Colorado Rockies GM Bill Schmidt addressed the media on Saturday in the same dugout occupied by several of the prized prospects touted as the reason for optimism.
Opening with remarks that thanked the fans for supporting his team, Schmidt highlighted the future of the franchise in the form of their farm system.
“Needless to say, the season hasn’t met our expectations, but at the same point a lot of good things went on that don’t show up here every day,” before adding, “And I say that in terms of our minor leagues and some of the foundational pieces that we’re going to need going forward.”
Schmidt spent significant amounts of the 14 minutes discussing the youth of the organization.
Ezequiel Tovar and Michael Toglia from the big league roster were emphasized as well as those not quite ready to contribute in the big leagues, like Zac Veen and Drew Romo.
Even when trying to show enthusiasm for what’s to come in 2023, it ultimately sounded suggestive that 2024, 2025 and 2026 as the years for true hope with the Rockies.
“I still believe we have pieces here to be good. We still need some more. We’re not where we need to be. I’m optimistic with some of our young players that are coming in the seasons that they’ve had. Will they be here beginning next year? Probably not, but they’re not too far behind. And the depth that we’re building gives me reason to be excited. And the fans should be excited.”
When pressed about specifics for improving his club, Schmidt offered vague responses even after being asked to clarify.
“Improve our offense. And we’re gonna need to improve our pitching depth,” he said.
Schmidt did acknowledge specific areas of weakness that hindered the 2022 season.
The defense was much less than optimal, especially when compared to the high standards often set. Situational hitting “left a lot to be desired at times.”
A vote of confidence was given to Bud Black and it sounded like the rest of the coaching staff would be safe too.
Ultimately, the absence of the $182 million star left fielder was the biggest disappointment this season.
“I think losing (Kris) Bryant affected not only him, but it affects the rest of the lineup,” Schmidt added.
The offense needed addressing in the offseason and though the need for power is as evident as it was in 2021, Schdmit recognized several positives about the offensive side.
Randal Grichuk: “I think that one played out for us.”
José Iglesias: “What is he, top five in the National League in hitting? I don’t know if anybody thought that.”
C.J. Cron: “(He) had a very good year. Hopefully he’ll get his 30th (home run) here in the next week.”
But it was the loss of Bryant, the one Schmidt referred to as an aircraft carrier for production, that was key in the down season.
Colorado will have five months this offseason to figure out how to correct course for 2023 before playing Spring Training games at Salt River Fields and six until they return to Coors Field.
Critical to this plan, according to Schmidt, are the rookies.
Tovar began 2021 in Low-A and Toglia was in High-A at the time. Now both are integral parts for rebuilding the franchise into a contender.
With nearly all of their most promising prospects having spent some time at Low-A Fresno, just about anything is possible in regards to debuts next season.
As far as when these prodigies will become essential for impacting the win total, that may take a little while longer than anyone can admit.
(Photo Credit: Colorado Rockies)