In the midst of another losing season, it’s tough to find reasons to be excited to watch the Colorado Rockies. The team has struggled mightily throughout the season offensively, defensively, and even on the mound. Injuries limited their shiny free agent to 40 games and decimated their pitching staff depth. General apathy has bubbled to the surface for many frustrated fans and for good reason, it’s tough to watch a team that can make you miserable.
However, the one thing that I look forward to every September is the chance to see new faces get a chance in the big leagues. The season is out of hand and therefore you can afford to shuffle things around and give guys a chance because what do you have to lose otherwise? The Rockies have seemingly taken this thought process to heart finally and are giving the kids a chance to play.
The big league journey for Elehuris Montero has been shaky and inconsistent in 2022. After several call-ups throughout the season, the Rockies would commit only sporadic playing time to one of their top prospects. After getting called up at the beginning of August, the Rockies finally committed to allowing Montero to play consistently and regularly.
Since the start of August, Montero has started 22 of the 23 games he has played in. During that stretch, he has batted .268/.286/.512 with 22 hits, including four home runs, in 84 plate appearances. Strikeouts are a big problem for Montero at the moment with 24 punchouts to just one walk, but these are the times to let him work through it and figure out his approach at the big league levels. We know the potential his bat has, and we’ve seen the power of display when he cranks one out.
It’s also a good chance for him to work on his glovework. The story for Montero each time he has been called up this season was to get plenty of work with the big league coaches when it came to defensive work. He has split time between the corner infield positions, giving the Rockies a chance to see home comfortable he is there, especially at first base where he could see more playing time. Either way, the chance to get into a routine day in and day out will do wonders for Montero as he preps for next season.
Earlier this week we were surprised by the news that the Rockies would be promoting Michael Toglia to the big leagues. Often thought of as the first baseman of the future, Toglia impressed during his short stint in Triple-A and the Rockies felt it was time for the kid to make his debut. He has started in all four games since his call-up, mostly playing in right field to work on his utility since that would be a spot for him in 2023. So far, he is batting just .214/.214/.500 in a measly 14 at-bats. At times you’ve seen the influence that Todd Helton has had on the young man during his at-bats.
Toglia getting playing time is essential for his growth and a movement towards the reboot the Rockies need. He’s already got his first big fly out the way and has shown good instincts defensively at both first base and the outfield. He only has four strikeouts thus far and no walks, but with more reps, we can begin to get more of a complete picture of what he can do. I’ve been excited to watch each at-bat for Toglia, just to see his growth and hoping that he can hit a bomb somewhere.
Called up once more at the same time as Toglia, Sean Bouchard is aiming to make the most of his second promotion to the big leagues this season. The injury of Kris Bryant comes with a silver lining as it is giving the Rockies a chance to give Bouchard an extended look in the outfield.
He has also played in four games since his promotion and has been a pleasant surprise. In 14 plate appearances across those games, Bouchard is batting .273./.429/.546 with only three hits, including his first home run as a big leaguer. He has shown some good plate discipline, drawing three walks, while striking out just four times. If the Rockies feel he has performed well enough, he may find himself as a replacement for Connor Joe on the roster, as they are basically built in the same mold. Regardless, it’s nice to see a surprise in the form of Bouchard who is putting together some nice defensive plays and quality at-bats.
The bullpen has been an area of stress this season, but the Rockies are getting a boost from Justin Lawrence. The sidearm fireballer has been one of the relievers that have been on a sporadic schedule this season. He has been towed back and forth between Triple-A and the major leagues quite a bit, but since his call-up on August 13, he has been one of the team’s best relievers. In 10 2⁄3 innings of work, Lawrence has pitched himself to a 1.69 ERA, 1.62 FIP, and struck out 14 batters to just four walks.
He has shown improved command with his pitches and Bud Black is handing him the ball in key situations when the Rockies need to lock down an inning. He has the potential to be a true lockdown presence in the bullpen next year if he can keep it up. If you are going to promote young arms, you have to use them and give them confidence that they can stick with the team.
The future is now
It has happened later than any of us hoped, but the Rockies are starting to promote and utilize young stars that are meant to carry the next generation of Rockies baseball. Perhaps there is a chance we see even more players this month, such as Coco Montes, and that is something to be excited about this month.
When you do the same thing over and over with the same players, you’re going to get the same results. We are seeing a surge of young, exciting prospects make their debuts this season. We’ve seen exciting ones in MLB just this past week. The Rockies are trying to follow suit and they will be better off if they start letting the young kids play and succeed.
★ ★ ★
We sometimes talk about the need for more analytics and research from the Colorado Rockies, but there is a lot of work that individual players put in for themselves in order to try and improve. Thomas Harding caught up with Ryan Feltner to talk about his preparation and due diligence when it comes to preparing for each new start. Feltner details what he tries to do and what he strives to learn from each outing and from each pitch.
★ ★ ★
On The Farm
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes @ Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Canceled due to rain)
The match-up between Reading and Hartford was the MiLB spotlight of the week, and it certainly lived up to the billing of being a quality ball game. Noah Davis started on the hill for Hartford, turning in one of his best outings of the season, going seven innings and allowing one run on four hits while striking out eight. Blair Calvo was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs in the top of the ninth to give reading the deciding victory. The Yard Goats had 10 hits, but couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities. Willie MacIver went 3-for-3 on the night, while Hunter Stovall had two hits before he was ejected in the third inning.
Extra-innings did not go Spokane’s way as they lost 7-6 Saturday night. Case Williams lasted 4 2⁄3 on the mound, giving up five runs on nine hits before Anderson Pilar went 3 1⁄3 innings in relief. Juan Mejia took the loss after allowing one run in two innings. Offensively, Spokane saw Ronaiker Palma produce a four-hit night and drive in a pair, while Braiden Ward, Robby Martin Jr., and Colin Simpson each had multi-hit evenings. In total, Spokane had 12 hits but struck out 15 times.
The Fresno Grizzlies kept rolling as they threw out 12 runs on 13 hits over the Modesto Nuts. Juan Brito led the way with three hits and three RBI. Sterlin Thompson added a two-hit night and scored a pair of runs along with EJ Andrew’s two hits to drive in three runs. The Grizzlies utilized a pitch by committee approach, starting with two innings by McCade Brown in which he allowed two runs. Sergio Sanchez ended up with the save after tossing 3 1⁄3 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!