carlos Gonzalez in left field, the club projects to feature a starting lineup of players that were all originally signed by the organization. There is also a lot of young talent to be found, including Troy Tulowitzki (25) at shortstop, Ian Stewart (24) at third, Chris Iannetta (26) behind the dish, Dexter Fowler in center field (24) and the aforementioned Gonzalez (24). On the pitching staff, the club boasts the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez (26), Franklin Morales (24), and Manny Corpas (27). All three pitchers are members of the Rockies' international scouting efforts.
When we talk about player development machines, the Braves and Twins are usually the first two organizations everyone mentions. However, the Rockies have one of the most home grown teams in recent history, and their core of players developed from within look to be ready to put their stamp on the National League.
On days when Seth Smith starts over Carlos Gonzalez, every single position player on the team will be playing for the only organization they’ve ever known. And of course, Gonzalez was acquired for Matt Holliday, who the Rockies developed internally. Dan O’Dowd and his staff should be incredibly proud of the work they’ve done in building this team from the ground up.