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Keep the competitive window open for Zac Veen

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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Psychologist Angela Duckworth stresses the importance of a growth mindset instead of a contrary fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is exactly that—fixed—in that an attitude does not change no matter the circumstance or opportunity. An individual is confined to a predetermined method of thinking, and it doesn’t often lead to optimism or progression. A growth mindset propels somebody into exactly that—growth—and it encourages change for the better.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten,” says Tony Robbins.

The Rockies’ analytics team has been “gutted” in recent weeks, according to The Athletic. The gutting can lead fans to assume Colorado has some bottom-billed projection methods with some top-billed trade targets. If the Rockies are indeed playing analytical checkers while others play chess, it means now is a dangerous time to construct deals with key players. You can’t project future performance seamlessly with anything short of a time machine, but some teams appear far more efficient in doing so than others. What happens when another team sees something the Rockies can’t?

Predicting Colorado’s next competitive window is a far more complex story—but if the Rockies truly have the next Larry Walker in the system, it may be time to attack a growth mindset for the next aperture of opportunity.

Zac Veen was selected ninth overall in the 2020 draft after being projected as high as fourth by MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. The selection was met with instant excitement from Rockies faithful, and the bar was set high for the now-19-year-old outfielder. The Rockies may have never imagined they would land such a player at pick number nine, but the best way to capitalize on the good fortune may be to play the long game and prepare for what could very well be a generational talent.

MLB.com ranks Veen the number one prospect in the Rockies’ system, despite zero innings of minor league experience thus far. They project his big league arrival to be in 2024, which comes after a potential Nolan Arenado opt-out (2021), a Trevor Story contract expiration (2021), and even the end of Germán Márquez’s contract (2023—but an option for 2024). This isn’t to say all will be gone once Veen arrives, but if the Rockies insist on keeping the competitive window open in 2021, what will the window look like when Veen makes his debut?

If you keep chasing fixed windows, how can you expect a different one to grow?

Bud Black spoke last week about the Rockies competitive chances right now: “A lot of key players that we have had, are still with us.” It is honorable to hear that from a manager, but it doesn’t address the growth within the organization that can otherwise occur (See Renee Dechert’s Monday Rockpile). Colorado has time to restock their analytical team before Veen’s big league arrival. It likely won’t address the immediate deals the team could make, but if Veen lives up to his billing, it will at least work to ensure Colorado is prepared for when the next competitive window can open.

It will be interesting to see how other teams interact with the Rockies until then. Colorado appears to be standing on the ‘rebuild’ or ‘retain’ fence, and blood is in the water following an analytical staff exodus. Perhaps the best way for the Rockies to evaluate talent is to look at what other organizations do with comparable players. It’s a grand ‘fake it until you make it’ strategy, but if the Rockies can indeed ‘make it’ in time for Veen’s MLB debut, an organization-wide growth mindset will have only just begun.

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Colorado Rockies plan year-round event space near Coors Field (Renderings) | Denver Business Journal ($)

It appears McGregor Square may not be the only new development planned around Coors Field. A separate lot at the corner of 21st and Blake is the proposed site for what the Rockies are looking to make “a year-round events site that could play host to movie nights, wiffle ball tournaments and food trucks, according to a presentation recently submitted to the City of Denver.”

Imagining MLB division alignment that makes sense | DNVR Rockies Podcast

In the latest rendition of the DNVR Rockies Podcast, Drew Creasman and Patrick Lyons talk MLB divisional realignment that may be to come. Several of the featured proposals put the Rockies in a different division than many of their current NL West foes.

(Bonus footage: some home run derby action on MLB The Show between Carlos González and Vinny Castilla)

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