Welcome to Football Friday, a baseball column by Connor. I am Connor. Each week I will dive into the previous seven days of baseball news, shout my opinion into the void, discuss some things about the Colorado Rockies, and answer your emails. Some of them.
Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Scottsdale and visit Rockies spring training. Over the course of three days I was able to spend a ridiculous amount of time around Rockies players. Not just Rockies players though -- also Rockies prospects. Now that I've seen just about every Rockies prospect, I am considering myself a scouting expert. As a certified expert in scouting, I thought I should profile the players I saw and offer grades on each one, just like the legends of scouting who now sit in the hallowed halls of the scouting hall of fame.
Each scouting outlet uses a grading system for the prospects, such as the very common 20-80 scale. I will be using a Connor Specific Scouting System based on whether I think a player will be GOOD.
Using a scale that I personally have created, players I watched will fall into three categories: these categories are GOOD, I THINK SO!, and MAYBE? Players will be sorted on factors that I can measure. For instance, I didn't have a radar gun so I couldn't check pitch speed from the minor league games. For this reason, I have no idea if anyone had good velocity. Sure, from the naked eye it looked like they threw hard, but I'm an idiot. A guy throwing 85 looks like he's throwing hard because 85 miles per hour is still really freaking fast. Because of this, I will judge them based on current skills, potential I see in those skills, and whether or not I like them as dudes.
For a player to be listed as GOOD, he will have to impress me thoroughly during my time watching him. This means that I believe they are a lock to become good players and not bad players. Some examples of past GOOD players: Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Babe Ruth, and the like. GOOD is the best ranking a player can receive, and it is only saved for the players that impressed me the most.
The I THINK SO! ranking is for players that may not have had a great weekend while I was in attendance but are still likely to be good. It leaves a little room for error on whether or not the player will be good or bad. They're not the locks from above, but I think they stand a pretty good chance of being good and not bad.
MAYBE? is a category of players I was least impressed with. Players that I don't think will make much noise. But I list them under MAYBE because scouting is crazy, and who am I to say that I know things? These guys could've just looked bad for a weekend and are actually destined to be GOOD -- I dunno. So they go under MAYBE?
Here is the handy visual of the scouting gauge:
I made that. Copyright. Do not steal.
I saw Raimel play on Sunday and you guys, I'm a believer. Tapia finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and an RBI. Tapia barreled the ball up big time twice, once for a double in the gap off Rubby De La Rosa in the Rockies five run second. Tapia's approach causes for a lot of disagreement among scouts, especially when he enters into a two strike count. Tapia at-bats are a wonder in themselves, as his style and approach changes as he gets later into the count. But, no matter what, the kid just hits. His double was pretty, the pop looked easy and Raimel's hands look quick enough to get to anything. He's even improving his approach to shut the scouts up but who cares, the kid looks good enough to hit in the majors. I'm a believer in Raimel. I have determined that Raimel Tapia is GOOD.
The 23-year-old shortstop has stolen all of the headlines this spring with a huge coming out party. Story is hitting .378 this spring with six home runs, he's driven in 13 runs, and stolen about one million hearts. I watched Story hit a left field BOMB on Monday afternoon against the White Sox, and I have decided Trevor Story deserves my love and adoration. Trevor will be defended in Football Friday's for eternity. Unless he is bad. Then I will turn on him, quickly and without mercy, like any good and true fan.
Trevor's recently been named the Opening Day starter at short, which is a bit of controversy within this website. Matt Gross doesn't like this move at all as he outlined here. I'm on the other side, I don't think it's that bad of a decision. Does it limit the potential future the Rockies may have with Story? Yea, sure, it does. But right now, the team deserves a win like Trevor Story. The shortstop position has been an empty void of nightmares and sadness since the departure of Troy Tulowitzki. With Jose Reyes getting into legal trouble, Troy throwing rocks like a teen boy trying to pretend he's over us, and the contention that maybe the Rockies shouldn't have made the trade at all. The team needs a fresh start at the position with an exciting young player. Opening Day still means something, too. Baseball isn't just numbers and tricks, at it's core it's emotion, fun, and people. If Trevor turns into a star, this means something to all of us.
The clubhouse loves him too. Arenado has raved about the kid all month. Nolan, Troy's best friend, loves this kid. The veterans love him, too. Trevor's earned a spot on this team in more ways than one.
Furthermore, I think you start playing with chips six years down the road, you start to become too cautious. It's a strategy that is smart on paper but doesn't play beyond that in rationality. Play your best players. Trevor is one of those. I've determined that Trevor Story is GOOD.
Correlle is a friend of the website; we like him around here. Prime was incredibly gracious in an interview with Cam Goeldner, and he's been a good as heck follow on Twitter. That all being said, Correlle looked overmatched in his two at-bats that I saw of him. Prime's a guy that will need to fill his bat out if he wants to be a major leaguer. He struck out in his first AB and slapped a slow grounder into the outfield on his second. Yeah, he got a hit and I'm not saying he sucks at baseball, but it wasn't encouraging either time he was up. Also, he was in High-A last year so he doesn't need to be yawking dingers off major league pitching yet. But it would be helpful to see a little more from him.
As of now, Correlle is in the MAYBE? category. He might be good, but he didn't have a good weekend with me there, which is all that matters, let's be honest. He's right on the cusp of I THINK SO! though because I think he's a cool dude and want him to succeed.
Last year's number three overall pick played in a minor league game I watched on Tuesday. Some things I noticed about Brendan Rodgers:
1. He cut his hair. He's got a nice clean short cut now and he looks fresh to death.
2. He's got a really nice gold necklace that he wears. It flashed in the sun when he stood in the infield, which is probably a competitive advantage.
3. He can swing the bat. I loved the way this kid hit. He oozed confidence at the dish.
I know he struggled last year in Junction, but let's be honest with ourselves on Brendan's situation. He graduated high school and immediately was asked to go play in Grand Junction, Colorado with some people he'd never met. That's tough for an 18 year old, any 18 year old would struggle with that. Now, you might say "well David Dahl didn't have that issue." Well good for David, that's great for him.
That doesn't mean Brendan suddenly can't deal with issues as he's moved across the country days after graduating high school. You know what I did the summer after I graduated high school? I drank beer with my friends and threw trash in an abandoned pool. I probably would've struggled playing professional baseball, too.
I like Brendan, I really do. I think he will grow into a very good player for the Rockies. I think Brendan will be GOOD.
Suero might be a name a lot of people don't recognize. The 21-year-old DSL prospect hit .306 in GJ last year and he hasn't been blowing up any prospect charts like most of the guys I saw at camp. But when I watched Suero bat on Tuesday on the back fields, I liked what I saw. The kid has easy power, the ball leaped off his bat on seemingly effortless swings. Suero's pop was recognizable to me, an idiot, almost instantly and it was a lot of fun listening to the ball come off of it. Easily the loudest pop of anyone I saw hit on Tuesday, including Rodgers. Suero may not stick in the system and we may not see him at the big leagues at all, but if we do I can guarantee he will be a fun watch.
It's for these reasons I rank Suero in I THINK SO! territory. Will he be a major leaguer? Well heck, I think so.
Those are the highlights from my stay in Arizona. I would like to extend a thank you to the Rockies for not kicking me out when I yelled "OH CRAP, RABURN AGAIN?!" when Ryan came up on Monday and I would like to extend a giant "what the hell bro" to Dinger the Dinosaur for ignoring me all three days.
What the hell, bro?
★ ★ ★
Five Bold Predictions
This is a new segment to Football Friday, my five bold predictions. Each week, I will make five bold claims about the coming week as well as going back and looking at the bold predictions from last week and seeing how I did. Since this is the first week, I can't go back and look at them, obviously. But here are my first FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS
- The Padres will suck
The Padres suck, man. Have you seen who they have starting at shortstop? Alexei Ramirez. Who's fine, he's a professional baseball player, so there's that. But seriously, let's go around the infield and find the Padres a good player starting at one of these positions:
First base, Wil Myers. Nah yeah, this makes sense. Play Wil at first where his bat will be even more needed for him to stick in the bigs. After all, you don't want Melvin Upton to lose a spot in the outfield.
Second base, Cory Spangenberg. Cory is a former first round draft pick who hit .271 last year in his first full season. Despite the fact that I'm CERTAIN Cory will be that one Padre that has insane offensive success against the Rockies every year, I can't help but think this dude actually isn't that good. I will undoubtedly hate this man with every blood cell in my body as he hits four moonshot home runs and probably a walk off double that makes me throw my TV remote in rage by the end of the season. Spangenberg is going to suck for forty nine straight games and then walk into Coors and go 11-for-19 with three home runs and seven RBI over a four game series. After the last game he's going to hold up my picture and rip it in half like Sinead O'Connor did to the Pope on SNL.
Shortstop, Alexei Ramirez. We already went over this but Alexei is just okay. Like when your friend dates a really chill, boring girl after he just broke up with a crazy woman. Yeah, she's ok and she's better than the last one. But it's not like you're texting your friend "make sure and bring Anna along" when you invite him out. If you're a girl reading this, picture when your friend Abby started dating that kinda cool, mostly boring guy Don last year. I'm sure you like Don, he's a nice dude and every now and then he makes you laugh. But Abby is way cuter than Don and frankly, you can easily see Don is just a guy to help her get over her last boyfriend who was real jerk. That's Alexei.
Third base, Yangervis Solarte. Despite having the dopest name on the team, Solarte is a career .265 hitter who hit 14 home runs last year in a career year. He's a decent OBP guy and has shown flashes of power this spring with seven homers, but his 80 grade name is writing checks his stats can't cash.
The Padres are going to suck.
- CarGo struggles in April and someone uses this as surefire ammo that Bridich blew it big time
Carlos Gonzalez is an out of this world good hitter, but I'm making the bold prediction the dude's going to have issues in the first month. This won't be his fault, sometimes hitters go through slumps, but it's going to suddenly make everyone jump on JB's back.
Bridich hasn't done everything right, there's a few things we can criticize him for, but CarGo struggling through one month isn't going to be some crystal ball he should've seen. I'm sorry, it's going to hurt when Carlos goes through this. But he will bounce back.
- Madison Bumgarner pisses me off
I hate MadBum. The 26-year-old ace for the Giants is walking into an even year in which the Giants completely reloaded their rotation with Cueto and Samardzjia behind him. But that's not why he's going to make me mad. MadBum is going to do something like yell at Gerardo Parra or tell Nick Hundley to "cool it". MadBum has become the sheriff of the worst police force in town, the No Fun Police. I hate the NFP. I hate Madison Bumgarner.
- I tick off that Ralfy guy on Twitter
There's this dude on twitter that takes up arms whenever someone he follows retweets one of my jokes. One time I made a joke that the Rockies weren't last and he yelled at me for like three hours. Frankly, that's part of why the Rockies fan base annoys me. Stop acting like this team OWES you wins. If they're bad, so what? Laugh about it, make fun of them and call it a day. They're an entertainment product that can't get out of it's own way. The Rockies are like the show The Walking Dead. There's something there, it's a real potential for gripping human drama. But lo, it always seems to just trip on it's own feet and become some wasteland of crappy shootouts and silly fights. The Walking Dead isn't a good TV show, in my opinion, but some people are entertained by it. I'm not going to yell at those people and tell them they're part of some problem where the show is staying bad because they know people will still watch.
Some people are entertained by sports teams regardless of how bad they are and when their team is bad they make silly jokes and photoshops of players heads on gauges. Don't yell at me, Ralfy.
- The Rockies will stick around longer than we think
I don't think the Rockies will be any good this year. Now that I said that, I want to say I think they hang around the top of the standings for a little while longer than most. I think the team's rotation surprises people, I think the bullpen is fit to keep the team close, and I think the lineup is just good enough to hang around the top three clubs.
I think, in the end, injuries take hold and the club finishes 10-20 games back of the division winner, but I think people get excited for the potential this teams puts forward this year. The young rotation is there, the pieces are in place, let's see if they do something about it.
Next week, FF goes back to normal.