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(3/19/23) Scottsdale, AZ- Greetings from Salt River Fields where the Yard Goats continue their Spring training. Today the Yard Goats will participate in a “Camp Day,” which is when all the Rockies affiliates scrimmage against their own farm teams. This gives the Colorado decision makers the opportunity to see all the players at the same complex. Usually when the Yard Goats and Triple-A Isotopes are home then the Single-A Indians and Grizzlies are away. The Rockies, still with many Yard Goats on the roster, are on the road against the Cleveland Guardians.

Rockies Winning in the Minor Leagues

The Colorado Rockies won the second most games in the minor leagues last season with 395 victories (Tampa Bay 411). The Yard Goats were in the playoff hunt in both the first and second halves. Low-A Fresno made the playoffs with a division title and High-A Spokane had a good club as well. It is expected that many of the players from the Grizzlies and Indians will make their way to Hartford this season and keep the Yard Goats competitive in 2023.

Great Opportunity for Minor League Players to get Promoted

It seems to me like minor league players are getting to the Major Leagues much quicker these days than the process ten years ago. It used to be that you would spend a season at every level in the minors (Low-A, High-A, Double-A, Triple-A), and often multiple years at Double and Triple-A. The Yard Goats had four players from last year’s club reach the majors and some players that began the season in Low-A finished in Hartford. Chris Forbes, who is the Director of Player Development for the Colorado Rockies, says that they will promote a player when they feel he is ready for the next step. “We want to be aggressive with the right guys and the kids honestly tell us when they are ready. I feel our depth has gotten exponentially better. Hunter Goodman and Case Williams are good examples as they played at three levels in the minor leagues last season (Fresno, Spokane, Hartford). Having guys go to three levels is aggressive but you don’t really know until you challenge them and we are intrigued by the guys that can do it.” What a great opportunity for the players in the Rockies organization.

Competition is Underway with Roster Spots on the line

There are still some questions on the Yard Goats opening day roster but now that the Spring Training games are being played the evaluators can make some decisions. “Guys are going to start to separate themselves in the games,” Chris Forbes said. “We had some pitching injuries last year, and now they are getting healthy and starting to get into the games. It’s an exciting time to be playing games and get to this next chapter of Spring Training.”

Yard Goats Hitting Well in Camp

Yard Goats hitting coach Tom Sutaris has been impressed with the hitters that he has seen in Scottsdale. “It’s an exciting group to work with this spring training with some good young talent,” Sutaris said. “We saw some of these guys late last year in Hartford with Julio Carreras, Zac Veen and Hunter Goodman. The guys have been working hard and are hungry to get better.”

Yard Goats Pitching Has Chance to be Good

Yard Goats pitching coach Blaine Beatty likes what he sees with some of the pitchers we may have in Hartford in a few weeks. “We’ve got some really good arms this season,” said Betty. “There has been a lot of movement going on in this organization, and hopefully we can donate some guys to the major leagues at some point during the season and keep that escalator moving.”

2023 Top 30 Prospects

MLB Pipeline Recently released its top 30 prospects for the Colorado Rockies with several Yard Goats and future Yard Goats on the list. Last year’s shortstop Ezequiel Tovar who began last season at Hartford and finished the year in the Major Leagues is ranked as #1. Outfielder Zac Veen who is expected to return to the Yard Goats this season is #2 in the Rockies system. Outfielders Michael Toglia (#12) and Brenton Doyle (#16) along with C/1B Hunter Goodman (#15), Pitcher Joe Rock (#18), and 1B Grant Lavigne (#19) round out the top 20. Pitchers Gavin Hollowell (#24) who was the Yard Goats closer last season before earning a promotion to Colorado, Case Williams (#25) and Ryan Rolison (#28) also made the list.

Thanks for reading and more to come!

-The Voice of the Yard Goats

Jeff Dooley

Yard Goats Spring Training Radio Show

Tune in Friday's from 7-8, I will be hosting a live show from Salt River Fields on the Yard Goats flagship radio station AM 1410 & FM 100.9. It can also be heard on the iheart radio app or online We will hear from some players and coaches and dive into what the 2023 season may look like.