The Colorado Rockies are in the bottom of the National League standings for the fifth year in a row. But another more subjective scale of measurement may provide some hope for the Rockies and fans of their organization: farm system rankings. 

After Tuesday’s 10-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, their ninth consecutive defeat at the hands of their NL West foes, Colorado fell to 26-36 on the season. Aspirations of being around .500 are becoming less and less feasible.  

The correlation between successful draft and development — something the Rockies pride themselves in above all else — and wins at the Major League level does exist, but it’s not guaranteed.

When Colorado dropped heavily in organization rankings from 2012-13, it showed up in their record from 2015-16. Of course, drafting Jon Gray (2013), Kyle Freeland (2014) and Brendan Rodgers (2015) did much to elevate them into one of the top 10 farm systems in 2015-17. Consecutive postseasons, a first for the club, followed in 2017-18.

At the start of 2023, Kiley McDaniel of ESPN moved up Colorado to 16th, an improvement from 23rd in 2022. Even more of a jump since last year was reflected by Keith Law of The Athletic who boosted their ranking from 24th to 12th.

Those who follow the Kansas City Royals do not have it quite as lucky. Not only is their club 18-43, a record that should easily be the worst at this point in any season that doesn’t include a team like the Oakland Athletics, but their farm system is in disarray. No joy in 2023, little hope in 2024 and beyond. By winning two of three from the Royals on their home turf over the weekend, the Rockies underlined that they are not at the bottom of the food chain in all categories.

May 29, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder Brenton Doyle (9) rounds third base and scores a run as Colorado Rockies third base coach/infield coach Warren Schaeffer (34) waves him around during the second inning of the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Last week’s seven-game road trip began with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was a cautious reminder that Colorado was also far from the top. The four-game sweep by the D-backs highlighted the difference between two organizations trying to get back to October baseball, something that has been evading both since the late 2010s.

Consider that the Rockies made the postseason in 2018 (which Arizona did not that year) and that Arizona lost well over 100 games recently (which Colorado has never lost). It might be surprising to realize Colorado (356-413, .463) has barely been better than Arizona (353-415, .460).

During the offseason, GM Bill Schmidt compared the development of prospects within his organization to those of their Southwest rival, saying Arizona’s crop was “a year ahead or so.” It’s unclear how much emphasis should be on “or so.”

Jun 1, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Corbin Carroll (7) celebrates his walk off two RBI single against the Colorado Rockies during the ninth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks have the second-best record (36-25) in the NL thanks to several young players who have been a driving force for the organization. Corbin Carroll, one of the favorites for NL Rookie of the Year, was outstanding against the Rockies, tormenting them with extra base hits, stolen bases and even a walk-off, two-out hit that sealed the sweep.

A slew of pitching prospects like Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson are contributing this season with even more waiting to make an impact, including Druw Jones, son of 10-time Gold Glove Award winner Andruw Jones.  

San Francisco poses a good test for Colorado in this series. They’ve been besieged with injuries — who hasn’t, really — and their rookies like Rule 5 pick Blake Sabol and 2B Casey Schmitt have been finding success.

Patrick Bailey, a catcher enthusiastically viewed as a replacement for the retired Buster Posey, made his 14th start of the season on Tuesday and recorded his fourth career multi-hit game. By going 3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple, he became the first Giants’ player since 1979 to have at least three games of three or more hits through the first 15 games of his career.

For Colorado, a changing of the guard is beginning to take place. Brenton Doyle and Ezequiel Tovar have arrived. Nolan Jones and Elehuris Montero are getting opportunities at first base while C.J. Cron remains on the injured list with a back strain.

Jun 2, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman Nolan Jones (22) reaches second against the Kansas City Royals after hitting a two run double in the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the pitching side, Noah Davis and Gavin Hollowell are chomping at the bit in Triple-A Albuquerque for their next opportunity. Several more are waiting their turn.

Time will tell if the farm system rankings are reflected in the actual standings over the next few seasons for the pals in purple. If the correlation is to be believed, Schmidt will have his work cut out for him at the trade deadline as he drops his club in the standings in order to rise in the rankings and create the next postseason contender for Colorado.