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DENVER – Colorado Rockies rookie and one of their long praised prospects Jeff Hoffman has provided the club some of their best pitching performances of the season. This same Hoffman has struggled to stay in the big leagues, to no fault of his own.
The issue with Hoffman, and the issue fans want to continue to talk about of, ‘who stays in the rotation,’ is the exact opposite of an issue. Hoffman’s situation—the one taking place right now in the rotation—is just a microcosm of what is happening everywhere in the Rockies organization: they got good.
The big league club has been as much as 18 games over .500 this season, something only done this season and in 2009, twice over the franchise’s 25-year history. It’s not a fluke or fickle thing either, this has been a long time in the making.
Perhaps the most ridiculous part about the Rockies having a real shot at winning the NL West is that this is the first season in what is a legitimate championship window.
Let alone the four rookies currently on the big league staff and three others all under the age of 27, there are more talented arms following Hoffman. Last year’s first-round pick Riley Pint, who has the most potential of them all with a 102 mph fastball, is a few years away but he demonstrates the point that more is to come, maybe the best is yet to come.
Ryan Castellani the Rockies No. 4 prospect (a 50 grade 21-year-old pitcher with a 60 grade fastball at Double-A), Ben Bowden at No. 10 (a valuable reliever for some dominate Vanderbilt teams), Yency Almonte at No. 12 (pretty much the strikeout king of minor league baseball and only 23), and Sam Howard, Parker French and Harrison Musgrave should all be big leaguers in the next calendar year. Pint will probably come around in 2019 with Peter Lambert—some argue could be better than Pint—who sits at No. 6 and Robert Tyler the No. 38 pick in 2016.
But every single one of those names underscore who might be the future of the club and that’s Brendan Rodgers.
The third overall pick from 2015 Rodgers, who went right after college products Dansby Swanson and Alex Bregman, is almost three years younger than the High-A California league average and he is lighting it up. In 42 games he’s batting .402, slugging .707, with 11 homers and 41 RBI. Oh and he’s also riding a 19 game hitting streak and has named the Cal League’s Player of the Week three times.
It’s hard to peg Rodgers as the absolute future of an organization that also features a 26-year-old Nolan Arenado but them two coupled on the left side is a scary thought. Those two with the aforementioned names, young rotation and an perpetually-imporving Charlie Blackmon and Colorado is set.
While the Rockies big league team might be in their best position after 65 games in franchise history, it’s the Rockies organization being in an even better one that should drive such confidence. The Rockies, right now, are in the best spot they have ever been in as a franchise for sustainable success.