Despite a fourth consecutive losing season and limitations to their $182 million star left fielder Kris Bryant due to various injuries, the 2022 season for the Colorado Rockies will be remembered for one thing.
The New Kids On The Block.
A total of ten players made their Major League debut, fourth-most of any Rockies season in their 30-year history.
Top prospects such as Ezequiel Tovar, Elehuris Montero and Michael Toglia all premiered and celebrated successful first campaigns. Others like Brian Serven, Jake Bird and Sean Bouchard all contributed in significant ways and look poised to do so for several more seasons to come. Two pitchers, Noah Davis and Gavin Hollowell, even jumped over Triple-A and were promoted from Double-A Hartford.
The debut of career minor leaguer Wynton Bernard was equally memorable as the 31-year-old’s journey and heart-warming personality grew a following from the Coors Field faithful.
There were also breakout performances from players like Brendan Rodgers and Alan Trejo who are still establishing themselves in different ways in the big leagues.
With more kids in the minor leagues awaiting their moment in purple pinstripes, including a talented group from the 2022 MLB Draft, the future appears bright for a franchise hoping to climb out of the National League West cellar and reach the postseason for the first time since 2018.
Even after getting a promotion to the Show at the incredibly young age of 21, Tovar continued to turn heads (two hits in the first two pitches he saw as a big leaguer), make some memorable highlights (first career home run came against Clayton Kershaw) and provide hope for a resurgence back to relevance for the Rockies.
To call Toglia the heir apparent to Todd Helton’s throne at first base would not be kind to anyone, especially a player still looking to make his mark in the Majors. But Colorado’s top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft showed promise last season by slugging from both sides of the plate and showing an ability to play Gold Glove caliber defense.
The Rockies farm system made improbable leaps during the 2022 campaign, going from 24th at the start of the season to 9th by the time MLB Pipeline updated their rankings in late-August. Much of that success came thanks to several players added to Colorado’s 40-man roster in November, some of whom could contribute almost immediately in 2023.
2022 MLB Draft
Colorado’s 2022 draft class marked the third-straight season the organization took players with intriguing upside in their first three selections. Considering they invited their first eight picks to Coors Field this summer, the club is banking on getting a lot more out of this class than those in the mid-to-late 2010s.
Bernard may become a footnote in franchise history should the minor league free agent sign elsewhere this offseason, but fans who paid attention to his beautiful story of triumph will never forget why this young man is so special.
Not only did the rest of the baseball world take notice of Rodgers’ bat following a three-homer performance punctuated with a walk-off home run, B-Rod was honored for his defensive abilities with the first Gold Glove Award by a Rockie second baseman since 2018. Montero debuted and delighted, while Trejo rose to prominence after being viewed by some as merely a bench piece.
That Trade Deadline Thing
With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Colorado decided to stand pat at the August 2 trade deadline. Other clubs dealt away expiring contracts for promising prospects; however, the Rockies could not find such options and were the only one of MLB’s 30 teams to not make a trade this summer.