Welcome to "From The Rooftop." This is where we can be the prototypical Party Deck Rockies fans. Sometimes we will talk seriously about the team. Sometimes we will enjoy the sunshine and barely pay attention to the game being played. Depends on the day. The point is, it’s all about the fan experience in its entirety.
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It’s that time of the year. The sun stays out late. The trees and fields blanket the landscape in vibrant green. Millions of dogs and volleyball players have taken over City Park and, as always, the Rockies are toeing the line between mediocrity and collapse.
A large portion of the fan base insists that this year is different. I am frequently a pessimist, but given what I see from the squad, I have to believe. The Rockies show depth and potential for growth across the board and while this is typically the time when the team free-falls to fifth place, this group has a legitimate shot to hang around .500.
That being said, injuries start to take their toll on every team this time of year. The team is relatively healthy right now, but one can expect its depth to be tested over the next few weeks. Injuries mean open spots, and somebody has to fill them.
You all may have observed Rockies Twitter on Tuesday night. The commentary following Gerardo Parra’s injury was most similar to a woman in her 50s hunting down a twenty-something at last call. The prospect cougars yearning for sexy names like Dahl, Tapia, and Patterson to fill left field stumbled home disappointed. They instead settled for the return of steady-yet-unremarkable Brandon Barnes. The much-hyped farm system has the fans calling for Bridich and Co. to harvest the crop of young talent sooner rather than later.
I am here to remind all the cougars to chill out.
Prospects are nice. The Purple Row crew loves to hype these guys up as much as anyone. But there is a time for these guys to come up, and while I would love to see Jordan Patterson manning left field in the future, I don’t want to see it right now. Prospects are still prospects for a reason. Sure, Jeff Hoffman would be more fun to watch than Chris Rusin. But if Hoffman isn’t ready for the majors (as the front office has stated), I would be happy to patiently wait.
I say it because everyone seems to be forgetting that developing prospects is risky. Just because a guy like Hoffman has good stuff doesn’t mean he is going to immediately be a stud (think of last year’s Jon Gray), or that he will ever reach that potential (Ian Stewart). Take a look at our Baseball America prospect page from 2007. Of the top 10, only half were guys who I consider to have become solid major leaguers who lived up to the hype. The other half, for one reason or another, were guys who never gave the expect return on the team's investment.
This is not another rant about the Rockies not being able to develop prospects. Prospects don’t always work out. My point is that prospects are far from sure things, and if we have a guy who has potential to be a great player, I want to stack the deck in our favor. If that means holding him down until later this season or even next season, so be it. Rookies are unlikely to immediately succeed even in the most favorable of circumstances. Why rush someone like Hoffman when he likely won’t produce the way we hope anyway? Why rush one of our young outfielders just because they have a higher ceiling than Barnes? Let them stay put while we try to win major league games with our major league players, and give the young guns their chance once they have nothing left to prove in the minors.
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Here’s a new segment that blows right past the smoke and mirrors. We spend a lot of time analytically breaking down why the Rockies are good or bad, looking at stats, and coming to a logical, balanced conclusion. But casual Rockies fans work in absolutes, and love to overreact. My weekly rooftop rating system takes this into account. I want to boil everything we say into a yes-or-no question: Are the Rockies good?
This week’s Rockies performance deserves a:
The Yankees are wiping up tears with their $100 bills. Nolan Arenado hit his 20th homer of the season last night, which basically makes him a baseball savant. Chad Bettis made a quality start that shows that he has definitely turned things around. The Rockies have won eight of the last 10. The team is going to Miami to face the un-scary Marlins, and we don’t even have to face José Fernández. Everything going on with the Rockies makes me happy.