MLB Drafts are always tricky. It’s fun to get excited about what new prospects are headed to the farm. Then it’s also a test of patience, development, and health in terms of who eventually makes it to the Big Leagues and when.
This season, it was great to see 14 of Colorado’s 21 picks be pitchers and 20 of their selections be from college. The Rockies need pitching depth as quickly as possible, but it will still be a few years before we see any of them putting on the purple jersey.
Outside of the pitchers, the player I am most looking forward to is infielder Kyle Karros, son of former Dodger first baseman Eric Karros. While it’s fun to see the Rockies draft Colorado-born talent, like they did with Kyle Freeland in 2014, or someone like RHP Kannon Handy from Colorado Mesa University in the 19th round this year, Karros brings a new element this year: son of Rockies killer.
Eric Karros, a fifth-round pick in 1988 by the Dodgers, made his debut in 1991 when he played 14 games, but then won the NL Rookie of the Year in 1992. While never an All-Star, he did win the NL Silver Slugger at first base in 1995 and had a remarkable 12-year career with the Dodgers before finishing his career with one season as a Chicago Cub and his final season in 2004 with Oakland. In his career, he posted a 10.4 bWAR and slashed .268/.325/.454 with 284 homers, 1,724 hits, and 1,027 RBI.
Those numbers got a healthy boost thanks to the Rockies. In 129 games against the Rockies over 472 at-bats, he hit .320/.380/619 with a .999 OPS, 37 homers, 108 RBI, 30 doubles, scored 100 runs, drew 47 walks, and struck out 67 times. In 208 at-bats in 53 games at Coors Field, he was even better. He slashed .370/.419/.500 with a .929 OPS with 21 homers, 65 RBI, 53 runs scored, 14 doubles, 19 walks, and 29 strikeouts. Those 21 home runs are the second-most by an opposing player in Coors Field history.
What if absolutely smashing against the Rockies, especially at Coors Field, can be passed along through genes?
The younger Karros comes out of UCLA, like his dad and his brother, Jarrod, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2022. Of course, it’s not a sure deal yet. Kyle could decide to not sign with the Rockies and return to the Bruins for his senior year. The Rockies managed to sign the majority of their picks last year and with increased pay and living conditions in the Minor Leagues, hopefully Karros decides to enter the professional realm.
In three seasons, he’s put up impressive numbers at UCLA. He’s played 142 games, hitting 276/.342/.407 with 14 homers and 101 RBI. Kyle is a strong fielder (spending all of the last two seasons at third base) to earn a spot on the 2022 Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. He’s also got a lot of power potential. This season, he improved his approach at the plate and closed his stance to reduce his strikeouts, while increasing his walks.
And how about the fact that Kyle got drafted a round earlier than Eric, and, at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, he’s also bigger.
In a season when the best part could be when it’s over, the future is the best thing to look forward to as a Rockies fan. Maybe Kyle Karros will be a fun part of that.
The Rockies will open the 2024 season on the road in Arizona and the home opener will be against the Rays. The Rockies will travel a little farther than usual when they will take on the Houston Astros in Mexico City and go to Toronto to face the Blue Jays for the first time since 2013. They’ll also finish the season with a six-game homestand vs. the Cardinals and Dodgers. Check out the story for more details.
The Rockies need help when it comes to pitching depth and this move to sign the former Mariner should help give the Rockies an option as a starter. RHP Chris Flexen has experience as a reliever and starter, and though he’s struggled with being hit hard this season, he could be an option for the Rockies with Kyle Freeland likely headed for the IL.
The Rockies are headed down a road that could lead to a lot of franchise-worst records, especially in terms of losses and highest team ERA. Patrick Saunders sums up the first half and looks at what’s ahead. The Rockies have faced brutal injuries, offensive power outages, and have to balance trying to field a competitive team with playing younger players and doing something at the trade deadline. As Saunders said, “It’s going to be a juggling act.”
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