The 2021 season saw significant progress in the Colorado Rockies ranch system, especially at the lower tiers. Eloris Monteiro, Zach Finn and Ezequiel Tovar have produced great seasons and cemented their places in the organization’s future plans. Others – such as Michael Tuglia, Chris McMahon, Ryan Field and Sean Bouchard – have maintained the upward trajectory in their development. Meanwhile, players like Ryan Feltner, Willie MacIver and Dugan Darnell have performed well above expectations, rapidly progressing through the system and putting themselves on the radar going forward.
Whether a potential client holds lofty expectations or not, their performance in the field is the true testament to their progress. After witnessing so many successful rookies in 2021, who should we be watching in 2022?
Here’s one player from each affiliate branch for the full season and I think it fits the bill for next season:
trio: 2B / SS Coco Montes
University of South Florida’s Coco Montes was selected in the 15th round of the 2018 draft, and prospect viewers may not have a roof tempted to gravitate toward him, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had success so far in his career. Montes – who was named Pioneer League Player of the Year in 2018 – took home his title at Double-A Hartford in 2021, scoring .764 OPS in 116 games. He saw a modest jump in strike rate, but also increased walk rate from his 2019 campaign while providing more pop than previous full season totals.
Like Alan Trejo last season, Montes may not move the needle as much as his potential impact on a top player. But Colorado’s mediocre prospect group is weak at the upper echelons – as Trejo did in 2021 – Montes could stand out if he performs well in Triple-A next season.
double A: LHP Nick Bush
Leaving Louisiana State University, Nick Bush was the first Tigers player selected when the Rockies named him in the eighth round of the 2018 draft. Bush improved every season in the Colorado system and finished 2021 in the Double-A Hartford after posting an excellent 2.58 ERA across 52 ⅓ rounds at High-A Spokane to start the year. It did take a few bumps after the upgrade, but it also showed flashes of success in that time as well.
Bush’s shooting arsenal relies more on deception and leadership than on power, but shooters like Kyle Freeland and Austin Jumper have shown that can be enough to succeed in Colorado. The starting depth in the organization is poor and Bosch could rise quickly in that group if he manages to achieve success in his first full season at Al Ksar.
High A: LHP Joe Rock
For a bowler who has only eight rounds in the Arizona Complex League so far in his professional career, High-A Spokane could be a fierce task for left-handed Joe Rock. But those eight rounds — along with the draft pedigree that made him the 68th overall pick in 2021 — show that Rock’s plus-fastball and wipeout slider has the potential to hit Spokane by the end of 2022.
The rocker will turn 22 in July, which will be on par with the low-ranking A-ranks. But if the low walking totals and high strike rates between college and pro ball last season and parts of the current High-A rotation from the 2021 graduate continue as expected, there is Good chance Rock will win this strong appointment with the Rockies’ player development division in 2022.
Low A: 3B Burnable Heating
Fresno Grizzlies could be a very interesting team to watch again next season, with several CPL and DSL players on their streak for their first game of the full season. However, the return of third baseman Warming Bernabel is a name that may become familiar to Rockies fans in 2022.
Bernabeu missed the AFC Champions League last season, scoring 1,197 OPS in 22 games before earning a promotion at the end of the season to Fresno. Still filling his 6’0 tyre, he is due to turn 20 in June and will once again be younger than his opponent. His track record in this division is promising thus far, and if he manages to do well over the course of an entire season, he could join Ezeqiuel Tovar as the anticipated big-league starter at the Rockies Stadium.
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HOF Debate: Is Helton Dedicated? | mlb.com
Alison Vouter, Manny Randawa, Bill Ladson and Thomas Harding meet to discuss Todd Hilton’s nomination for Cooperstown. After a lengthy discussion of Helton’s biography and Coors Field’s perennial argument, all four concluded that Helton would be voted on at the HOF in the end.
MLB negotiations likely to resume soon, but NBA history shows real action awaits | athlete ($)
Evan Drillic continues his excellent coverage of the current shutdown with a report on a key economic proposal coming from the league that will likely be delivered to the players’ union later this month. While details of the proposal are not yet available, Drelish discusses past NBA business negotiations with a source to help provide context about the current baseball climate. While baseball is experiencing its first hiatus in 30 years, the NBA has had four in that time frame—the most recent of which occurred in 2011.
Both sides currently have a frame of reference for what they want to achieve and what concessions can be made along the way. Even with that approaching and spring training beginning quickly, that doesn’t mean a deal should be expected any time soon.
Nothing happens until the last minute,” said a person involved in the NBA job negotiations. “It is a very primitive mindset that people feel that the other side will not make the best offer until they look into the crater of the future.
The aim of (closure) in general is to impose economic pressures. And it won’t happen at first, because people don’t feel it. They don’t get paid. The season has not started. So, if the goal is to impose economic pressure, then, in theory, it won’t be effective until you get to the end.”
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