Reminder: The Rockies’ farm system no longer stinks


The Colorado Rockies minor league system boasts more depth than it once did, making things a bit more intriguing for the otherwise flailing franchise.

Here’s the thing that we Rockies fans know: when the high ranking comes from this particular cantankerous baseball writer, you can trust its objectivity.

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Keith Law of ESPN has historically had beef with the Colorado Rockies. He claims not to, but a certain chippiness has crept through in the past, whether it be with comically low win predictions for the team or with snarky tweets. Furthermore, this is not just the paranoia of Rockies’ fans talking. These issues have been noted by other writers before, including the ‘Cowboy’ Tracy Ringolsby.

Anyhow, the point of this entry is not to whine about Keith Law. I only mention this history to say that when Law ranks the Rockies’ farm system as the eight best in baseball, as he did this week in his 2015 rankings, he probably genuinely thinks so (insider subscription required and encouraged).

As far as explanation is concerned, Law reminds readers that the Rockies were also ranked eighth last year on his list. Two years isn’t quite enough to get too excited, but the arrow is clearly pointed the right direction for a farm system that was barren for so many years.

This would seem to state the obvious, but this ranking has to do with more than Jon Gray and Eddie Butler. It has to do with more than David Dahl and Raimel Tapia. Presumably, a ranking in the top 10 in all of baseball reflects a measure of depth that goes beyond high-profile prospects.

Dare I say that a ranking in the top 10 two years in a row signals an organization with a bright future, even if it’s only in the rankings of one writer?

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From a zoomed out, big picture perspective, here’s the way I process this ranking, along with the fact that the Rockies have six prospects on Law’s top 100 list: for a number of years, there was no hope on the big league level for the Rockies and there was no hope in the minor leagues. With each disappointing finish came another reminder that the Rockies were also whiffing on a number of their high draft picks.

I don’t really know if the Rockies are genuinely a draft-and-develop franchise like they think they are, but that plan was most certainly failing for a number of years. What this ranking would seem to suggest, if nothing else, is that we have a reason to be hopeful.

Baseball fans always have reason to be hopeful, of course, because we are a delusional bunch and we put ourselves through the same cycle of disappointment each year. But in the case of the Rockies, it might be that our hopefulness has a little bit of substance to it.