There’s plenty to be encouraged about in this update from Jack Etkin about the plans for Freeland for the remainder of the 2019 season. With enough progress coming back from a groin injury, Freeland will make a couple appearances to try and take some positive momentum into the offseason.
With that good comes the portrait of a young pitcher who is thinking a lot right now. You know that simply by the number of words he provided for quotes in this article. He’s thinking about his legs, his release point, getting on top of his secondary pitches, and yet other things. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a good thing.
It can be a good thing as long as that pitcher’s organization has the resources to support him and provide good coaching and information. Maybe the Rockies can provide that for Freeland, but it would be reasonable to have doubts.
In terms of prospects who might make their biggest impact beyond next season, the next group of guys will start action in the AFL soon. Kevin Henry talked to Bud Black and some current Rockies who played in the AFL about its importance to player development. My favorite quote from the group has to be Ryan McMahon’s explanation that playing in the league shows there’s “more than one way to skin a cat.”
Such as these things go once a prospect actually arrives in the big leagues and struggles, Brendan Rodgers has moved down slightly on this list from number 11 to 15. Ryan Rolison checks in at number 85 as the other Rockies prospect on the list, perhaps reflecting the relatively depleted state of the farm system.
This seems impossible between the juiced baseballs and, yes, the Coors Field factor. But as Nick Groke notes in this piece about the team’s offense, the Rockies are 20th in baseball in home runs. They are also allowing a whole bunch of home runs. Groke mentions the top-heaviness of the lineup as one factor, and that makes sense.
But I do wonder about another thing. If the Rockies are behind in terms of providing data for their players, might there be hitters who could be hitting for more power? That’s speculative, of course, and we don’t need to pile on every single shortcoming of this season by asking if it’s a sign that the front office is behind the rest of the league. But we can sure pile on a lot of those shortcomings by asking that question, and I think we should ask here.
Take a look at some of the guys in baseball with 30 home runs. You telling me there couldn’t be more Rockies on that list with the right data and coaching? It’s not that simple, and some of it comes down to a lack of talent and some injuries, but it’s worth wondering.