Colorado Rockies Top 36 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen January 27, 2022 Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Colorado Rockies. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the second year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here. All of the numbered prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here. Top Prospects Team Lists 2022 2021 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Rockies Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Zac Veen 20.1 A RF 2025 50 2 Drew Romo 20.4 A C 2025 45+ 3 Ryan Vilade 22.9 MLB LF 2022 45 4 Ezequiel Tovar 20.5 A+ SS 2023 45 5 Jordy Vargas 18.2 R SP 2026 45 6 Elehuris Montero 23.4 AAA 3B 2022 45 7 Warming Bernabel 19.6 A 3B 2024 45 8 Benny Montgomery 18.8 R CF 2025 45 9 Brenton Doyle 23.7 A+ CF 2024 45 10 Yanquiel Fernandez 19.1 R LF 2025 40+ 11 Dyan Jorge 18.9 R CF 2026 40+ 12 Sam Weatherly 22.7 A SIRP 2024 40+ 13 Jaden Hill 22.1 R MIRP 2024 40+ 14 Chris McMahon 23.0 A+ SP 2024 40 15 Adael Amador 18.8 R SS 2025 40 16 Ryan Rolison 24.5 AAA SP 2022 40 17 Ryan Feltner 25.4 MLB MIRP 2022 40 18 Juan Brito 20.3 R 2B 2024 40 19 Helcris Olivarez 21.5 A+ SIRP 2023 40 20 Colton Welker 24.3 MLB 3B 2022 40 21 Noah Davis 24.8 A+ SP 2022 40 22 Joe Rock 21.5 R SP 2024 40 23 Brayan Castillo 21.4 R SP 2024 40 24 McCade Brown 21.2 R SIRP 2024 40 25 Hunter Goodman 22.3 R C 2024 40 26 Karl Kauffmann 24.5 AA SP 2023 40 27 Juan Guerrero 20.4 R LF 2024 35+ 28 Michael Toglia 23.4 AA 1B 2023 35+ 29 Blair Calvo 25.9 A SIRP 2023 35+ 30 Gavin Hollowell 24.2 A SIRP 2023 35+ 31 Bryan Perez 18.4 R SP 2026 35+ 32 Ronaiker Palma 22.1 A C 2024 35+ 33 Will Ethridge 24.1 A+ SP 2023 35+ 34 Angel Chivilli 19.5 R SIRP 2024 35+ 35 Yoan Aybar 24.6 AA SIRP 2022 35+ 36 Julian Fernández 26.1 MLB SIRP 2022 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 50 FV Prospects 1. Zac Veen, RF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Spruce Creek HS (COL) Age 20.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 55/70 35/60 60/55 40/50 55 As a draft prospect, Veen’s combination of present pop and long-term power projection put his ceiling in the exosphere, among the top players in the 2020 class. Veen already rotates with rare ferocity and his broad-shouldered, 6-foot-4 frame (Jason Heyward, Jayson Werth, and Domonic Brown are all pretty tidy comps) leaves room for immense strength as he matures. He didn’t have the same obviously great bat-to-ball skills as Tyler Soderstrom or Robert Hassell III but, you could have argued for Veen to be atop that group at the time based on upside. The Rockies drafted Veen ninth overall and he had an incredible debut season at Low-A Fresno, tallying 46 extra-base hits in 106 games, finishing a dying quail away from a .300/.400/.500 season in a post-Cal League hitting environment. He came to instructs and faced a combination of curated young pitching and recently-drafted college arms. The latter group, at least in Eric’s looks, were able to keep Veen’s contact quality in check by working in on his hands. Veen’s tactile feel to hit is fine — it’s not a red flag, but it also isn’t exceptional. A scout mentioned worrying about how dead and still Veen’s hands are before they start to fire, another trait he shares with Brown. Lever length may be at play here, too. While we’re cautiously optimistic about Veen’s chances of being a 35-plus homer force, that still feels like a right-tail outcome rather than what’s most likely. There’s not bust-inducing hit tool risk here, so much as there’s a possibility that big league pitchers will be able to avoid the hot spot of Veen’s swing path and keep him from getting to all his power. 45+ FV Prospects 2. Drew Romo, C Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from The Woodlands HS (TX) (COL) Age 20.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 55/60 30/45 30/30 45/60 70 Romo was the best defensive catcher among the 2020 draft’s high schoolers. He had the best arm, as well as rare physicality and athleticism for a catcher, a walking, broad-shouldered embodiment of his home state. Romo also switch-hits and has huge raw power and bat speed, but there were serious pre-draft concerns about his ability to make contact. Those concerns drove some teams to think he’d head to school rather than sign, but the Rockies took him early enough to keep him from LSU. It would have been fine if Romo had endured a rocky pro debut with the bat, as he was considered a raw hitter, and he was carrying the new weight of a pro catcher’s daily responsibilities and physical grind. Guys like this tend to take time. But Romo had an impressive year, slashing .314/.345/.439 (continuing to build context for the re-aligned Low-A West, this was just 5% better than the league-average line) and posting a surprising 9% swinging strike rate (the big league average is 12%). At times too proactive in the batter’s box, Romo’s contact quality suffers from his lack of selectivity, and he managed a barrel rate south of 2% in 2021 despite the good-looking surface-level statline. Again, if there’s a player type to be patient with, it’s a huge-framed switch-hitter like Romo. His defensive ability gives him a floor of sorts, and his surprising ability to avoid whiffing in his first year is an encouraging sign that he might one day break out. He remains a high risk prospect with a chance to be an above-average regular. 45 FV Prospects 3. Ryan Vilade, LF Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Stillwater HS (OK) (COL) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 50/55 55/55 40/50 40/40 40/45 40 A series of swing changes have led to Vilade’s current “toe twist” stride, a very simple cut that leans into his great natural bat control and strength-derived pop. He can make contact with pitches all over the zone but typically does his damage slugging pitches on the inner half, especially wayward lefty fastballs in there. In this way, he and Elehueris Montero are extremely similar. For several years Vilade has made plus rates of take-what-is-given style contact. There have been in-office analyst types who have argued for his inclusion on the universal top 100 list simply because their degree of confidence in Vilade’s competence is so high, though because of his mediocre in-game power output, he doesn’t have the ceiling typically associated with a top 100 prospect, especially a left fielder. A high school shortstop, Vilade began seeing time at third base in 2019, then took reps in the outfield during the Rockies’ fall workouts that year, and at the alternate site and in instructs in ’20. He’s a heavy-footed, 40-grade athlete who isn’t likely to be a good defender anywhere, but might be a replacement-level defender in left field and at first base, where he first started getting reps in 2021. While not projecting as a true everyday player, Vilade is a likely to be a valuable role player in a corner outfield and first base timeshare, initially with the lefty-hitting Raimel Tapia. 4. Ezequiel Tovar, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL) Age 20.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 162 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 30/40 30/35 45/45 45/60 50 Tovar is a no-doubt shortstop with balletic defensive footwork and a well-calibrated internal clock, which helps his arm to play at short. He and Kyle Holder are the most polished defensive shortstops in an organization with a big league vacuum at that position, assuming Trevor Story doesn’t return. Unlike Holder, Tovar is on the 40-man roster, and even though he’s only 20 and still lacks typical big league physicality, he may be in line for 2022 reps unless Colorado adds a middle infielder or two ahead of him. Plus bat control headlines Tovar’s one-dimensional offensive skill set. He moves the bat head all over the place and can square up pitches outside the strike zone, which he tends to offer at too frequently. It’s a skill set in the low-end regular/high-end utility man area, akin to a righty-hitting Nicky Lopez. How much will Coors inflate Tovar’s output? If Raimel Tapia (another contact-only sort) is any indication, not a ton. Premium contact hitters like this have a chance to out-produce their raw power in games via quality and consistency of contact, but we’re expecting Tovar’s pop to mature to the point of mere viability rather than allowing for that type of outcome. 5. Jordy Vargas, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 18.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 153 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/60 55/60 30/55 25/55 92-96 / 98 Among the most exciting pitching prospects in the entire Dominican Summer League was Vargas, an ultra-projectable, loose, strike-throwing starter prospect with a curvaceous breaking ball. At age 18, Vargas is already sitting 93-95 mph with disruptive tailing action, and his curveball is a knee-buckling parabola of death. His fastball’s shape doesn’t really complement his curveball right now but Vargas is too young to really worry about that. The ease of his delivery and his ability to throw strikes both facilitate starter projection, and his extremely lanky, broad-shouldered build not only generates hope that he can maintain mid-90s heat under a starter’s workload, but also that he may continue to throw harder as he matures. Were Vargas a stateside high schooler, we’d be talking about him as a mid-first round type of prospect. 6. Elehuris Montero, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (STL) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 55/60 35/50 30/30 40/45 55 Originally a Cardinals prospect, Montero had a solid first couple of years in pro ball, then enjoyed a significant breakout in 2018 when he hit for meaningful power throughout his full-season debut. A wrist injury hampered his 2019 output and he was concerningly swing-happy during his Arizona Fall League stint that year, before losing the 2020 season due to the pandemic. He was the co-headliner of the Nolan Arenado trade return and had an incredible 2021 season (.278/.360/.529, 28 bombs) capped with a month at Triple-A Albuquerque, putting him on Denver’s doorstep. During the 2019 regular season, Montero averaged just shy of 2.5 pitches per plate appearance, a rate that would have made him the most aggressive hitter in the majors by a comfortable margin (Willians Astudillo averaged 2.9 pitches per PA that year). For a corner defender, that was a very scary thing, and Montero was just a 40 FV prospect on last year’s list primarily because of the bust risk associated with poor plate discipline. He had a much better 2021 season in this regard. His walk rate nearly doubled, he saw about 3.8 pitches per plate appearance during the year, and his 46% Swing% combined at Triple-A and while with Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League is close to the big league average. While many of Colorado’s affiliates are hitter-friendly, Hartford, where Montero spent most of 2021, plays closer to neutral. If this is a real, sustained development, then Montero is going to be a valuable big league hitter very soon. His swing is simple but he still has the strength to do damage (this guy’s going to hit 40 annual doubles at Coors) without an elaborate cut, he covers the whole plate, and while he’s vulnerable to well-located breaking balls, he punishes the ones that don’t quite finish. He’s also held serve as a viable third baseman and has experience at first. We still have Montero projected as more of a second-division regular sort because the hit/power combination is more solid than exceptional, and because it’s possible there will be a regression to his career mean in the plate discipline department. 7. Warming Bernabel, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 19.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 45/50 35/50 40/40 30/50 50 Bernabel went from sleeper to stud in 2021, hitting an incredible and unsustainable .432/.453/.743 on the Complex before a promotion to A-ball, where he regressed substantially. He raked again throughout instructs. Bernabel’s swing is rhythmic, balanced, athletic, and has natural loft without compromising contact. He has fringe raw power right now but should grow into something close to average raw at physical maturity, and the way that power could be weaponized in games via Bernabel’s feel for making consistent airborne contact gives him an everyday player’s ceiling. He tracks pitches exceptionally well and hunts them with malice early in counts, probably too often. His out-of-zone swing rates in 2021 were similar to the most aggressive big league hitters at the major league level, up in Adalberto Mondesi territory at about 40%. That’s a pretty terrifying number, and indicates Bernabel’s approach may be exploited by more advanced pitchers who know he’ll chase. It’s also possible Bernabel will make a natural adjustment as he advances. Maybe he feels free to offer at everything right now because he knows he can square it up anyway. His feel to hit is pretty freaky, his swing is visually beautiful and he made an abnormal amount of sweet-spot contact during Eric’s in-person looks. There isn’t a lot of precedent for corner guys who swing this often succeeding, though Ty France would seem to be a recent example. He probably has more raw power than Bernabel projects to have, but they both seem to have that uncanny feel for sweet-spot contact that bolsters the whole profile. 8. Benny Montgomery, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Red Land HS (PA) (COL) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 45/60 20/40 70/70 40/55 60 Montgomery was a relatively divisive amateur prospect who became even more polarizing after his pro debut. The Pennsylvania high schooler was one of the toolsier high school players available, a big-framed center field prospect with rare athleticism and power projection, and fair batted ball showcase performance for a cold weather prospect. Detractors were scared of how cacophonous Montgomery’s swing was, and thought he’d need an overhaul to hit at all in pro ball. Model-driven teams rounded down on Montgomery because he was nearly 19 on draft day. Even though Montgomery’s swing was odd, he still put balls in play at a pretty good rate against his elite peers (Synergy Sports has him with a nearly 2-to-1 ball in play-to-whiff ratio from four 2020 amateur events, which is similar to Termarr Johnson’s rate of BIP-to-whiffs from 2021 showcases). Orioles draft pick Coby Mayo presented a similar case the year before (odd swing, performed anyway, big power projection) and got $1.75 million as a 3B/RF fit, while the long-striding Montgomery seemed like a version of that profile who fit in center field. The Rockies picked him eighth overall. When compared to other pro athletes on the complex, Montgomery’s frame still stands out for its projection, but his swing also looks much more clearly out of place, and his lower half usage was less athletic than the summer before. His hands are incredibly noisy and active in a couple different directions while the ball is in flight. Montgomery makes his best contact when he’s bent over the plate and diving toward the zone’s bottom corner, driving liners into the opposite field gap, but he isn’t great at turning on the baseball. Several of the other hitters in the org are adept at exactly the opposite of this, and are proficient inner-half hitters. It’s possible this is exactly the right org for the future of Montgomery’s swing but there is a huge gap between where it is now and what is typical of a viable big league hitter. Of course, Montgomery still managed to hit .340 across a two-week Complex sample. We had Montgomery as a mid-first round prospect, pre-draft, but he looked more like a late-first/sandwich round project during his pro summer and instructs. 9. Brenton Doyle, CF Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Shepherd (COL) Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/60 30/55 60/60 40/50 55 Doyle was tough to learn about before the 2019 draft because while he was difficult for teams to hide in the truest sense, nobody wanted to tip their hand about where he was on their board, as small school players (Shepherd University has an enrollment just north of 3,500 students) are placed with quite a bit of variability. Doyle’s physical tools were obvious, and pretty similar to what Dodgers prospect D.J. Peters looked like coming out of junior college. There was just no way of knowing how Doyle would handle a huge leap in opposing pitcher quality transitioning from Division-II to pro-quality stuff. Built like an old school, run-stopping strong safety at a physical 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Doyle runs well (as fast as a jailbreak-y 4.02 for us, typically in the 4.2s), has plus raw power, and hit .383/.477/.611 in the Pioneer League after the 2019 draft against the best pitching he’d ever faced in his life. Some of that was due to the league’s hitting environment, but Doyle’s physical ability was evident even on a field with other pro athletes, and his ball/strike recognition and ability to spoil pitchers’ pitches was much better than anticipated considering how few quality arms he had seen to that point. For his first full season, Colorado skipped him over Low-A (where he would have been in 2020) and sent him to their new High-A affiliate in Spokane. Doyle’s peripherals trended in an unfavorable direction (32% K%, 7% BB%) and he seemed less comfortable at the plate, but he still hit for power (16 home runs) and performed overall (.279/.336/.454). He was not promoted to Double-A later in the year like Michael Toglia and Willie MacIver were. Even though he’s approaching 24, Doyle remains a high-variance prospect because the hit tool quality is going to heavily influence his overall performance, and it’s harder to get a grip on projecting that because the context for his development is unique (tiny school, abnormal 2020, a fast-approaching 40-man decision later this year). It’s easy to envision him striking out so much in 2022 that Colorado struggles to justify adding him to the 40-man next offseason, but he has the tools to enjoy a big mid-20s breakout à la Mitch Haniger. Valuing this profile in the 45 FV tier, where we had him last year, feels too rich at this point, but there is sizable long-term upside here. 40+ FV Prospects 10. Yanquiel Fernandez, LF Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (COL) Age 19.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 198 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 50/70 25/60 40/30 30/40 40 Fernandez had a big debut summer, ranking among the DSL’s home run leaders while slashing .333/.406/.531 overall. He came stateside for instructs and hit a bunch of balls much harder than is typical for a player his age, sizzling balls into the outfield gaps. Fernandez also looked over-eager at the plate and offered at too many non-competitive pitches. His DSL line didn’t have any plate discipline red flags, but strike-throwing in the DSL is so poor that it’s hard not to walk at least 10% of the time. We don’t have data for his instructs run and it would probably be too small a sample to matter anyway. Plus, Fernandez was facing a lot of recently-drafted college pitchers who are three and four years older than him. The ball/strike recognition piece of the puzzle is simply not a thing we really know about right now, but because Fernandez is a corner-only prospect, it’s a very important component of his future. He’s a strapping, broad-shouldered young man with considerable thunder in his hands and a more muscular physique than is typical for a hitter this age, and Fernandez can do real damage without taking out-of-control swings, giving him the look of a dangerous lefty stick with a contact and power blend. He has a much more obvious path toward being a 50 FV prospect or better than most of the other young hitters in this system, but his big league timeline and our inability to truly understand the plate discipline piece of Fernandez’s skill set makes him quite volatile at this stage. 11. Dyan Jorge, CF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2022 from Cuba (COL) Age 18.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/40 40/55 20/45 60/60 40/50 60 Jorge left Cuba in 2019 and was eligible to sign throughout 2020, but most of the money for that signing period was already committed. Jorge and the Rockies decided it was mutually beneficial to wait until the next period to ink a $2.8 million deal, a Rockies record and one of the single largest bonuses in the class. He plays the game upright, without a lot of bend in his knees and hips, but Jorge is a premium rotational athlete with plus present bat speed and a Division-I cornerback’s build that portends more power. He is one of a few high-variance shortstop prospects from the 2022 international class. While the general lack of flexibility creates skepticism around Jorge’s ability to stay at shortstop, he has the speed to play center field if he has to move off the dirt. He’s a very talented up-the-middle prospect. 12. Sam Weatherly, SIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Clemson (COR) Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 55/60 50/55 40/45 30/45 92-95 / 97 Weatherly made a seamless transition to the 2020 Clemson rotation after pitching out of the bullpen as a freshman and sophomore. Though he still had some issues with walks as a junior, they weren’t nearly as troublesome as they were during his underclass seasons when he walked a batter per inning, and Weatherly finished with 43 K and 14 BB in 23 innings before the COVID shutdown. Then he was Colorado’s best pitching prospect at 2020 instructs, where he was consistently sitting 95-97 mph, up to 98, and worked with a comfortably plus slider. Because Weatherly was in the bullpen as an underclassman, he had barely ever thrown a third pitch, and he only threw about a dozen changeups in all of 2020 at Clemson. In 2021, during an ultra-conservative assignment to Low-A, he started working with four pitches — fastball, slider, curveball, changeup — and was dominant for about two months even though he didn’t maintain the velo boost from the previous fall and was only sitting 93-94. He was shut down with shoulder inflammation in early August and didn’t pitch the rest of the year. Weatherly’s new curveball has sizable potential. It was spinning faster than his slider at a whopping 2850 rpm, but he only threw it about 7% of the time before the shoulder problem surfaced, less often than his changeup. Purely on his stuff’s potential, Weatherly arguably fits among the 45 FV tier, but he’s a little behind the developmental curve from a repertoire depth perspective and his shoulder issue adds to already-present relief risk. The Rockies should keep developing him as a starter, if only to increase the reps Weatherly gets with his new toy, but he’s much more likely to become an impact reliever. 13. Jaden Hill, MIRP Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from LSU (COL) Age 22.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 45/50 45/45 60/70 30/40 94-97 / 99 Hill was built like a quarterback in high school, and had a fastball that sat 90-94 mph and an easy plus changeup, but he was unspeakably wild and ended up at LSU. He showed occasional feel to pitch as a Tiger freshman and looked to be turning the corner in the weekend rotation when he went down with a strained UCL. He didn’t pitch in the fall but was ready to go for his sophomore spring and was up to 97 in the preseason before being up to 99 during the early part of the shortened 2020 campaign. After generating mixed results early in 2021, Hill blew out and needed Tommy John. In addition to his changeup, Hill has two breaking balls (LSU called them a slider and a cutter, but they have more curve/modern slider sensibilities), the best of which is a slider/cutter in the 88-90 mph range. Knowing he’d spend most of his first pro season rehabbing from surgery, the Rockies used their second round pick on him. He looks like a late-inning power bullpen arm to us, but has starter advocates. 40 FV Prospects 14. Chris McMahon, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Miami (COL) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 50/55 45/55 35/50 91-93 / 95 McMahon was a notable prospect in high school following his pre-draft summer, when he was sitting in the low-90s with a good slider. His stuff didn’t spike during his senior year, so he ended up at Miami, where it did. He was consistently touching 96 or 97 mph during his 2019 and ’20 outings with the Hurricanes, and averaged 92.5 mph both years. He sat about a tick below that on average during his 2021 pro debut, while throwing many more innings than ever before across about 20 starts. McMahon’s fastball has tail and sink, and its movement mimics a still-improving changeup, while his slider remains his go-to finishing pitch. For how violent his delivery is, McMahon fills the zone with his fastball and is pretty good at locating his slider consistently to his glove side, although not always in a precise, enticing location. He often appears to be “underneath” his changeup and creates lateral action on it but inconsistent dive, though sometimes he actually gets impact dive on the change when he releases it late and it ends up glove-side. He’s had some injury issues (knee tendinitis in 2018, shoulder soreness in ’19) but McMahon has No. 4/5 starter stuff with a chance for more if the changeup keeps coming. 15. Adael Amador, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 18.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 40/45 20/35 60/60 45/55 60 Amador is a well-rounded middle infield prospect with a smaller, almost maxed-out frame. The switch-hitting teenager slashed an encouraging .299/.394/.445 during his pro debut at the complex level in Arizona, with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Amador makes a high rate of contact and often tries to bunt his way on, giving him a leadoff/nine-hole stylistic look as a hitter. The contact itself is fairly monochromatic, with lots of pulled choppers and grounders rather than exciting, gap-to-gap spray. There’s not a lot of room to project on the power here, as Amador is a squat young guy without obvious room on his frame for big strength. He reads more like a lower-variance teenage prospect who is most likely to be a valuable utility type rather than an everyday player. His early-career contact rates are pretty good, though, and the other foundational components we love (switch-hitting, up-the-middle defensive fit, great peripherals) are all present, and give Amador a great shot to be an everyday player if it turns out we’re under-projecting his eventual power. The hit tool seems to have a shot to drive an everyday profile here, but Amador is more likely to mature in the 45 FV tier than end up on an eventual top 100 list. 16. Ryan Rolison, SP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (COL) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 40/45 60/60 40/45 45/50 89-94 / 95 Rolison missed a chunk of 2021 due to appendicitis and picked up reps with Dominican Winter League blueblood Licey. Sourced pitch data has Rolison sitting 90-91 mph during the regular season, and Synergy Sports has his LIDOM velocities in that range, as well. That’s a tick below his 2019 velo. Rolison was drafted as high as he was out of Ole Miss because he was humming along at 93-94 and had a great lefty breaking ball. He has starter-grade control of three fair pitches now, and he seemed to be working on a firmer, mid-80s slider/cutter pitch during LIDOM play. His upper-70s curveball still has lovely depth, and Rolison’s fastball has some swing-and-miss utility above the strike zone, but is vulnerable within it because he seems to have ended up with 40 arm strength. He projects as a backend starter and will probably debut in 2022. 17. Ryan Feltner, MIRP Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ohio State (COL) Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 50/50 50/50 40/45 45/45 91-93 / 95 We projected Feltner as a fastball/changeup reliever coming out of Ohio State, but he’s kept himself afloat as a starter through the minors and made his big league debut in September. The Rockies shortened up his arm swing after drafting him, and while Feltner may not have a picturesque starter’s delivery, this iteration gives him a better shot of being mechanically consistent than his college mechanics did. Feltner’s slider has typical two-plane movement, but his mid-70s curveball is more of a loopy show-me pitch that may have diminishing returns the more opposing hitters see it. Those two breaking balls are deployed much more frequently than his changeup at this point. We’ve adjusted our role projection for Feltner a little bit and now consider him a multi-inning relief prospect. Inefficient strike-throwing starters tend to have nastier stuff than he does, and Feltner’s curveball probably works best going just once through the lineup. Plus, allowing him to let it rip in short stints might help him throw harder and have an impact fastball rather than an average one, which is reflected in his pitch grades. 18. Juan Brito, 2B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 20.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 162 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/60 40/45 30/40 35/35 30/40 40 The compact, switch-hitting Brito is a bat-driven prospect with terrific feel for contact from both sides of the plate. He’s only a 30-grade runner but is an average overall athlete with enough control to contort his body and make timely, accurate throws to first base even though he lacks defensive range. Brito’s ability to get on top of fastballs and put the barrel on inner-third strikes is, at least in part, enabled by his super short levers, which make him tough to beat in the strike zone. He’s a compact 20-year-old without overt physical projection, and the hit tool will almost certainly have to carry his entire offensive profile. It can be precarious projecting second base-only types without much power since they lack the defensive versatility to play utility roles if they don’t make enough offensive impact to justify playing second base every day. Brito is in this danger zone, but has the most important skill in baseball. He’s also 20 and has no experience above the complex level with his 40-man roster evaluation year looming. He should be a high-priority Rule 5 evaluation for other orgs and has a shot to be a second division regular at second base. 19. Helcris Olivarez, SIRP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/70 45/50 40/50 30/40 94-96 / 98 There’s been no movement yet on Olivarez’s control, as he walked 68 hitters and plunked 21 more in just 100 High-A innings; those 21 HBP would have lead the majors. We’ve learned the hard way that graceful deliveries do not always foreshadow improvement to control and command, and Olivarez has yet to develop cogent strike-throwing ability even though his silky smooth mechanics bear some resemblance to Cole Hamels‘, especially the way his rear leg finishes. Olivarez does have tremendous stuff for a 21-year-old. He already sits 96 mph, maintains his arm speed while throwing his changeup, and flashes a plus curveball. There’s arguably too much velocity separation between the heater and curveball for the latter to be effective right now (on average, there’s a 20 mph difference), but it has bat-missing depth and shape on occasion. Olivarez began throwing more changeups than breaking balls in 2021, and while he sells it as a fastball out of the hand, he doesn’t have great feel for location right now. Colorado has already used one of his option years, and it’s unlikely that Olivarez will suddenly look ready for a big league roster spot in 2022, which means they’ll likely use another. A looming lack of roster flexibility makes it more likely he winds up in the bullpen. Many things — holding the velo deep into games, mechanical consistency, a sharper curveball, a much better changeup — need to progress for Olivarez to actualize what appears to be massive potential when you consider his arm strength, frame, and proclivity for spin. 20. Colton Welker, 3B Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (COL) Age 24.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 50/50 35/40 30/30 40/40 50 Welker served an 80-game suspension for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone at the start of the season, returning in July for about a month of Triple-A reps and an eventual September call-up. He’s another prospect with a water-carrying hit tool in this system, as Welker has beautiful feel for all-fields contact and covers the whole strike zone. He has a well-balanced, long, slow leg kick and is great at diving and hitting pitches away from him the other way. He stays inside the baseball and works center and right/center field most of the time, only really turning on hanging breaking balls with pull power. Welker also lacks anything even approaching the typical raw power for a corner infield prospect, and he’s highly unlikely to be an average everyday player because of this. He can, however, play an integral corner role because of the amount of contact he makes. From a hands and actions standpoint, Welker is actually fine at third base, it’s his lateral quickness and range that’s at issue. There are teams that care more about that than others, but Welker’s size at his age puts him in an area at risk of earlier athletic decline, so he might only be a viable third baseman early on in his big league career. Elehuris Montero is a version of this fringe 3B/1B part time profile with more power. 21. Noah Davis, SP Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/45 50/55 50/50 40/45 40/50 91-93 / 94 Davis had a great pre-draft summer on Cape Cod but blew out just a few starts into his junior year at Santa Barbara. The Reds drafted him and finished his TJ rehab in 2019, then sent him to Billings. Most of his pre-surgery velocity returned and Davis was sitting 91-94 mph in his first few appearances before touching some 95s later in the summer. More importantly, he returned with two quality breaking balls (he was a slider/changeup guy as an amateur) that have fairly significant projection since one of them is new, and Davis missed a huge chunk of time rehabbing from the TJ. He held that velo into 2020 instructs but had to be shut down early due to an upper back issue. Healthy to begin 2021, Davis missed bats at a career-high rate across 13 starts at High-A Dayton, then was part of a deadline deal for Mychal Givens. He threw more strikes but missed fewer bats after the trade, which could be due more to philosophical differences between Cincinnati (at the time) and Colorado than anything to do with Davis’ stuff. He sits about 93, mixes in two distinct breaking balls (the slider averages about 93, the curveball about 77, and both are deployed about 25% of the time) and an occasional changeup. He has a short-armed, low-slot delivery similar to Edwin Uceta of the Diamondbacks, and the way his delivery’s pace changes halfway through seems to make hitters uncomfortable. He’s tracking like a fifth starter and is now on Colorado’s 40-man. 22. Joe Rock, SP Video Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Ohio (COL) Age 21.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/55 45/55 30/45 93-95 / 96 Rock has an ideal pitcher’s build and an incredibly loose and fluid delivery for a guy his size. Coming off a redshirt 2020 at Ohio (he didn’t pitch at all before the shutdown), Rock had a huge uptick in performance — 117 K, 88.2 IP, 27 BB — and became famous after an early-season no-hitter. His frame, small school/cold weather pedigree and the missed year of reps are all late-bloomer traits that indicate his already solid stuff could become better with pro development. Rock’s fastball touches 96 mph, sits 91-94, and has tailing action that’s aided by his natural deception. It takes hitters a few looks at Rock from the batter’s box to really seem comfortable in there, especially the lefties. Flashes of an above-average slider and changeup occurred during instructs, though Rock’s finishing pitch has been his slider to this point. It’s imperative for Rock’s changeup to develop as it will help keep righty hitters off his fastball, which they get a nice long look at due to his arm slot. He has a leg up in this regard because of his mechanical fluidity and tailing fastball shape, which mimics that of his change. Even with a fully developed changeup, Rock’s fastball may end up playing best in shorter bursts rather than two and three times through a lineup, but at this moment he has a shot to pitch toward the back of a rotation. 23. Brayan Castillo, SP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 21.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 45/50 40/50 35/50 93-96 / 98 Castillo worked more efficiently during 2021 instructs than he did during the summer. After walking nearly six batters per nine on the complex, he was pitching deep into games in the fall, sometimes going five or more innings while most other starters were going two or three. His starts had pace and lots of weak action on the infield thanks to Castillo’s mid-90s two-seamer, which has nasty sink and tail. Everything Castillo throws is hard, as both his curt slider/cutter and changeup are typically in the 84-88 mph range. Neither of them has a lot of movement but they both move late enough to induce weak contact and garner whiffs when they’re spotted perfectly. If his fall strike-throwing progress is real, then Castillo could be a hard-throwing sinkerballing starter, probably one who doesn’t miss many bats. Though he was heavily scouted during the fall, the Rockies left him off their 40-man, exposing him to the delayed Rule 5. It’s not unprecedented for a pitcher this age to be picked, though Castillo’s total lack of full-season experience and exposure to the day-to-day machinations of baseball life away from the Complex are real barriers to selection. Brad Keller is a fair precedent here, as he was also a sinker-oriented 21-year-old who became a surprising Rule 5 pick. But Keller had built a much more significant foundation of innings in A-ball and had made a few Double-A starts prior to selection. Regardless, the thing to watch is Castillo’s 2022 strike throwing and the rate at which Colorado promotes him. 24. McCade Brown, SIRP Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Indiana (COL) Age 21.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 50/55 45/50 40/45 35/50 92-96 / 97 Brown enjoyed a velocity uptick between his freshman and sophomore years and sat 92-96 mph before the COVID shutdown. He retained that velo in the fall of 2020, sitting 92-96 at Hoosiers autumn workouts and scrimmages. Brown fell toward the bottom of that range the following spring, averaging about 92-93 and peaking at 97 rather than living near it. It was his first full year of pitching after he had thrown just six combined innings as an underclassman. Brown’s ticket to the big leagues is his curveball, an upper-70s jawn with a power pitcher’s shape. His delivery isn’t overtly violent, but Brown has never had great touch-and-feel fastball command, and he walked 43 hitters in just over 60 innings in 2020. There are a couple potential avenues for Brown if you want to use some of the lack of innings/geographic components he shares with Rock as a reason to round up on his strike-throwing projection. More likely, Brown eventually moves to the bullpen, where he’ll again sit in the mid-90s and become a two-pitch middle reliever. 25. Hunter Goodman, C Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Memphis (COL) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 60/60 35/55 30/30 30/35 45 Goodman was among those with the most present raw power in the 2021 draft’s college contingent, thumping 29 homers in 73 games combined between his 2020 and ’21 seasons. A heavy-handed receiver with mobility issues, Goodman wasn’t likely to stay behind the plate and lots of teams viewed him as a first base prospect with a 40-grade bat. Goodman already seemed to make some stylistic changes in pro ball, ditching his part-time one-knee technique and opting for a traditional crouch all the time, and a slightly narrower one than he used in college. Much of his future depends on the defense developing, at which point Goodman’s hit tool will determine if he’s a bat-first backup (our current projection) or pushes for a bigger role. 26. Karl Kauffmann, SP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Michigan (COL) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 45/50 50/55 30/45 91-94 / 96 Kauffmann is a one-seam sinker/changeup righty with a pretty firm, inconsistent mid-80s slider. That refined slider gives him a good shot to pitch in the back of a rotation. He was used heavily by Michigan during their deep 2019 postseason run, so he didn’t pitch in pro ball at all that summer, and a shoulder injury limited his alternate site activity to about 50 total pitches across two outings late in the summer of ’20. He had the kind of year you’d expect a fairly experienced big-school sinkerballer to have in A-ball. Kauffmann threw an above-average rate of strikes, got an above-average rate of groundballs, and missed a below-average rate of bats with his low-90s sinker. He mixes in two- and four-seam variants with his mid-80s sliders and changeups. He’s tracking like a backend starter fit for Coors. 35+ FV Prospects 27. Juan Guerrero, LF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 20.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 40/45 30/40 40/40 30/50 50 The spindly Guerrero has very precocious feel for contact and a swing that is much more elegant and precise than it is explosive. He can hit and has done nothing but since entering pro ball, slashing .319 with an OBP just south of .400 in both of his first two pro seasons. Narrowly built, it’s not obvious that Guerrero will develop typical big league strength and power, especially not for a left field, which is where he’s trending on the defensive spectrum. He’s another very young 2022 40-man eval in this org, so he might move quickly if the Rockies want to stress test his bat to better inform their decision about whether to 40 him or not. He’s a very interesting sleeper who could blow up if he comes to camp with more physicality. 28. Michael Toglia, 1B Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from UCLA (COL) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/35 60/60 45/50 30/30 55/55 55 Over the course of the six-week Arizona Fall League season, opposing pitchers identified and exploited Toglia’s vulnerability to breaking stuff. He very often swings over top of any breaking ball executed within the zip code of the bottom of the strike zone, as his swing just doesn’t enable him to get the bat on plane with the baseball down there. While Toglia has secondary skills we like — he has feel for the zone and is a switch-hitter with power — we expect that his ability to make contact will be so limited that he won’t come close to the lofty offensive bar at first base (he’s coming off hitting .234 at High-A and .217 at Double-A). Instead we like him as a switch-hitting weapon off the bench, a threat to change the makeup of a game by running into the occasional bomb. 29. Blair Calvo, SIRP Drafted: 23rd Round, 2019 from Flagler College (COL) Age 25.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/60 60/60 30/40 94-97 / 98 Calvo was a 23rd rounder out of Flagler College, a Division II school in St. Augustine, Florida. He took a circuitous route to get there, going from a Florida JUCO, to rehabbing from TJ, to transferring to Pitt and then to Flagler for his fifth season removed from high school. Calvo had a dominant foray into pro ball, striking out more than a batter per inning in A-ball while curbing the walks he had issues with in 2019. He has some of the best stuff in the system, sitting 95-97 mph with a plus-plus flashing slider in the 83-86 mph range. His arm is very whippy and Calvo’s stride home opens up his hips in a way that’s atypical of most pitchers, possibly creating some deception. He’s a fast-moving relief prospect. 30. Gavin Hollowell, SIRP Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from St. John’s (COL) Age 24.2 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 55/55 55/60 30/40 92-96 / 97 A sixth rounder from 2019, Hollowell was throwing very hard during instructs, 94-96 mph in Eric’s looks. He has a pure relief look to his delivery (and his resume), coming from a low, funky slot. It’s creates very strange angle on Hollowell’s slider, which flashes plus. He threw strikes at a good rate in 2021 and looks like a fast-moving middle relief prospect. 31. Bryan Perez, SP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 18.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 167 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/60 45/50 30/45 20/45 93-97 / 99 Listed as “Bryan Perez” on his MiLB player page, we’ve also seen and heard this prospect referred to as Bryan Vólquez by people who are also quick to note that he is the nephew of former big league star Edinson Vólquez. Perez has huge arm strength for his age, sitting in the mid-90s and touching at least 98 mph while in the DSL. His secondary stuff is currently fringy but firm, about average in terms of spin. There might be a really good slider here eventually but for now Perez is more of a notable developmental sort with very precocious arm strength. 32. Ronaiker Palma, C Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL) Age 22.1 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 30/40 30/35 40/40 45/60 60 Palma is built like a Volkswagen Beetle and is extremely difficult to make swing and miss in the strike zone. He’s been in pro ball since 2018 and has only struck out 36 times during affiliated games. He’s also barely played, in part due to injury, and has only averaged about 40 annual games as a pro. Healthy Palma is a plus athlete with great catch-and-throw skills thanks to the quickness of his release. His offensive skill set is similar to Yohel Pozo and Willians Astudillo, and Palma has a seemingly pathological need to put balls in play, though he doesn’t yet have the same kind of power on contact as either Pozo or Astudillo. For now, he’s an interesting sleeper at a very shallow big league position. 33. Will Ethridge, SP Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Ole Miss (COL) Age 24.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 45/50 50/50 35/60 90-95 / 96 Ethridge has long been a low-90s sinker/slider/changeup backend starter prospect. He fills the zone with vanilla stuff — 90-93 mph, mid-80s slider and changeup — and has a giant, innings-eating frame. He projects as a fifth or sixth starter. 34. Angel Chivilli, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 162 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/55 50/55 30/50 92-95 / 97 Another of the many long, athletic pitchers with formidable DSL fastballs was Chivilli, who repeated the level in 2021. He dominated as a 16-year-old back in 2019, and now has 90 strikeouts and 18 walks in 83.2 career innings pitched. He experienced a whopping five-tick bump in velocity from his 2019 fastball and was sitting 93-94 mph in ’21. Chivilli only throws a fastball and a changeup right now, and his low-slot delivery pushes him toward the bullpen. He’s a notable young relief prospect. 35. Yoan Aybar, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (BOS) Age 24.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 50/55 30/35 93-96 / 98 After four fruitless pro seasons as a Red Sox outfielder, Aybar moved to the mound in 2018, and was traded to Colorado for infielder Christian Koss. The 2021 season was his first actually pitching at a Rockies affiliate, and was spent entirely at Double-A throughout his second option year. He has big time arm strength, sitting 95 mph and touching 100, and at times his breaking ball looks good. It’s hard for a breaker with vertical action, it just lacks depth and is vulnerable in the strike zone. Aybar doesn’t have great feel for location, which hinders his ability to miss bats since his stuff, especially the breaking ball, is dependent on him locating it. A conversion arm who missed a year and who throws this hard still fits in this tier, but the converted guys who end up hitting it big tend to do so quickly. 36. Julian Fernández, SIRP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (COL) Age 26.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 233 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 70/70 45/45 20/20 98-101 / 103 You might remember Julian Fernández from the 2017 Rule 5 Draft. He’s still kicking around the upper levels of the minors with rookie eligibility after being passed back and forth by the Giants, Marlins and Rockies amid an unfortunately timed Tommy John and the pandemic. Before 2021, he had last pitched in games in ’17 and while he’s technically been part of those three orgs, he’s only ever actually pitched for the Rockies, finally reaching the big leagues in 2021. Fernández sits 97-101 mph and has a relatively new changeup. He is likely to continue to be very wild, limiting him to an up/down projection. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Catching Depth Willie MacIver, C Braxton Fulford, C Daniel Cope, C MacIver, 25, had a great first half at High-A and was one of the Rockies Futures Game participants at their home stadium, but had a bad second half at Double-A and wasn’t added to the 40-man. He does have unusual athleticism for a catcher but is more of a ready-made third or fourth catcher in an org rather than a true backup, mostly due to swing-and-miss issues. Fulford, 23, is in the same bucket as Hunter Goodman: he already has above-average power and will now learn at the knee (savers) of Jerry Weinstein. He was the club’s sixth rounder out of Texas Tech. Cope, 24, was a good college catcher at Fullerton and has great secondary skills, especially his feel for the strike zone. He has third catcher ceiling. Bench Types Taylor Snyder, UTIL Eddy Diaz, 2B/LF Hunter Stovall, 2B/LF Jameson Hannah, OF Mateo Gil, SS Julio Carreras, 3B Snyder plays all over the place and had some of the best peak exit velos in this entire system. He hit 30 combined homers in Hartford and Albuquerque in 2021. Now 27, he is a much more realistic fit in the outfield corners than on the middle infield but his combination of versatility and power make him an interesting sleeper, and a priority eval for our friends with teams in Asia. Diaz is built like one of the Bob-ombs in Super Mario, a 70 runner who has swiped about 50 bags in each of the two complete minor league seasons he’s played in. He deserves a look in center field just to see if he can do it; otherwise, he doesn’t really have the versatility to play a consistent bench role. Stovall has the lowest swinging strike rate in this org, but is in the same boat as Diaz, occupying a 2B/? sort of defensive limbo. He has some experience in left field. Hannah has 1989 fourth outfielder tools. Mateo Gil, Benji’s son, was also part of the Arenado deal. He body comps to Aledmys Díaz but doesn’t have that kind of pop. He’s still just 21 and has a big, strapping frame, so maybe more is coming. For now, he’s in 40-grade territory in the hit, power, and plate discipline areas. Carreras, 22, was once in the 40+ FV tier as a bat speed/athleticism prospect exciting scouts on the backfields. Unidentified plate discipline issues were his undoing in 2021, and some of the bat speed has backed up (or was initially misevaluated). More Interesting Young Pitchers Case Williams, RHP Juan Mejia, RHP Alberto Pacheco, LHP Williams was originally drafted by the Rockies and then traded to Cincinnati as part of the Robert Stephenson swap, then came back to the Rockies for Mychal Givens. Still only 19, he sits 90-92 mph and has an average breaking ball. Mejia, 20, sits 93-95 and will show you a plus slider. Pacheco, 19, was another of the club’s great group of DSL arms. He’s a short-armed lefty who sits about 92 and has a precocious changeup. The Fallen Mitchell Kilkenny, RHP Grant Lavigne, 1B Tony Locey, RHP Aaron Schunk, 3B Riley Pint, RHP Kilkenny, 24, is a kitchen sink righty with plus command who sits about 88-91 mph. Locey, also part of the Arenado deal, began 2021 in the bullpen and moved to the rotation. He was not throwing as hard as he was when he broke out at Georgia, and instead sat about 93 mph with a fringe slider/curveball combo. Schunk and Lavigne are corner-only types who have needed to perform consistently to stay afloat, which hasn’t happened. Pint, 24, retired. At his best he looked like a young Stephen Strasburg; at his worst, he couldn’t find the dish at all. System Overview The Rockies replaced former GM Jeff Bridich with former vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt, who had been running the Rockies’ drafts. If they were going to promote internally, the move made sense in some respects. Schmidt was the upper-level executive who had been the best at executing his job. If there has been a Rockies core competency of late, it’s been drafting hitters. The club’s hit rate on bats in the draft has yielded a little over half of the hitters in their projected big league lineup and most of the weighty prospects in the system right now. But while promoting the executive with the team’s best-performing department makes some amount of sense, it perhaps also means continued adherence to other processes that haven’t worked, as it’s less likely there will be the same amount of turnover as there would have been with a totally new hire. Schmidt’s ability to spot amateur talent is only a small fraction of his job now, and new challenges — like improving the org’s communication with other teams during trade discussions — await him. Schmidt was put in a tough position helming the club after the mid-season departure of other executives, but teams had trouble interfacing with the org during Trevor Story negotiations and think that situation was handled poorly. While they’ve had trouble getting pitchers to sustain both health and success at the big league level (Kyle Freeland, Austin Gomber, and Peter Lambert are all present examples), the Rockies have at least executed a coherent strategy in terms of acquiring pitchers via the draft and pro scouting, as they target almost all sinkerballers. It’s more generous to assume this has to do with the hitting environment of Coors Field, but it’s also plausible the club hasn’t yet made adjustments to the way it thinks about evaluating pitching (like having pitch shapes and approach angles come to the fore) and is just ignoring a viable subset of arms. How can this team tussle with the titans in their division? It may be via the international scouting program. The club’s first Arizona Complex League team in a long time was incredible, mostly thanks to the group of Dominican players there, and their DSL roster had maybe the best arm in the whole league in Jordy Vargas, as well as several other hard-throwing youngsters. Like Schmidt, vice president of international scouting Rolando Fernandez has been with the club for almost 30 years, but has only been in his current role for a half decade, so perhaps we’re seeing the fruit of processes put in place fairly recently, as the hitters close to age 20 probably all had handshake deals starting about that long ago.