Colorado Rockies: What Jeff Bridich Learned From NFL Teams
ON THE FALCONS: Bridich isn’t wrong when he said the Falcons are good at identifying holes in their roster, and then doing whatever it takes to get those holes patched. But it’s harder for the Rockies, or any other MLB team, to draft for positional needs.
When an NFL team uses a first round pick on a player, it’s usually with the expectation that he will be starting for them next season. A first round pick of an MLB team, however, usually won’t be a starter in the major leagues for at least a few years (and that’s if he ever makes it the big leagues at all).
Identifying a need in free agency and going after a player that fills that role is a smart (if not somewhat obvious) strategy in any sport. But drafting young talent as an MLB franchise is a fundamentally different process than drafting as an NFL franchise.
If Bridich and the Rockies are taking a lesson from the Falcons, it should be having patience in the young talent in-house. After going 8-8 and finishing a distant second in their division in 2015, the Falcons could have blown things up. Instead, they kept the same squad mostly intact, added a few key free agents, and were rewarded with a trip to the Super Bowl.
ON THE PACKERS: Again, Bridich isn’t wrong in praising Green Bay for building from within. Being able to draft and develop talent with consistency is one of the best things you can to build up a team in any sport.
That being said, Green Bay also presents a clear example of the downside of being so reliant upon the draft. They are successful team, but the talent on their roster thins out quickly. Every team, no matter how good the scouting department, will have some years where their draft class is weak. The Packers are also dealing with this catch-22: if you draft well, the team improves, which leads to lower draft picks, which makes it harder to sustain that run of drafting success.
Building the team from within through the draft is a smart, noble goal. But going overboard and ignoring the other areas of team building, like free agency and trades, can be just as dangerous as neglecting the draft.
ON POSITIONAL FLEXIBILITY: It’s hard to say exactly what to make from this quote. On one hand, yeah, Desmond is athletic and can play multiple positions. On the other hand, how exactly are the Rockies going to utilize any of the flexibility? Move Desmond off of first base and you could be looking at either Amarista or Gerardo Parra; either of those would be among the least intimidating first baseman in all of baseball.
Unless, of course, the Rockies are seriously considering having Carlos Gonzalez play some first base this season. Gonzalez can hit enough to play any position, first base included, and fewer days in right field could help keep him fresher throughout the season.
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The Rockies don’t have to make Gonzalez the permanent first baseman, but it would make sense if he logs some time in the infield this season. Not just for Gonzalez’s sake, but it would allow Colorado to fully maximize the positional flexibility that Bridich says he’s looking for.