In a very non-Colorado Rockies move, the team inked new face of the franchise, former MVP Kris Bryant to a seven-year megadeal this week. One of several reasons this news shocked the baseball world is that in recent years, Colorado had limited its free agent acquisitions to reclamation projects brought in on minor league deals such as C.J. Cron and Connor Joe.
While the Bryant signing signaled a departure from the typical Rockies offseason approach, there was a deal reached before Bryant’s that, for better or worse, felt very “Rockies.” That was the signing of outfielder Scott Schebler to a minor league deal.
Can Scott Schebler be the next C.J. Cron signing for the Colorado Rockies?
One would be forgiven for forgetting that new Colorado Rockies non-roster invitee Scott Schebler hit 30 home runs in 2017 with the Cincinnati Reds. He came out of nowhere that season and basically returned to nowhere once it was over. In an injury-plagued 2018, he followed his breakout performance up with 17 homers the following year.
Since then, injuries and inconsistency have limited Schebler to just two home runs in 45 games with the Reds, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Angels over the last three years. He has not hit a big league home run since 2019.
After leaving the Reds organization, Schebler’s career has followed a very cyclical pattern. He was designated for assignment, signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, designated for assignment again, signed another minor league deal with an invitation to spring training, designated for assignment again, and so on and so forth.
Now, the Colorado Rockies are the team that has signed him to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Could this be the place where he finally rediscovers his swing? Could he be the Rockies’ next C.J. Cron? Or is he just the next Matt Adams?
There are a few things about Schebler that remind me of Cron. They are both former 30-home run hitters who missed time with injuries before coming to Colorado on minor league deals. Cron had a longer track record of success but he was also healthier. 30 home runs are nothing to scoff at, even if they came at homer-happy Great American Ball Park. Perhaps another hitter-friendly ballpark such as Coors Field could jump-start Schebler’s revival?
One argument against a career resurrection for Schebler is that he is in his age-31 season. But, Cron also was 31 last year when he had the best season of his career. If Schebler beat all the odds and became a threat at the plate again, he would profile best as either an additional right field option or a potential DH.
All that to say, a career revival for Schebler would still be surprising. But spring training is a time for optimism, right? Maybe the cycle continues and he is no longer with the organization in a couple of months. Or maybe he takes this opportunity to prove to the baseball world that he still has a little bit of pop left in his bat.