Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Optimism is Depressing
2006-02-01 00:15
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Tracy Ringolsby is pretty much always willing to buy whatever the Rockies are selling, but he doesn't always get to do it for a national site. Ringolsby's piece for CBS SportsLine this week is called "Rockies do nothing -- and that has made all the difference."

The strongest argument for the Rockies contending in 2006 is the old standby: none of the other teams in their division are much good either. The rest of Ringolsby's article strains credibility. Describing Danny Ardoin's 2.4 VORP last year as "an unexpected lift" is a stretch. Listing Garrett Atkins and Matt Holliday's raw stats from last year without noting their violent home/road splits is a bit disingenuous as well. Aaron Cook's budding stardom is something I hope the rest of the baseball world will pick up on in 2006. But Cook, Jeff Francis, and Jason Jennings do not yet have the credentials to be described as a "Big Three." They're not really even a Medium Three.

Tracy saves the worst exaggeration for last: "What is really scary for the rest of the NL West [is that] many of the Rockies' top prospects haven't arrived yet." Well, that's true of most teams. "Prospects" by definition have not arrived. Trouble is, the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks have vastly better farm systems than Colorado, and as we've noted, all of the Rockies' real promising young players are two levels or more away from the majors. While it's true that the franchise has had a very quiet offseason, they were fairly active in the trade market during the summer of 2005, and received essentially nothing of value for their troubles. Apparently no one wants to read an honest appraisal of an already bad team's further missteps, preferring pie-in-the-sky provocations like Ringolsby's. Well, we're always here to set the record straight.

A Post piece clarifies the extent of the team's interest in Josh Fogg. Also of note herein: Sunny Kim today becomes only the second player in team history to actually enter arbitration. Yorvit Torrealba could become the third next week, but precedent certainly suggests that Dan O'Dowd will get him signed before then.

2006-02-03 06:33:58
1.   Samthefan
Ringolsby apparently won some sort of baseball writers award for his work, which is very strange. I know beat writers are supposed to avoid contraversial opinions and all, but the Rockies suck in most if not all facets of the game, and he really really stretches it when he says the team has a future. Sometimes when he's on the radio i want to hurt him for being either a. paid off by the rockies (not likely, what with the cheapness) or b. brainwashed by the rockies.
2006-02-03 09:33:50
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
What's really obnoxious about this sort of thing is that FINALLY, after years of wasteful spending and empty promises, the Rockies are sort of on the right track when it comes to improving the overall health of the franchise. Write that, Tracy, instead of making more promises that Colorado can't keep. I guess that sort of measured, thoughtful take isn't what gets baseball writers into the Hall of Fame, sadly.
2006-02-11 14:46:53
3.   dsfan

Excellent point on distant prospects being of little tangible value. This stuff gets overblown all the time. Every club boasts about a wealth of prospects "low in the system." What a crock! The journey gets a lot harder in Double-A and even that's not the greatest proving ground. I'm skeptical about all prospects, but it seems pretty much the consensus that the Rockies have fewer good prospects than the Diamondbacks and Dodgers. If you buy the argument that it's harder to develop pitching at Coors Field, then the Rockies' farm system is even weaker than that. And who knows if the major league bobos can maximize the talent of the few bona fide prospects who do, in fact, emerge. Last I checked, Juan Uribe was helping the White Sox win a World Series and Aaron Miles was impersonating an out machine and a second baseman with poor range.

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