If the Arizona Fall League took place this year, who would make up the new crop of Salt River Rafters? Would Ryan Rolison follow in the footsteps of Ryan Castellani one year removed? Would a key bullpen addition emerge over these few months?
Could it even be our first look at 2020 draftee Zac Veen in a professional game?
With the Rockies posting a .433 winning percentage this year, fans may be eager to turn the page and take a deep look at up-and-coming prospects. Opportunities to catch these players in action are often plentiful in a normal year, but those opportunities were silenced in 2020 after a canceled minor league season.
The gates at Salt River Fields are currently closed to the public, too. Those gates don’t often see abundant crowds this time of year, but they typically see at least some form of an audience. Last year, the Arizona Fall League began play on September 18 and concluded on October 26. If 2020 allowed for a similar schedule, the league would presumably have about a week left. Box scores would keep featuring Rockies players.
(Those players would be wearing teal and black hats. The featured logo is reminiscent of either a distinct aquatic design or an Oral-B toothpaste homage—but cool nonetheless.)
Colorado sent seven players to the Fall League last year. Colton Welker headed the crop of offensive prospects, while Ryan Castellani and Ashton Goudeau did so with the crop of pitchers. Also included in the mix was Roberto Ramos, no longer with the Rockies but rather with the KBO’s LG Twins. He hit particularly well in Korea this year.
At the halfway point of the 2019 Fall League, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com released an update on all seven Colorado prospects that were involved. Taking a glance at Mayo’s article one year removed leaves readers longing for 2020 action, but optimistic that storylines for premier prospects are still out there.
Fall action provides a further narrative for people hungry for more baseball. After an abbreviated 2020 regular season, a furthered narrative could be desired more than ever. An update on fall instructs isn’t quite like an occasional MLB Network broadcast of the Fall League, but a core of Colorado prospects are still putting in the work at Salt River Fields.
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Nick Groke and Keith Law provide some of that additional prospect analysis. They address how the long-term plan for prospects like Brendan Rodgers, Ryan Rolison and Ryan Vilade “remains intact. For the most part. [The Rockies] hope.”
Bryan Kilpatrick of Mile High Sports says it is time for a “massive shakeup at 20th and Blake.” He discusses how the bullpen—a dismal component in 2020—might be exempt from such a shakeup, however: “Bullpens are volatile by nature, and the Rockies at least seem to have a decent approach to building theirs in that they’ve started to stockpile power arms.”
Matt Kemp spoke on MLB Network Radio this week about his career longevity and his desire to keep competing. “One of my goals coming into the minor leagues and eventually making it to the major leagues was to play as long as I could.”
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