Appreciating the Rockies and Rays

During Monday’s All-Day chat here at FanGraphs, someone asked our favorite teams and I piped up with the Colorado Rockies (I’m watching them right now) and the Tampa Bay Rays. My main reason for listing those two teams is simple: They both developed much of their own talent. As a prospect follower, that’s a pretty big positive.

So, let’s have a look at exactly where the Rays’ and Rox’ 2010 Opening Day talent comes from.

Tampa Bay Rays
James Shields: Drafted
Matt Garza: Trade
David Price: Drafted
Jeff Niemann: Drafted
Wade Davis: Drafted

Rafael Soriano: Trade
Dan Wheeler: Trade
Andy Sonnanstine: Drafted
Grant Balfour: Trade
Mike Ekstrom: Waivers
Lance Cormier: Free Agent
Randy Choate: Free Agent

Kelly Shoppach: Trade
Carlos Pena: Free Agent
Sean Rodriguez: Trade
Evan Longoria: Draft
Jason Bartlett: Trade
Pat Burrell: Free Agent
Carl Crawford: Draft
B.J. Upton: Draft
Ben Zobrist: Trade

Dioner Navarro: Trade
Reid Brignac: Draft
Willy Aybar: Trade
Gabe Kapler: Free Agent

Drafted: 9
Amateur Draft: 0
Traded: 10
Free Agency: 5
Waived: 1

Notes: Clearly, the Rays club utilizes trades very effectively, as well. However, the key members of both the rotation and the lineup are home-grown. The starting rotation was all but built through the draft – with Price and Niemann coming from the college ranks, while Shields and Davis were selected out of high school. The club has made two key trades in the past few years: Garza/Bartlett from Minnesota (for Delmon Young), and Zobrist from Houston (for Aubrey Huff). The club does not use the free agent market very much, although Pena was a steal value-wise as a minor league free agent. Nine of the Rays’ Top 10 prospects, according to FanGraphs pre-season ranking, are home-grown, and all but one of those came through the amateur draft (the exception being Alexander Colome).

Colorado Rockies
Ubaldo Jimenez: Amateur Free Agent
Aaron Cook: Draft
Jorge De La Rosa: Trade
Jason Hammel: Trade
Greg Smith: Trade

Franklin Morales: Amateur Free Agent
Manny Corpas: Amateur Free Agent
Rafael Betancourt: Trade
Matt Belisle: Free Agent
Matt Daley: Draft
Randy Flores: Free Agent
Esmil Rogers: Amateur Free Agent

Chris Iannetta: Draft
Todd Helton: Draft
Clint Barmes: Draft
Ian Stewart: Draft
Troy Tulowitzki: Draft
Carlos Gonzalez: Trade
Dexter Fowler: Draft
Brad Hawpe: Draft

Miguel Olivo: Free Agent
Jason Giambi: Free Agent
Melvin Mora: Free Agent
Seth Smith: Draft
Ryan Spilborghs: Draft

Drafted: 11
Amateur Free Agent: 4
Traded: 5
Free Agency: 5
Waived: 0

Notes: With the exception of Gonzalez, the lineup is entirely home-grown, which is a pretty amazing feat in this day and age. Of those seven players originally signed by the club, five come from the college ranks, while two (Fowler and Stewart) were drafted out of high school. Not surprisingly, the club has not been able to attract free agent pitchers, save for the odd minor league free agent like Belisle and Flores. The club has clearly benefited from a presence in Latin America, especially in the pitching ranks. According to FanGraphs’ pre-season rankings, all 10 of the Rockies’ Top 10 prospects were originally signed by the organization: four through the draft, and six through amateur free agency.

Both clubs have taken interesting routes to developing their teams, but both teams benefit significantly from building from within: the Rockies with the club’s lineup, and the Rays organization with its young starting staff and key offensive players.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

Excluding my beloved Mariners, the Rocks and Rays are my faves as well, for many of the same reasons (and Tulo!). I just wish the Rays played their home games in a more aesthetically pleasing warehouse.

Also, the Rangers are becoming dangerously likable, which sucks.