Colorado Rockies Top-25 Prospects
My condolences Colorado fans, you had a good season. With your Major League team done for 2018, how about we check out some Colorado Rockies prospects and look toward 2019 and beyond?
SPOILER ALERT! This Colorado farm system is once again dominated by position players. There are some pitchers with upside sprinkled about, but most of the top impact prospects are position players. It’s been that way most seasons since Colorado entered the league back in 1993. With that being said, there are several players in this system that generate plenty of excitement in many different ways.
Overall System Grade: C+
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Albuquerque – Pacific Coast League
Double-A: Hartford – Eastern League
Single-A (Advanced): Lancaster – California League
Single-A (Full): Asheville – South Atlantic League
Short-season Single-A: Boise – Northwest League
Rookie: Grand Junction – Pioneer League, Two teams in the Dominican Summer League
New Top-25 Colorado Rockies Prospects
1. Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B, Bats: R, DOB: 8/9/96, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .268/.330/.460/.790, 27 2B, 17 HR, 12 SB, 6.5 BB%, 19.4 K%, 426 AB
Basically since he was drafted, Brendan Rodgers has been the top dog in this farm system. The raw power, hit tool, and playing shortstop were all big factors in his lofty ranking from the get-go. Seeing him live earlier this season for Double-A Hartford, that raw power was on full display. He didn’t leave the yard in either game I saw, but plenty of hard contact was made. Rodgers has the swing, contact skills, and raw power to become a .280/30 offensive threat which will play just fine regardless of whether he stays at shortstop long term or slides over to second base. He certainly has the arm to stay at shortstop, but his range isn’t the greatest. Rodgers finished 2018 with Triple-A Albuquerque and will start there to begin the 2019 season.
2. Garrett Hampson, 2B/SS/OF, Bats: R DOB: 10/10/94, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): .311/.382/.462/.843, 25 2B, 10 HR, 36 SB, 10.1 BB%, 14.9 K%, 444 AB
If it wasn’t for the presence of Trevor Story, who is under team control through the 2021 season, Rodgers and Garrett Hampson would likely be the future middle infield pairing for the next 5-10 years in Colorado. But as it stands currently, Hampson looks like the odd man out with a move to center a possibility. Hampson has more than enough speed to make a move like that work, even if his arm is subpar. Offensively, Hampson has leadoff hitter written all over him in permanent marker, due to his plus speed and hit tool. His swing is short and fluid from the right side and generates hard contact to all fields, just more of the line drive variety than over the fence. Hampson finished 2018 getting a cup of coffee with Colorado and has a shot to break camp with the team in 2019.
Welcome to the @MLB, Garrett Hampson ??
The #Rockies' No. 6 prospect knocks an RBI-double in the 5th to pick up his first career hit in just his second @MLB at-bat to put the @Rockies on the board. Watch live: https://t.co/jfdm2Hak83 pic.twitter.com/qU4t1WGlZt
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 22, 2018
3. Colton Welker, 3B, Bats: R, DOB: 10/9/97, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+): .333/.383/.489/.872, 32 2B, 13 HR, 5 SB, 8.3 BB%, 20.2 K%, 454 AB
Man, can this kid hit. All Welker has done since being drafted in the 4th round back in 2016 is rake, rake, and rake some more. His career batting average you ask? Oh, that’s .337 with his lowest mark at any level being .329. While his BABIP marks are a tad high, they’re not total anomalies when you put the ball in play as much as Welker does. And not only does Welker put the ball in play, he also uses the entire field incredibly well. Out of all his batted balls, 38.6% went to the opposite field, while 35.9% went to his pull side. Welker’s bat speed and plate coverage will likely lead to plenty of high averages moving forward, but don’t expect a ton of power or speed with it. Think of him as an infield version of Michael Brantley.
4. Grant Lavigne, 1B, Bats: L, DOB: 8/27/99, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (RK): .350/.477/.519/.996, 13 2B, 6 HR, 12 SB, 17.4 BB%, 15.5 K%, 206 AB
Both Hampson and Rodgers are likely to slot in the top third of the lineup with a hulking New Hampshire first baseman slotting in behind them, likely in the cleanup spot. The Rockies used their competitive balance round pick (42nd overall) to snag Grant Lavigne and signed him for nearly 300K above slot value at an even two million. To say Lavigne impressed in his professional debut would be putting it lightly. Power, speed, plate discipline, it was all on full display.
Lavigne generates plenty of hard contact and loft with his left-handed swing and should have no problems hitting 30-plus home runs to go along with a decent batting average. The speed was surprising. Lavigne is by no means slow, but a 30-steal pace was not expected, nor should it be going forward. Think more in the 10-15 range. All the offensive tools are here for Lavigne to blossom into an All-Star caliber first baseman.
5. Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B, Bats: R, DOB: 5/9/97, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+): .328/.386/.503/.889, 25 2B, 13 HR, 4 SB, 8.2 BB%, 18.5 K%, 378 AB
After posting a .808 OPS across short and Full-Season Single-A, the Rockies bumped Nevin up to high Single-A for the 2018 season. Let’s just say he didn’t disappoint. His .328 average was second in the California League only behind his Lancaster teammate, Colton Welker. Nevin also finished 5th in OBP, 4th in slugging, and 4th in OPS. Overall, a damn fine season. Nevin has an advanced feel for hitting and should hit for both power and average at the highest level, thanks to a quick right-handed stroke that generates hard contact to all fields. More power should come once he adds some strength to that 6’4 frame and some loft to his line drive swing. Nevin, along with Vilade and Welker, should spend a good chunk of 2019 with Double-A Hartford.
Tyler Nevin with the oppo ?off Joey Wentz pic.twitter.com/hq7LCs94zS
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) July 30, 2017
6. Ryan Vilade, SS, Bats: R, DOB: 2/18/99, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A): .274/.353.368/.720, 20 2B, 5 HR, 17 SB, 9.2 BB%, 18.0 K%, 457 AB
A 2017 2nd round selection, Vilade often gets overlooked due to the four men ranked above him here. While his upside isn’t quite as high as that quartet, there’s plenty to like here, especially offensively. Vilade possesses above-average raw power thanks to a quick and fluid swing and should grow into 25-homer pop to go along with a respectable batting average. He’ll likely outgrow shortstop and move over to third base or to a corner outfield spot where his strong arm will play just fine.
7. Ryan Rolison, LHP, DOB: 7/11/97, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (RK): 29.0 IP, 1.86 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 10.6 K/9, .149 BAA
A 2018 first-rounder, Rolison snuck in nine starts in 2018, impressing with his combination of command and strikeout potential. Rolison isn’t the hardest thrower around, sitting in the low-90’s with his fastball, but he commands the pitch very well and has a plus curveball to go along with it. Pitching for Colorado isn’t the total death sentence it used to be, especially if you can limit flyballs well, which Rolison can. Expect a bump to Single-A to start 2019.
8. Peter Lambert, RHP, DOB: 4/18/97, ETA 2019
2018 Stats (AA/AAA): 148.0 IP, 3.28 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 6.4 K/9, .270 BAA
If you looked up back-end rotation arm on Google, you’d likely see a picture of Peter Lambert. He’s one of those safe, high floor/low ceiling pitchers that often fly under the radar. Lambert features four average or better offerings, headlined by a plus changeup with good fade. The problem is that Lambert doesn’t miss many bats and gets hit hard when he isn’t commanding his fastball. There’s still some additional upside here due to his diverse arsenal and solid control, but don’t expect anything more than a #3 or #4 starter in the Majors. With a solid spring training, Lambert could lock up a rotation spot to start the season. However, a return to Triple-A for additional seasoning is more likely, especially with how he performed at the level to close out 2018 (5.04 ERA, 1.57 WHIP).
9. Sam Hilliard, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 2/21/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (AA): .262/.327/.389/.716, 22 2B, 9 HR, 23 SB, 8.5 BB%, 31.2 K%, 435 AB
The 15/30 upside is intriguing, but there’s a lot of work to be done for Hilliard to reach that level. Firstly, his hit tool and plate discipline need some major work. Hilliard struck out 31.2% of the time this season and in 27.3% of his minor league plate appearances. Shortening his swing and taking a more direct swing path through the zone would go a long way for Mr. Hilliard.
10. Terrin Vavra, SS, Bats: L, DOB: 5/12/97, ETA 2021
2018 Stats (A-): .302/.396/.467/.863, 8 2B, 4 HR, 9 SB, 13.1 BB%, 20.1 K%, 169 AB
The Rockies found themselves a damn good hitter in the 3rd round back in June’s amateur draft. Vavra is a contact-oriented hitter with solid plate coverage and high batting average upside. His swing is more geared for line drives, but with some added strength, he could develop double-digit pop to go along with 20-plus steals. Defensively, he’s likely going to end up at second base where his subpar throwing arm will play much better.
11. Eddy Diaz, SS, Bats: R, DOB: 2/14/00, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (RK): .309/.417/.436/.854, 13 2B, 5 3B, 0 HR, 54 SB, 13.9 BB%, 7.6 K%, 181 AB
Eat your heart out Billy Hamilton. Diaz has truly elite speed upside and has already unleashed that speed on Dominican Summer League pitchers. In 87 games over the last two seasons, Diaz has racked up 84 stolen bases while getting caught only 14 times. Not only is the volume there, the efficiency is as well. In addition to that blazing speed, Diaz makes a ton of contact and has phenomenal plate coverage. His swing is geared more for line drives than home runs, so don’t expect much pop with out a swing adjustment. Plenty of upside here but also raw with a ways to go.
12. Robert Ramos, 1B, Bats: L, DOB: 12/28/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A+/AA): .269/.368/.574/.942, 24 2B, 32 HR, 5 SB, 12.0 BB%, 29.0 K%, 413 AB
The power is for real and that’s about it. Ramos projects as a 30-plus home run threat due to his strength and loft in his swing, but he doesn’t make enough contact to hit for a high batting average. His lack of speed and defensive range will limit him to first base or DH if he gets traded to the American League.
13. Bret Boswell, 2B, Bats: L, DOB: 10/4/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (A/A+): .296/.345/.529/.874, 25 2B, 27 HR, 9 SB, 6.2 BB%, 26.3 K%, 497 AB
There’s some offensive upside here, but let’s slow down a second. Statistical inflation is a blowing. That batting average and power you see above was boosted by a .406 BABIP and 29.4% HR/FB rate. Both of those, along with his .314 ISO are simply unsustainable. Boswel has above-average raw power, but he’s more of a .250/20 hitter, which still has decent value at second base.
14. Jordan Patterson, Bats: L, OF/1B, DOB: 2/12/92, ETA: 2019
2018 Stats (AAA): .271/.367/.525/.892, 23 2B, 26 HR, 6 SB, 8.8 BB%, 26.7 K%, 413 AB
After getting a cup of coffee with Colorado back in 2016, Jordan Patterson has been with Triple-A Albuquerque ever since. More power has shown up with 26 home runs in each of the last two seasons, which is a solid baseline for Patterson moving forward. The hit tool is about as average as average can be, though, he has developed a better plate approach which should keep his batting average respectable.
15. Yonathan Daza, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 2/28/94, ETA 2020
2018 Stats (AA): .306/.330/.461/.792, 18 2B, 4 HR, 4 SB, 3.1 BB%, 10.5 K%, 219 AB
If it feels like Yonathan Daza has been hanging out in the Colorado farm system for nearly a decade, it’s because he has. Daza just wrapped up his 8th minor league season and still hasn’t made it past Double-A. The contact skills are there, but there’s zero power and he’s allergic to walks, as evident by his tiny 4.4% career walk rate. But what makes him valuable is his stellar defense and throwing arm, which should make him a solid 4th outfielder. Dynasty owners can look elsewhere.
16. Riley Pint, RHP, DOB: 11/6/97, ETA 2022
2018 Stats (A-/A): 8.1 IP, 4.32 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, 11.9 BB/9, 8.6 K/9
When you get drafted 4th overall and can touch triple-digits with your heater, expectations will always be fairly high. Fair or not, that’s just how it is. Now two-plus years after being drafted, expectations have dropped significantly for Riley Pint. Some would even say that expectations are now pint-sized. The two main reasons for this are durability and a total lack of control. Pint can light up the radar gun, but predicting where that heater is going is like trying to find a piece of hay in a needle stack. Yeah, painful. All the raw tools are there for Pint to develop into a No. 2 or 3 pitcher if he can get that control in check. In addition to the heater, Pint features two solid breaking pitches and a change-up that should be serviceable. Reign it in Riley.
17. Niko Decolati, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 8/12/97, ETA 2021
The Rockies 6th round pick displayed power, speed, and an advanced plate approach in limited action for Grand Junction.
18. Vince Fernandez, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 7/25/95, ETA 2021
Fernandez can do a little of everything, but nothing overly well. There’s enough power and speed here to have some 20/15 seasons, but contact woes will limit the batting average.
19. Daniel Montano, OF, Bats: L, DOB: 3/31/99, ETA, 2022
Montano is subpar defensively in the outfield, but has some decent offensive upside and above average speed.
20. Casey Golden, OF, Bats: R, DOB: 9/1/94, ETA 2020
Intriguing power and speed upside, but the hit tool needs a lot of work. Keep an eye on him in deeper dynasty leagues.
21. Reid Humphreys, RHP, DOB: 11/21/94, ETA 2019
Fastball/cutter mix could be lethal coming out of the pen and Humphreys’ command of each pitch has improved over time. A 2019 debut isn’t out of the question.
22. Brian Mundell, 1B, Bats: R, DOB: 2/28/94, ETA 2019
Mundell has a solid hit tool and plate discipline, but little power. Think a poor man’s Pavin Smith.
23. Jesus Tinoco, RHP, DOB: 4/30/95, ETA 2020
Finally, some advances in the control department. Tinoco has the stuff to succeed as a late-inning arm, but will need to develop his changeup if he wants to stick in the rotation.
24. Ben Bowden, LHP, DOB: 10/21/94, ETA 2020
Equipped with three above-average offerings and solid control, Bowden has the potential to be a quality southpaw out of the bullpen for years to come.
25. Josh Fuentes, 3B, Bats: R, DOB: 2/19/93, ETA 2019
Solid hit tool, plate discipline, and 15-homer pop, but it thoroughly buried on the depth chart.
Up – Brett Boswell (2B), Tyler Nevin (1B/3B), Terrin Vavra (SS), Robert Ramos (1B)
Keep An Eye On – Tom Murphy
He’s not technically a prospect anymore, but don’t write Murphy off quite yet. There’s plenty of thunder in that bat with 30 home runs a distinct possibility if he ever can get full-time Major League at-bats. The 27-year-old backstop walloped 16 doubles and 17 home runs in just 236 at-bats for Triple-A Albuquerque this season and will once again vie for a starting job next spring.
Side note: I absolutely hate typing Albuquerque. My fingers hate it, my brain hates it. It’s just not a pleasant word to spell.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB writer and prospect analyst here on FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.