Once again, we have entered “Sent from my iPad” season for the Colorado Rockies. On Saturday, Dick Monfort spoke at the annual Northern Colorado Friends of Baseball breakfast in his hometown of Greeley, Colorado, and…oh boy.
Monfort’s appearance was first reported on by Patrick Saunders at the Denver Post and then further elaborated upon by Patrick Lyons at DNVR. Both of these excellent pieces are linked below and provide a myriad of quotes from the Rockies’ owner, many of which quickly made their rounds on the internet from pundits of the franchise.
Padres have 4 legit superstars — Machado, Soto, Bogaerts and Darvish. Rockies’ superstar is a Cardinal https://t.co/amDeRa89Ot— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 29, 2023
From voicing likely unrealistic expectations of a .500 season, to justifying abstaining from the free agent market, giving a vote of confidence to a still undersized analytics department and even throwing a little shade at the San Diego Padres for essentially making other teams look bad by going all-in, Monfort provided plenty of bits for critics to sink their teeth in to.
But rather than regurgitate all the bits and pieces from the overwhelming material provided by The Patricks, let’s instead narrow the focus to Monfort’s thoughts on the farm system and the future of the franchise.
Monfort also touted a Rockies farm system that has four players — shortstop Ezequiel Tover (No. 25), outfielder Zac Veen (27), shortstop Adael Amador (68) and catcher Drew Romo (84) — ranked among the top 100 prospects by MLB Pipeline.
“We had four of them, but I kid you not, there could have been 15,” Monfort said. “We have an incredible amount of talent in the minor league and some of them are going to be up this year.”
Monfort seemed to have no difficulty tooting the horn of the Rockies’ crop of prospects, proclaiming that, if anything, the team has been under-represented by the media despite soaring into the top-half of most publications in the last year. To say that there is more than what’s on the surface is not without merit, either, as the team has brought in some impressive talent to the A-Ball ranks in recent seasons.
Those recent additions are what Monfort is likely referring to on who could be on the bubble for the various top-100 publications. He directly mentioned Brenton Doyle along the way, but advocating for names from the 2022 draft like Gabriel Hughes, Jordan Beck and Sterlin Thompson along with some rising international signings like Yanquiel Fernandez, Jordy Vargas and Dyan Jorge to be in consideration is not an outrageous sentiment.
Inherently, this is a good philosophy. An organization should generally be on the side of their players, instilling a belief in their development. However, when you consider the history of the Rockies, this perilously approaches a common problem with the franchise; prospect hugging.
“I think we had like the second-best Minor League record last year. We’ve got to really – I meant it – because after they came out with those top 100 prospects, I wrote down a whole bunch of names. I mean, seriously, I think we could have 10 guys that legitimately fit in there. And it seems to me like the big markets get all the fanfare… They’re never going to put a pitcher of ours in the top 100 because they know eventually they got to come pitch here.”
The Rockies are no strangers to building a core from homegrown products. The current plan is more of the same with Ezequiel Tovar and Zac Veen earmarked as the franchise’s next stars. It’s a fine bet to make for a team with low expectations, but whether or not they will be able to support the roster around them is still very questionable.
While Monfort proclaims that the organization’s pitching prospects are oppressed because of their eventual home park, the performance and health of the minor league arms in recent seasons certainly raises some genuine concerns around that group. Past that, most of the position players the team is pinning its hopes on to be a proper supporting cast have yet to reach the Double-A level, implying there are years of needed progress yet to go.
But all indications are the organization will sink or swim with this group. The front office is perpetually one of the least active trade partners in the league and, after stating that they would at least be open to dealing some of their younger players at the start of the offseason, GM Bill Schmidt has largely filled that same role again this winter.
“I think this is a year where people need to take a step forward. Some of the new kids need to come in there and show excitement, knowing that there’s more coming right behind them that just keeps the faith here. I think we’re on the right track.”
So while the Rockies prospect pool is on the rise, it is also placed in a rigid framework of expectations by management. Monfort lamented the idea of the San Diego Padres’ big spending and dismissed the notion of a rebuild, conventional routes that have led to varying degrees of success for other organizations.
Instead, ownership vehemently expresses belief that they have it right with the players on-hand. Players in a system they feel deserves more recognition than it gets other than honest acknowledgement from external evaluators. Their message to fans is to believe these will be the ones to buck the organization’s losing trend. Those fans will have to hope that best-possible outcome pans out, because there again seems to be little indication the franchise is willing to go any other route.
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Patrick Saunders provides his details on Dick Monfort’s public appearance. Along with the above mentioned topics, Saunders also touches on the owner’s quotes regarding manager Bud Black, GM Bill Schmidt and the possibility of retiring Charlie Blackmon’s #19.
Owner Dick Monfort speaks in detail about Rockies 2023 season: “I think we’re on the right track” | DNVR
Patrick Lyons provides an even more thorough breakdown of Monfort in Greeley. After explaining his optimism for the 2023 season and rationale for a quiet offseason, Monfort talks Kris Bryant and prospects before branching off into the analytics department, management and a very interesting perspective on the baseball community having a double-standard when it comes to the Rockies.
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