It can be difficult to quantify the quality of a Major League team's owner. There's no OWAR (owner wins above replacement), the owner doesn't get hits, make errors (not on the field, anyway), or throw strikes. When watching a game, the team's owner is rarely pictured, if at all.
In spite of all this, however, it could be argued that the owner is the single most important person within an organization. On the other hand, it could also be argued that the owner actually isn't all that important.
For better or worse, the Colorado Rockies' owner is Dick Monfort. If you wanted to say he hasn't been a great owner, it's likely you wouldn't find many folks who would disagree with you. After five straight seasons with 88 or more losses, it's fair to say that the head of the organization has lost any benefit of the doubt he may have previously had. Since our last look at Rockies ownership a year ago, it seems Monfort has given general manager Jeff Bridich more autonomy than his predecessor Dan O'Dowd had. Whether that's good or not remains to be seen, but hey at least it's something different.
Last month, FanGraphs polled fans asking them to rate their team's owner. Not surprisingly, Monfort came in at the bottom of the pack, finishing 28th out of 30 and getting a "pretty good" or "very good" rating from just three percent of voters. The poll, however, calls to question the importance of having a good owner (or one who's considered to be good from an outsiders perspective, anyway), as one of the two teams to rate lower than the Rockies was the New York Mets, the reigning National League champions. Pair those results with this poll of 464 big leaguers in the 2013 offseason that rated Kansas City Royals owner David Glass as the worst in the league and perhaps there's some hope for the Rockies to succeed, after all. Even with Dick Monfort captaining the ship.
So, if two teams with supposedly "bad" owners just met in the World Series, what's the long-term outlook for the Rockies, anyway?
Several straight years of high draft picks and -- dare I say it -- good development by the Rockies has gotten them to a point in which they have arguably the best minor league system they've ever had. They recently came in second in "prospect points" according to MLB.com, Michael Lananna of Baseball America called the system "incredibly deep" with a "filthy" top five, and Baseball Prospectus put a whopping six Rockies prospects in their top 42. No other team had more than four.
It isn't just the top six of David Dahl, Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Ryan McMahon, Brendan Rodgers, and Raimel Tapia, though. There are several others who have a strong chance at making an impact on the big league level. Some, like Trevor Story, Tom Murphy, and Carlos Estevez, will likely be arriving with the Rockies this season. Others, like Antonio Senzatela, Forrest Wall, and Dom Nunez, are further away from the major league club but have a legitimate chance to shoot way up prospect lists with strong seasons in 2016.
What does this all mean? Maybe nothing. Even good prospects are, after all, just that: prospects. There's no guarantee that any of these guys will turn into legitimate major league players, but it's likely at least some of them will. The system has a ton of talent, now it needs to be developed. The effectiveness of that development, along with the ability of Monfort to make solid front office decisions, will be key in determining the long-term success of the franchise.