Here is the quote from Bridich on relying upon younger players vs. free agents…
"“I believe it can be a combination. I think we have very talented young players. Some of them struggle to stay on the field. Some of them spent a lot of time this year learning lessons at the Major League level on how pitchers attack them and how to survive or to succeed in roles where you’re not always playing every single day like you did at the minor league level. “Their level of talent is not lost on us. But being a playoff team and having those expectations and being able to make adjustments at the Major League level against Major League pitchers, against Major League pitching staffs, against Major League coaching staffs, against Major League front offices that now have an infinite amount of data at their disposal, those are all real situations at the Major League level that young players need to learn from and learn about to help them. “That’s a long way of saying that it will likely be a combination. I look forward to hopefully these younger big leaguers now improving and helping us win games in the future. But it’s tough to predict at the very beginning of free agency.”"
So what does this mean? In my opinion, he believes players like Dahl, McMahon and Hampson have more growth to do before they can be counted upon as everyday players for the Rockies.
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Dahl had a tremendous end to the regular season with a home run barrage that helped the Rockies force Game 163 in Los Angeles for the division crown. However, it was at the end of yet another season that saw Dahl miss time with an injury. It sounds like (judging from the “struggle to stay on the field” portion of the quote) that Bridich needs to see a full season out of Dahl before he knows exactly what he has in the 24-year-old outfielder.
Much has been said about Colorado’s usage of their younger players versus their reliance on more experienced players. Last season, there were steps taken by Dahl and McMahon to prove they can contribute on a consistent level at the Major League level. However, the lack of regular playing time makes it tough to gauge exactly what a full season of contributions from them would look like.
The Rockies know the window for winning is now, especially with Nolan Arenado’s contract situation up in the air. With that, can the Rockies wait for a young player to mature at the plate? The “need to learn” is ramped up quickly when it feels like there is a clock ticking for the franchise to take another step forward in 2019.
With Gerardo Parra and Carlos Gonzalez extremely unlikely to return to the Rockies, as well as the status of DJ LeMahieu up in the air, Colorado will have opportunities for their young players to contribute next season. However, don’t be surprised if, once again, there are veterans blocking their path to a huge number of at-bats.