When discussing the Colorado Rockies, the discussion always turns to offense. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about Major Leaguers, minor leagues, beer concessions, or the people selling you the 50/50 raffle tickets. Offense has always been the name of the game in Colorado and will remain that way until they build a climate-controlled stadium as Arizona did or somehow Denver magically isn’t a mile above sea level anymore. And as you can expect, most of my top-25 Colorado Rockies prospects below are hitters. Several are nearly ready for the Rockies to refuse to play them at the Major League level while a bunch are in the lower levels and make for great targets now in deeper dynasty leagues.
Overall System Grade: C-
Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Albuquerque – Pacific Coast League
Double-A: Hartford- Eastern League
Advanced Single-A: Lancaster – California League
Low Single-A: Ashville – South Atlantic League
Short Single-A: Boise – Northwest League
Rookie: Grand Junction – Pioneer League, Dominican Summer League (2)
All other team top-25 prospect rankings can be found here.
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Top-25 Colorado Rockies Prospects – 2020
1. Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS
Over the last 12-18 months or so, Brendan Rodgers prospect stock has taken a bit of a hit. He was limited to just 37 Triple-A games in 2019 and has had a tough time breaking through in Colorado. Part of that is due to all the other options Colorado has in their infield and their weird shyness in giving big roles to prospects. With Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story locked in on the left side of the infield, that means second base is the most likely path to playing time for Rodgers in Colorado. But the problem is Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson are also in the mix. All of this has caused Rodgers to drop down many prospect rankings and created a nice buy-low window.
Brendan Rodgers is showing everyone why Colorado grabbed him with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 #MLBDraft.
The #Rockies top prospect is 3-for-3, including this RBI 2B that had an exit velocity of 101 mph.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 23, 2019
Rodgers is a prospect I saw live during his Double-A days back in 2018. From the right side, he boasts plenty of bat speed with a compact, yet explosive swing. He’s shown the ability to make hard contact to all fields, but has been a tad pull-happy during his minor league career. The contact skills are borderline plus with the raw power to match. However, Rodgers’ swing lacks a ton of loft which has limited his in-game power so far. With some added loft, Rodgers has the power to hit 25-plus homers annually while hitting .280 or above annually and adding in double-digit steals or close to it. I’d be buying low if the price is right in dynasty leagues.
2. Sam Hilliard, OF
Throughout his minor league career, Sam Hilliard has flashed enticing offensive tools and posted big offensive numbers. In 2016 and 2017, Hilliard posted back to back 15-plus homer, 30-plus steal seasons and followed those up with a 9/23 season in 2018. Then 2019 happened. Hilliard blasted 42 home runs in 153 games between Triple-A and the Major Leagues, doubling his previous high for a season while adding 20-plus steals for the fourth straight season. While Hilliard got the usual Triple-A boost, his power had slowly been trending up even before reaching the level. His flyball and pull percentages also rose a fair amount last season as well. And while I wouldn’t expect 42 homers again, 25 is very attainable at Coors Field for Hilliard to pair with 20 or so steals annually.
So, we’ve established that the power/speed potential with Hilliard is robust, but it’s the hit tool that has some questions surrounding it. Currently, I’d put a 45-grade on Hilliard’s hit tool, putting him around .250-.260 or so longterm. He was able to keep his average respectable in the minors, hitting .277 in 567 games, but Hillard has a tendency to chase pitches outside the zone a bit. I’m not too worried about his average cratering longterm, but I wouldn’t expect him to ever add a high batting average to his power/speed mix. Still, this is a top-100 fantasy asset waiting to happen due to his power/speed blend at Coors Field. Let’s just see if the Rockies play him full-time this season.
3. Michael Toglia, 1B
There’s something about big raw power at Coors Field that gives me all the tingles. The Rockies must feel the same was as they drafted Michael Toglia out of high school three years before they took him in the first round of the 2019 draft out of UCLA. A switch hitter, Toglia has displayed plus or better raw power with a leveraged swing that creates plenty of natural loft. That was on full display during his professional debut in the short-season Northwest League, cranking nine homers in 41 games. His lower hand slot creates a nice uppercut swing path and there’s plus bat speed here as well. While he was a tad pull happy in 2019, Toglia has shown he can flex that power to all fields and I have no concerns about his raw power consistently translating into game power longterm.
— UCLA Baseball (@UCLABaseball) May 14, 2017
The great thing about Toglia, beyond the raw power, is that he doesn’t have to sell out to tap into that power. Toglia has an advanced approach and solid strike zone awareness. He’s not going to be a .300 hitter or anything, but the contact skills are at least average and Toglia can work plenty of walks as well. He projects as a .270/.360/.550 first baseman with the power to hit 30-plus homers annually and maybe even more than that at Coors Field. Just outside my top-100 overall now, I’m anticipating Toglia making a big rise into the top-50 overall in 2021.
4. Brenton Doyle, OF
You’re probably surprised to see a Division-2 4th round pick this high on the list. But with this being a subpar system overall and Brenton Doyle possessing some solid offensive upside, it fits. The 6’3 corner outfielder possesses plus raw power from the right side of the plate and wasted no time showing it off after the draft with 22 extra-base hits and eight home runs in 51 games while slashing .383/.477/.611. A 21-year-old dominating rookie ball isn’t out of the ordinary and should be taken lightly, but the tools Doyle has offensively provide plenty of intrigue in dynasty leagues.
Not only does Doyle have plus raw power, but he’s also shown a good feel for hitting from the right side of the plate and above-average to plus speed as well. With this hit/power/speed blend, the potential to make a fantasy impact down the road is certainly there, but we always need to proceed with caution with these small college types that have dominated less advanced competition.
5. Aaron Schunk, 3B
After a lackluster first two seasons at the plate for Georgia, Aaron Shunk broke out in a big way during his Junior season. A .339/15 campaign in 57 games vaulted the third baseman all the way up into the 2nd round of the 2019 draft where Colorado selected him 62nd overall. While there’s minimal speed upside here, Schunk projects as a 55-hit, 55-power third baseman that could move rather quickly through Colorado’s farm system.
From the right side, Schunk loads his hands down and back while using a smaller leg kick to time pitches. There’s solid bat speed here and advanced strike zone awareness as well. Schunk doesn’t walk a ton, but he’s done a phenomenal job limiting his strikeouts, giving him a nice floor moving forward. With his hit/power combination at Coors, Schunk has the potential to develop into an above-average offensive performer at the Major League level.
6. Ryan Vilade, 3B/SS
A 2nd round selection back in 2017, Ryan Vilade put together his best season as a profession in 2019. In 128 games in the High-A California League, Vilade slashed .303/.367/.466 with 27 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, and 24 steals with a 56/95 BB/K ratio. His power and speed numbers are a tad misleading though. If anything, his raw tools are reverse to those numbers. Vilade possesses above-average to plus raw power and average speed at best, likely below-average.
What has limited that raw power translating into game power has been a groundball-heavy approach throughout his minor league career. Vilade began hitting the ball in the air more in 2019, but how much was him and how much was the hitter’s environments in the California League? If Vilade can add more loft to his swing, a 50-hit, 60-power infielder could be his end result with .260/30 potential at Coors Field. Where he fits into the picture in Colorado is another story with a plethora of infielders ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.
7. Terrin Vavra, 2B/SS
The high upside fantasy talents dry up quick in this system. Even here at #7, we’ve moved into more of the low-ceiling prospects with some solid tools, but lack any sort of wow factor. There’s nothing wrong with that though and some of these guys will likely be able to carve out roles at the Major League level. With Terrin Vavra, there are plenty of higher upside prospects below him, but he brings a steady floor to the mix and has a higher chance of reaching the Majors due to his proximity and polish. That might sound boring, but it does factor into the equation.
What gives Vavra such a nice floor is his above-average to plus hit tool and approach at the plate. In 146 professional games, Vavra has hit .313 with a 13.5% walk rate and 15.6% strikeout rate. His swing is quick and compact from the left side with an all-fields approach. When drafted he was more of a line drive hitter, and still is mostly, but Vavra added some loft and began hitting the ball in the air more often in 2019, raising his flyball rate from 32.6% to 42.0%. While he’s likely capped around 20, even in Coors Field, his contact skills and approach should yield both a high batting average and high OBP as well.
This is far from a sexy fantasy profile, but .280/15/15 will play. We could be looking at another Kevin Newman type of player here with Vavra.
8. Grant Lavigne, 1B
Part of prospect evaluation is realizing when your assessment is wrong and adjusting accordingly. That’s the case here with Grant Lavigne. Now, I’m not saying I’m 100% out on Lavigne, but I am pumping the brakes a bit here. Lavigne tore through the Pioneer League in 2018 but the Single-A South Atlantic League proved to be a more stout challenge. In 126 games, Lavigne slashed .236/.347/.327 with seven homers and eight steals in 17 attempts. It was nice to see him still running, but a sub-50% success rate will need to improve in a big way if he expects to get the chance to steal in the future. And with his below-average speed, I’m not anticipating many steals from him moving forward, especially if he adds any more bulk.
As for his offensive potential, there’s still some intrigue here. From the left side, Lavigne has a simple swing without extra unnecessary movement. He times pitches with a moderate leg kick and loads straight back before exploding forward with solid bat speed. There’s not a ton of swing and miss to his game and Lavigne has shown the ability to use all fields with above-average to plus raw power. I’m taking his struggles in the Sally lightly as he was 19 for basically the entire season. The tools are here to make an impact offensively and I’d be buying low wherever possible in dynasty leagues.
9. Colton Welker, 3B/1B
From nearly a top-50 overall prospect to out of my top-250 entirely in one year. Welcome to the “I was wrong” part of the ranking with the next two. Or at least, I was wrong to rank them as highly as I did. After hitting well above .300 for three straight seasons and his power stroke trending upward, Welker struggled in his first test of the high minors, hitting .252 with a .721 OPS.
Now, not all was bad for Welker in 2019. He actually improved his strikeout rate and continued increasing his average fly ball distance. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Welker’s profile, but at the same time, nothing here dazzles either. Best case scenario is likely something slightly below Ryan McMahon in the .270-.280 range with 15-20 homers annually.
10. Ryan Rolison, LHP
Oh hey, a pitcher. Many of you will gloss right over as nearly every pitcher to come through Colorado hasn’t seemed to work out, or at least, not for a prolonged period. But Rolison is the type of pitcher that might be able to make it work, even if his upside isn’t overly high. One way to find success when pitching half your games in Coors Field is to command your pitches and limit hard contact in the air. Rolison can do both.
The arsenal consists of a low-90’s fastball, curveball, and changeup, all of which grade as average or above-average. Rolison doesn’t blow anyone away with that velocity but his command and movement makes his fastball more deceptive than one might think. He also does a good job sequencing and changing the hitter’s eye level. As I mentioned, the upside here isn’t high and is more in the #4 starter range, but there’s a good floor here for Rolison which should allow him to carve out some low-end value.
11. Julio Carreras, 3B/SS
A smaller signing for the Rockies in 2018 for $15K, Julio Carreras has done a good job making that tiny signing bonus look like highway robbery for Colorado. Carreras has posted an OPS north of .800 in each of his first two seasons while displaying a nice little power/speed blend, with both grading as above-average. The speed has shown up in games more than the power has so far, but with Carreras’ raw power and bat speed, I’m expecting more in-game power in the future.
Like with any young raw player, Carreras has some mechanical/approach aspects of his game to clean up, mainly shortening his swing and adding some loft, but he has the raw tools to hit for power and average while chipping in some solid speed as well. He’s one to keep an eye on in this Colorado system.
12. Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B
It feels like Tyler Nevin has been around forever. The Rockies have taken it slowly with their 38th overall pick back in 2015 with Nevin just reaching Double-A in 2019. That’s not for lack of production, however. Nevin missed all of 2016 (registered one at-bat) with a hamstring injury and part of 2017 with a wrist injury. Since then, Colorado has played the slow dance with Nevin despite him hitting ..299 in 2017 and .328 in 2018.
The second-generation hitter has displayed above-average contact skills and raw power with advanced strike zone awareness and the ability to use all fields. However, more of a groundball and live drive heavy approach has capped his in-game power to date. Nevin starts with his hands higher behind his head and loads high as well giving him more of a downward plane through the zone. If he can elevate the ball more, there’s 25-homer potential here to pair with a .270-plus batting average.
13. Eddy Diaz, SS
Readers, meet Eddy Diaz, a 6’0/175 speed machine that has run wild ever since signing back in 2016 out of Cuba. In 126 professional games, Diaz has swiped 104 bags in 127 attempts. You don’t need me to tell you that’s a ridiculous pace. You also don’t need me to tell you that 100-plus steals in a season is impossible and shouldn’t be expected. Major League batteries are too good to allow that. But with that said, you should still expect plenty of steals from Diaz moving forward as he’s a double-plus runner that has shown good instincts on the bases as well.
As for his abilities at the plate, Diaz is a contact-oriented middle infielder with above-average to plus contact skills and very minimal power. Even at Coors, he would only be a 5-8 homer threat at best, but his abilities in the AVG and SB departments still give him plenty of intrigue moving forward in dynasty leagues.
14. Yanquiel Fernandez, OF
We go from a speedy middle infielder with almost no power to an outfielder with plenty of it. Signed for $295K out of the Dominican Republic last summer, Yanquiel Fernandez is a strong corner outfielder with easy plus raw power projection. He’s able to generate plenty of raw power and loft from the left side of the plate and has shown a good feel for hitting for someone his age which gives hope that he can hit for a solid average to pair with the power. Outside of his abilities at the plate, Fernandez is a below-average runner and defender which will limit him to a corner outfield position longterm. But that doesn’t matter too much when the bat has a chance to be quite potent.
15. Niko Decolati, OF
A 6th round pick in 2018, Niko Decolati dominated the Pioneer Rookie League as a 20-year-old, to no surprise, but didn’t find the same success in Single-A last season. With that said, it wasn’t a terrible performance, hitting .265 with six homers and 15 steals in 77 games. Although, the 13/80 BB/K ratio leaves a ton to be desired. Decolati possesses plus speed with 25-steal upside, but is still raw at the plate.
Decolati has shown easy plus bat speed from the right side but without much loft or the ability to use all fields. In 2019, he had a pull rate of 47.9% and a groundball rate of a whopping 61.6%. Granted, he doesn’t project to have a ton of power in general, but this type of profile, along with his aggressive approach doesn’t bode well for his future offensive projections. With some adjustments, Decolati could profile as a 50-hit, 45-power, 55/60-speed outfielder with a .270/15/25 ceiling. He’s got a long way to go before even sniffing that level though.
16. Juan Guerrero, 3B/2B/1B
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, Juan Guerrero is all about projection. Currently listed at 6’1/160, Guerrero has already flashed some raw power with plenty of physical projection left on his frame. In addition, Guerrero has shown an advance plate approach and good feel for hitting for someone his age. The offensive upside here is enticing, especially when you add in double-digit speed. He’s miles away and currently doesn;t have a longterm defensive home, but Guerrero is most definitely a name to monitor in this Colorado system.
17. Adael Amador, SS
A switch-hitting shortstop with plus athleticism, Adael Amador was one of the top prospects available in the 2019 international signing period. The Rockies swooped in and signed him for $1.5m and it’s not hard to see why. Amador has a projectable 6’0 frame with plus bat speed from both sides of the plate. He’s shown the ability to use all fields with a line-drive oriented swing. While there’s not a ton of power potential presently due to the linear swing path, some added loft paired with bulk from physical maturation could get Amador up into the 15-homer range down the road.
Even with added bulk, Amador still should have above-average speed thanks to his athleticism with 20-steal upside. Pair that 15/20 profile with the potential for an above-average hit tool and you have a nice all-around offensive talent from the shortstop position. I’d recommend grabbing some Amador stock now in dynasty leagues as this could be a name that rises quickly over the next couple of years.
18. Helcris Olivarez, LHP
Our second pitcher on the list, Helcris Olivarez is a young 19-year-old projectable southpaw with the potential for two plus pitches. Currently listed at 6’2/190, Olivarez sits in the low to mid-90’s range with solid life on his fastball and pairs that with a big breaking curve that flashes plus at times. The changeup currently lags behind and is very inconsistent, but has flashed above-average with fading action when Olivarez has been able to command it. If Olivarez can improve his command and continue developing his changeup, he has a chance to wind up as the top pitcher from this system down the road.
19. Bladimir Restituyo, OF/2B
Signed on his 16th birthday back on the first day of the 2017 J2 period, Bladimir Restituyo has performed admirably through his first two seasons in the minors. While he’s still very raw at the plate, Restituyo has flashed at least average raw power that could rise as he fills out and adds bulk. That’s not even his most notable tool projection either.
Currently, Restituyo has easy plus speed and should still be a 55-grade runner if/when he adds bulk. With this power/speed potential, Restituyo is an intriguing prospect in deeper dynasty leagues that could really take off if the hit tool continues to develop and he improves his atrocious plate discipline. While a 21.2% strikeout rate isn’t worrisome, Restituyo’s 1.2% walk rate certainly is. More advanced pitchers will eat him alive if this isn’t improved.
20. Vince Fernandez, OF
A 10th round pick in 2016, Vince Fernandez is all about power. The 6’3 outfielder with plus or better raw power has seen that power translate to in-game power more frequently over the last few years as he’s driven the ball in the air more frequently. Fernandez has always been a pull-happy hitter and now that he’s pushed his flyball rate over 45% in each of the last two seasons, the homer totals have risen accordingly. I saw Fernandez live this past season in Hartford and he absolutely crushed a no-doubt homer to right that easily surpassed 400-feet.
Unfortunately, outside of his power potential, the rest of Fernandez’s game doesn’t inspire much confidence. He’s shown a below-average hit tool with plenty of swing and miss to his game. While he could hit 30-plus homers over a full season, especially at Coors, Fernandez likely won’t be adding a batting average above .250 to go along with it. Although, he’s proven he can work the count and draw plenty of walks so the OBP could still be alright.
21. Yonathan Daza, OF
Once again, we’re changing gears and discussing a prospect that is very different from the one before him. Yonathan Daza is another prospect I saw at the Double-A level, and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed in my live looks. However, that was a small sample size and Daza has proven over his minor league career that he can hit for a high average while adding average to above-average speed. His swing is simple and quick from the right side with a linear swing path through the zone. The contact skills border on plus but Daza doesn’t impact the ball much and hasn’t posted high walk rates in the minor leagues.
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) May 22, 2018
Over a full season, Daza has the tools to hit .280 or so but with a lower OBP and maybe five homers and 15 steals. This type of profile hints at more of a 4th outfielder/defensive replacement role when you factor in his plus defense and strong throwing arm.
22. Christian Koss, INF
A 12th round pick last year out of UC Irvine, Christian Koss dominated the Pioneer League slashing .332/.447/.605 with 11 homers and 10 steals in 53 games. But per usual with collegiate bats tearing up rookie level leagues, the performance needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Koss has demonstrated above-average contact skills but never showed much power or speed until his final season at UC Irvine. He’s also not the greatest defender and lacks a future defensive home. At this point, he projects as a backup infielder that should be able to hit for a good average and add a touch of pop and speed. Nothing more.
23. Josh Fuentes, 3B/1B
To be honest, I’m not overly high on Josh Fuentes moving forward. And honesty is always the best way to go, right? From 2016-2018, Fuentes hit over .300 each season but wasn’t able to replicate that in his second go-around in Triple-A, hitting just .252 and then struggling with Colorado as well. While there are above-average contact skills here, Fuentes doesn’t walk much and has average raw power at best which is limited even further by his lack of loft over the last couple of seasons. We’re probably looking at a backup corner infielder that would have NL-Only value if thrust into a starting role at any point in his career. He’s also already 27, so it’s not like he’s younger with more developmental time ahead.
24. Ezequiel Tovar, SS
Signed for $800K in 2017 out of Venezuela, Ezequiel Tovar is known more for his defense, but that’s not necessarily a death sentence for his fantasy future. We’ve seen these strong defensive types climb the ladder as long as they aren’t completely inept at the plate. And while he’s not a standout offensively, Tovar has shown that he can hold his own at the plate and on the bases. The 6’0/160 shortstop projects as a 45/50-hit, 30-power, 55/50-speed shortstop now with maybe a tad more power potential as he fills out. But even then, he doesn’t drive the ball in the air regularly and is likely capped at 10-homers regardless.
25. Ben Bowden, LHP
Part of me didn’t even want to include a reliever on this Colorado list, but Ben Bowden has the stuff to make an impact out of the pen. A big 6’4/235 southpaw, Bowden sits in the mid-90’s with his fastball and mixes in both a changeup and a slider with the changeup bordering on plus at times. The slider is a tad behind but features two-plane break and gives Bowden a third average or better offering to attack hitters with. The downfall here is that Bowden has struggled with both his command and control throughout his career. If he can keep those in check, we very well could see him pitching in high-leverage situations.
Media Credit: Robert Robinson, MLB Pipeline, UCLA Baseball,
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