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This Week in Purple: Setting Our Sights on Arizona Once Again

Colorado Rockies recap and discussion thread for Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, 2023

The weekend is a great time to kick back and reflect. This Week in Purple is the place to catch up on the news from our team at Purple Row. You’ll find links to Rockpiles and other content below as well as a platform for community discussion in the comments.

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Yesterday, MLB announced the rosters for the upcoming Arizona Fall League. The Colorado Rockies will be represented by eight prospects playing for the Salt River Rafters: RHP Alec Barger, RHP Jaden Hill (No. 13 PuRP), RHP Chris McMahon (No. 28 PuRP), RHP Juan Mejia, RHP Case Williams (No. 30 PuRP), C Drew Romo (No. 6 PuRP), INF Sterlin Thompson (No. 7 PuRP) and OF Benny Montgomery (No. 8 PuRP).

As per usual, most of the prospects are from High-A and Double-A. Romo was recently promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque, and has gone 4-for-13 with a triple in three games.

Montgomery was the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2021 (eighth overall) and was assigned to High-A Spokane this year after injury limited him to 62 games in 2022. He slashed .251/.336/.370 in 109 games. Thompson (who hails from Longmont, CO) was taken as the Rockies’ 2022 Supplemental First Round pick in compensation for losing Trevor Story in free agency. Thompson began the year in High-A, but was promoted to Double-A in August. He mashed through his 60 games in Spokane (.323/.399/.520) and cooled off a bit in 34 games in Hartford (.238/.333/.429).

On the pitching side, Hill is the headliner. Hill was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Hill has struggled in Spokane this year, going 0-9 with a 9.48 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in 16 starts. Perhaps this will be an opportunity for him to get back to the form the Rockies were impressed by when they drafted him.

Chris McMahon has also struggled a bit since he was drafted in the second round of the pandemic-shortened 2020 draft. 2022 was another nearly-lost season for McMahon, who was limited to just 28 23 innings due to a lat injury. He was promoted to Double-A this year, where he has posted a 2-3 record, 5.91 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 15 starts.

Case Williams — another Colorado kid — also made the roster. Williams was famously drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2020 draft then traded to the Cincinnati Reds alongside Jeff Hoffman for RHP Robert Stephenson and OF Jameson Hannah in November 2020. Williams was then re-acquired by the Rox alongside Noah Davis in July 2021 for Mychal Givens. This year for Hartford, Williams went 1-11 with a 7.08 ERA and 1.79 WHIP through 23 starts.

The Arizona Fall League kicks off on Monday, October 2!

With all that said, here’s what our writers were up to this week (in a new format)!

To Read

The annual spoiler article (plus Pebble Report) | Kenneth Weber

For the Monday Rockpile, Kenneth wrote about how the Rockies have been playing playoff spoiler over the last week. They took two-of-three from the Chicago Cubs and three-of-four from the San Francisco Giants, denting their playoff hopes significantly. The Cubs entered the week two games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second Wild Card, and finished a half-game back of the Miami Marlins after the series (they are now tied with the Marlins for the third spot). The Giants were overtaken by the Cincinnati Reds and now sit three games out. While the Rockies are just three losses away from their first 100-loss season, they were at least still able to make the playoff races interesting for a minute!

5 reasons to be optimistic about the Colorado Rockies | Renee Dechert

For the Tuesday Rockpile, Renee gave readers five reasons to be optimistic about the Rockies, despite this lost season. She identified the front office’s willingness to make deals (something they haven’t done much in recent history), a lot of new arms pitching for the Rockies while all of their Opening Day starters went down one way or another, the defensive wizardry, the improvement of the offense, and better games overall. Are there other reasons to be optimistic about the 2024 Rockies?

Is a Charlie Blackmon extension worth it? | Skyler Timmins

For the Wednesday Rockpile, Skyler dug deeper into a Charlie Blackmon extension. Renee made the case for a one-year extension a month ago, and Skyler and Evan discussed it on an episode of Affected by Altitude. Blackmon is 36, which is old for a professional athlete, and has been relegated more and more to a full-time DH role since its implementation in the NL. That said, Skyler looked at his offensive contributions as well as his veteran presence in the clubhouse. He agreed that Blackmon deserves a one-year contract, perhaps with a vesting option for 2025, to ride out into the sunset. What do you think?

The Rockies A-Level affiliates are full of All-Stars | Evan Lang

For the Thursday Rockpile, Evan looked down on the farm again. The minor league seasons are wrapping up, and the Rockies’ lower-minor affiliates picked up some hardware! In Low-A Fresno, manager Steve Soliz won California League Manager of the Year, SS Ryan Ritter (HM PuRP) was named a post-season All-Star as well as California League MVP. LHP Michael Prosecky (No. 29 PuRP) and RHP Zach Agnos were also both named post-season All-Stars. In High-A Spokane, OF Jordan Beck (No. 5 PuRP) was named as an All-Star and Northwest League MVP. INF Adael Amador (No. 1 PuRP), OF Yanquiel Fernandez (No. 3 PuRP), LHP Carson Palmquist (No. 16 PuRP) and OF Sterlin Thompson (No. 7 PuRP) were also named All-Stars. Congrats to all the winners!

Doyle’s adjustments already paying off at plate | Joelle Milholm

For the Friday Rockpile, Joelle wrote about Brenton Doyle’s plate adjustments. Doyle has been tearing it up defensively and dominating highlight reels. He should win the NL Gold Glove in center field for his rookie efforts. However, his offense has left something to be desired up until now. Through 117 games, Doyle is slashing just .193/.245/.327 and striking out 35% of the time. But it appears that Doyle has adjusted his plate approach, choking his hands up higher and closing his stance a bit. Since debuting the new stance on September 5, Doyle has slashed .250/.283/.432 in 12 games. The new stance seems to be working and if Doyle is able to combine his incredible defensive with some serviceable offense, he could be the Rockies’ center fielder for a long time.

The Day After: Ryan Feltner reflects on his miraculous comeback | Sam Bradfield

For a non-Rockpile feature, Sam talked to Ryan Feltner about his miraculous comeback. In May, Feltner took a comebacker off the head which resulted in a severe concussion, skull fracture and ruptured ear drum. Feltner documented his recovery all the way up to his first start back on Tuesday, where he threw five scoreless and pitched toe-to-toe with Blake Snell. In a season decimated by pitching injuries, this is a good feel-good story to finish out the year.

To Listen

Affected by Altitude: Bryantman Begins

Skyler and Evan discuss the return of Kris Bryant to the lineup and what it means for rookies and the bench. Meanwhile, should the Rockies bring back Chase Anderson next year? We also take a look at the farm system.

Weekend Discussion Topic

Which prospect(s) are you most excited to see in the Arizona Fall League? Sound off below!

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