Looking back, the prevailing story for the Colorado Rockies organization in 2022 might be what has been going on at the minor league level.
At a time when the on-field product at 20th and Blake has been underwhelming, even for a team with low expectations, a sudden surge of young talent from the minor leagues has sparked hope for the faithful who have stuck around to the end of another lost season.
For some of the organization’s top prospects, this development was expected, even if a little ahead of schedule. But for others, it seemed to come out of nowhere. One of the best examples is outfielder/first baseman Sean Bouchard.
At 26, Bouchard was not considered a prospect entering the season. He was a ninth-round pick from the 2017 draft who had steadily climbed through the minors with solid, but not outstanding play. But like much of the Colorado Rockies‘ farm system, something clicked for Bouchard in 2022.
Opening the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, Bouchard set career-highs across the board. He hit .300 with an impressive 1.038 OPS while smacking 20 homers, driving in 56, and tacking on 12 stolen bases in just 69 games. Though his name was not on anyone’s list of projected call-ups when spring training opened, his torrid season with the Yard Goats was enough to earn him a brief call-up in June and then a longer look in September.
Since his call-up, Bouchard has continued to impress, hitting .288 with an .895 OPS and an OPS+ of over 130 in 20 games.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Bouchard has been his plate discipline. In his brief time with the Rockies, he has walked 19 times to only 18 strikeouts. He has collected a pair of home runs and nine RBI to go along with his solid on-base skills.
The question now is whether Bouchard, who likely felt a world away from the Major Leagues this spring, has earned a second look in 2023. Though not a big-name prospect like some of the younger call-ups we’ve seen at the tail end of this season, it would appear the answer is yes. And if his season in Albuquerque is any indication, he might just take that chance and run with it.