According to ESPN, the Rockies have none of baseball’s top 100 players
Mar 23, 2023, 3:09 PM
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
As if the expectations for the Rockies’ 2023 season couldn’t get dimmer, an ESPN ranking of the top 100 players in Major League Baseball did not include a single player in purple pinstripes.
It comes as no surprise in the wake of preseason prognostications that had the Rockies ticketed for fifth place — even before a potential season-ending injury to reigning Gold Glove second baseman Brendan Rodgers, back trouble for Charlie Blackmon and some calamitous appearances for closer Daniel Bard in the World Baseball Classic.
The Rockies are the only club in the NL West without a top-100 player.
San Diego has six, Los Angeles has five, Arizona has three and San Francisco has one. But the Padres and Dodgers each have a Major League-leading two top-10 players.
Ex-Dodgers general manager Dan Evans pointed out that four other teams also lack top-100 players: Cincinnati, Detroit, Oakland and Washington. The Nationals and Athletics are particularly notable because they went through tear-downs in the last 24 months. Stars of those clubs’ recent contending teams are with teams such as San Diego, Atlanta, Philadelphia and the Mets, among others.
The @Rockies are one of five big league teams without a player on that @ESPN Top 100 list (Reds, Washington, Detroit, and Oakland).
— Dan Evans (@DanEvans108) March 23, 2023
Not coincidentally, the five teams without an ESPN top-100 player are also the ones with the lowest projected win percentages from Fangraphs.com. Colorado’s projection sits at the bottom of MLB: a 64-98 forecast — 13 games back of the projection for fourth-place Arizona.
Of course, what is worse: having no players in the top 100 and low expectations, or having the top two players and being a perennial loser?
Because in contrast to the Rockies, the Anaheim have players 1 and 2: Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. But in their five seasons together, they have no winning seasons. The Rockies managed one winning season and playoff appearance in that span.
There are many paths to being out of contention. For the Rockies, it’s a major-league roster that appears to lack even moderate star power.
That being said, if the Rockies have at least one top-100 player by the season’s end, that is progress. A bounce-back season for Kris Bryant or a breakout rookie campaign for shortstop Ezequiel Tovar could make that happen.
However, one potential candidate — Rodgers — could miss the season following a shoulder injury.
And thus, the Rockies beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.