Entering the 2020 season, the Colorado Rockies were ranked as one of the worst farm systems in baseball. For example, MLB.com ranked them 27th out of the 30 teams before the start of last season.
That’s not a good sign for a team that was toward the bottom of the pack in each of the last two seasons at the major league level too.
But they did improve slightly in some rankings for 2021.
Baseball America and Keith Law of The Athletic released their rankings of the Rockies farm system entering 2021 and Baseball America ranked the Rockies as 25th while Law ranked them 21st (subscription required for both). You can check out some of what each said, though, in this Twitter thread, courtesy of Renee Dechert of Purple Row and of the Rockies Pitch newsletter (and some of what Law says about the Rockies will be covered for another time).
Why did their rankings improve? To be quite frank, their drafts were one of the very few things that the organization seemingly did well at in 2020. They drafted outfielder Zac Veen with the ninth overall pick. He was ranked as the seventh-best prospect entering the draft by MLB.com and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo compared Veen to Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich when the Rockies drafted him.
Drafting Veen along with catcher Drew Romo in the first round plus signing RHP Chris McMahon (no relation to Ryan McMahon) and LHP Sam Weatherly helped the Rockies farm system tremendously. Veen is currently listed as the the Rockies #1 prospect, per MLB.com with Romo, McMahon, and Weatherly are ranked 5th, 8th, and 17th.
The Rockies traded their 4th round 2020 draft pick, Case Williams, to the Reds in the Jeff Hoffman-Robert Stephenson trade earlier this offseason but the Rockies received OF Jameson Hannah in return as well and Hannah is the Rockies #14 prospect. Williams is currently ranked as the Reds #29 prospect.
It will be a huge year for the minor leaguers for a few reasons. Chief among them will be seeing how they rebound after not having a minor league season in 2020. If some of the talent starts to develop, then, perhaps, fans can see where the team will be heading. But if the Rockies are, once again, ranked in the lower rankings of teams (like they have for the past four seasons), it will give fans and media alike to question the Rockies front office on both MLB and minor league development.