One of the things that fans look forward to the most in Spring Training is seeing some of the past legends of their favorite team rejoin the team as guest instructors. With Spring Training looking different than usual this offseason since no MLB players or 40-man roster players are there, it is just minor leaguers working with the instructors on the backfields.
At least in the case of the Colorado Rockies, a few of the minor leaguers were very much like fans on Monday as they got to see some Colorado Rockies legends and pick their brains. Among those joining the Rockies as guest instructors this spring training are Rockies legends Todd Helton, Carlos González, and Pedro Astacio.
Colorado Rockies prospects are learning from some legends
After some of the Colorado Rockies prospects were a bit shy to introduce themselves to the three Rockies legends, they learned and will continue to learn a lot in the coming days from Todd Helton, Carlos González, and Pedro Astacio.
Rockies farm director Chris Forbes spoke with Allentuck on why they bring back some of the former players in Spring Training.
“You can’t understand what we’re trying to be without understanding where we’ve been,” said farm director Chris Forbes to Danielle Allentuck of The Denver Gazette. “Those guys have played a major role in where we’ve been. You’re talking about two of the best who put on our uniform.”
Helton mainly worked with first base prospect Michael Toglia. Toglia, who made it to Double-A Hartford last season, was the Rockies #6 prospect in 2021, according to MLB.com.
According to Allentuck, Helton’s report on Toglia was good. In the words of Allentuck, “Toglia moves well for a big guy, has good hands and can swing the bat well.”
Helton is considering becoming a coach on a more regular basis but he wants to focus more on teaching minor leaguers, like Toglia. Helton also wouldn’t mind being a roving minor league instructor.
“I’m willing to go help out,” Helton said. “I’m more than willing to go to different parks and watch the younger guys play.”
As for González, he isn’t looking to become a coach, at least right now, but he is still close to many of the MLB players with the Rockies, since he played with the Rockies more recently than Helton and Astacio.
González has three kids, including twin daughters who will turn eight years old later this year, so he is more focused on his kids at this point. However, he was impacted by Rockies legends like Larry Walker and Vinny Castilla helping him so he wanted to do the same for the next generation of Rockies.
One of the Rockies prospects that was eager to talk to González was top prospect Zac Veen.
“I’m sure there’s some secret in there that he hasn’t told anyone,” Veen told Allentuck. “When you pick these guys’ brains enough, hopefully you can get that one thing that can help you. That can be a career-changer.”
Perhaps, over the coming days and weeks, that can happen for a few minor leaguers, who will be receiving a lot of attention from the MLB coaching staff and front office with the lockout looming for what will likely be a long time.