I say this with a staunch and unblemished record of heterosexuality — I have a man-crush on the Colorado Rockies. That’s right, not just one player, but the entire team.
I usually reserve my man-crushes for individual players like Michael Young, Chase Utley, or back in the day George Brett. However, the Rockies are a different case. I love the way this team plays.
They play great defense, they can beat you with a big fly or small ball, they have a very high baseball IQ, and this team can pitch. They are a very fun team to watch on a night in and night out basis.
However, above everything I just mentioned, there is one thing that stands out to me when I watch this team. It’s the fact that the Rockies are winning with home grown talent.
Everywhere you look on the field, the Rockies have players that they drafted and groomed in their farm system. Look at the core of this team…
Chris Iannetta – Drafted in the 4th round of the 2004 draft
Todd Helton- Drafted in the 1st round of the 1995 draft
Clint Barmes – Drafted in the 10th round of the 2000 draft
Troy Tulowitzki- Drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft
Ian Stewart – Drafted in the 1st round of the 2003 draft
Seth Smith – Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2004 draft
Dexter Fowler – Drafted in the 14th round of the 2004 draft
Brad Hawpe – Drafted in the 11th round of the 2000 draft
Garrett Atkins – Drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 draft
Ryan Spilborghs – Drafted in the 7th round of the 2002 draft
Ubaldo Jimenez – Signed as an amateur free agent in 2001
Aaron Cook – Drafted in the 2nd round of the 1997 draft
Other key contributors such as Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street, Jason Marquis, and Jason Hammel have been acquired via trades. Only Matt Herges, Josh Fogg, and Juan Rincon were signed to free agent contracts and their contacts were all minor league deals.
To break down the Rockies current 25-man roster, 52 percent are home grown talent (drafted, signed as an undrafted free agent, or signed as an amateur free agent and developed in the Rockies system), 36 percent came from trades, and just 12 percent came from minor league free agent contracts.
That 52 percent would be higher (64 percent) if Dexter Fowler and Aaron Cook weren’t currently on the DL. To have over 50 percent of your talent come from drafts and amateur free agent signings is amazing.
It just goes to show what a tremendous job Dan O’Dowd has done recently in reshifting his strategy of handing out large free agent contracts to reinvesting that money back into their minor league system, scouting, and the draft.
Back in the day, the Rockies tried to play with the big boys in the free agent signing game. Mike Hampton, the late Darryl Kile, Denny Neagle, Larry Walker, Darryl Hamilton and the legendary Tom Goodwin all signed free agent contracts to come to Colorado.
Those days are long gone. The Rockies have found their winning formula and the ingredients have come from within.
Tags: Aaron Cook, Brad Hawpe, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Iannetta, Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies, Darryl Hamilton, Darryl Kile, Denny Neagle, Dexter Fowler, Garrett Atkins, Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Jason Hammel, Jason Marquis, Larry Walker, Ryan Spilborghs, Seth Smith, Todd Helton, Tom Goodwin, Troy Tulowitski, Ubaldo Jimenez