Rockies owner Dick Monfort and members of the front office had a Twitter chat with Rockies fans yesterday. While much of the content was pretty standard (in fact, it often followed the template that Bryan laid out in yesterday's Rockpile), there were a few nuggets of information that we can (and will!) parse out from the conversation.
Status of Jon Gray and Eddie Butler
.@EB68 Gray and Butler could potentially be pitching at Coors Field by late summer.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
.@Tweet20Q Gray & Butler depend on Gray & Butler. We really believe we can contend w/ as much depth as ever, exp & 2 of best players in MLB.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
Ok, so that's not exactly new, but the thought is certainly exciting to me. Gray and Butler have me irrationally excited for a fantastic starting rotation.
Monfort has solid taste in cinema
.@HardBallFashion "Dirty Dozen" is my favorite movie.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
This is veering quickly out of topical...
Rockies could see more activity in Japan
.@ThomasRbrt We've not done a lot of Euro scouting. W/ changes in Japan we'll be scouting there a lot more. Big presence in Latin countries.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
Colorado has not really been active in any posting of Japanese talent yet, but this is an indication that with the changes to the NPB posting structure that the Rockies could be more involved in the market.
A little delusional
.@ESterps08 With a healthy roster, 90 wins.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
It's not that the Rockies couldn't win 90 games this year. Baseball is weird. I just don't think the Rockies have added enough pieces to have a high probability of doing it (Troy Renck wrote about this happy scenario on Sunday). What else is Monfort supposed to say, though?
A lot delusional
Here Monfort answers a pointed question with a ridiculous assertion about the state of Colorado's minor league system. I think he meant that they were the Topps Minor League system:
.@sportfantic1 The award for best Minor League system was awarded to the Rockies by Topps.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
Sigh. Per Topps, that award is given to the team that:
Has shown outstanding performance, depth and talent throughout their Major and Minor League teams. It is based on points given for the number of players in the organization that have received Topps awards during the season in various Minor and Major League rookie categories
This includes such illustrious accomplishments as non-prospect Matt McBride's player of the month award in the Pacific Coast League. The problem with these types of awards is that they value production without the lens of context. Sure the Rockies have McBride and Ryan Wheeler as Topps All-Stars, but neither of those players will make a large impact at the big league level. It's a cool award to win, but it really isn't indicative of a strong minor league system.
Let me remind you - this is the justification Monfort is using to keep Dan O'Dowd employed.
Opening Day Lineup
.@Chris18Shine Projected OD lineup: Blackmon/Dickerson Cuddyer CarGo Tulo Morneau Rosario Arenado DJ/Rutledge Pitcher— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
This tells us a few things:
- First of all, Cuddyer batting 2nd is actually pretty good policy, especially if he can retain his OBP this year.
- It also appears that Drew Stubbs is noticeably behind Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson in the outfield scrum. The fact that Monfort listed Blackmon first could just be alphabetical, but it could be an indication that he's in the lead for the starter job. That would be interesting because Dickerson appears to have the higher ceiling.
- Ideally I'd like CarGo to be the leadoff hitter because I'm worried about the Blackmon/Dickerson's ability to get on base at an acceptable level.
- Monfort also lists Josh Rutledge as competing for the second base job, which I'm intrigued by simply because Rutledge has the higher ceiling of the two but DJ LeMahieu pretty vastly outperformed him last year.
The starting rotation
.@WilmerReina We have 4 guys who could be considered No. 1.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
Jhoulys Chacin was pretty clearly the top guy last year. I could understand an answer of Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa (excellent traditional stats), and Brett Anderson (great success in Oakland), but I wouldn't consider Tyler Chatwood as the best starter the Rockies have.
Here's how Monfort sees the rotation shaking out:
.@JWill2168 Best guess: Anderson, Chacin, De La Rosa, Chatwood, Nicasio/Lyles— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
Very interesting with Anderson - we don't have a track record on how he will pitch at altitude (or if he'll pitch at altitude given his injury problems).
.@ThomasStevens4 TV deals are based on market size and we are the 19th market. Ours will improve next year.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
It's been reported in various locations that Colorado's TV contract with Root Sports runs out after the 2014 season. This is false, as the contract runs until 2020, but the team will get an escalated rate for TV rights after this season. Given Monfort's stated rule of thumb on revenue to payroll, we would probably see half of that increase reflected in MLB spending.
Outdoor hockey at Coors Field
.@maciolek1s We have been in discussions with the NHL and the Avalanche and hopefully we will have an outdoor hockey game at Coors Field.— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) February 11, 2014
Now this is more like it. That sounds really cool!
Patrick Saunders muses on whether Rockies fans should be optimistic about this year in his mailbag. The answer is no, not really. There's a lot of other great content in the article too, I recommend reading it.
Thomas Harding writes that the Rockies are healthy and ready to go into Spring Training. As Monfort alluded to in the Twitter chat, the only real path for Colorado to the playoffs is if this remains the case for the regular season. Harding asks three pointed questions at the end of the article that are worth perusing.
Marc Hulet of Fangraphs has his top 100 prospects list out and the Rockies do very well in terms of quality (if not quantity), placing Eddie Butler at 15, Jon Gray at 16, David Dahl at 38. Hulet's been very bullish on Butler and Gray - here's hoping that they prove him right this year!
Baseball Prospectus writes that Gray and Butler could make an impact out of Spring Training.
Grant Brisbee writes about windows. Well worth it for the graphics alone.