Colorado Rockies Top 39 Prospects

Brett Davis-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 third 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. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Rockies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Adael Amador 20.2 A+ 2B 2025 60
2 Ezequiel Tovar 21.9 MLB SS 2023 50
3 Dyan Jorge 20.3 R SS 2026 50
4 Jordy Vargas 19.6 A SP 2026 45+
5 Yanquiel Fernandez 20.5 AA LF 2025 45+
6 Nolan Jones 25.1 MLB RF 2023 45
7 Gabriel Hughes 21.8 AA SP 2026 45
8 Sterlin Thompson 22.0 A+ DH 2027 45
9 Hunter Goodman 23.7 AA C 2024 40+
10 Jordan Beck 22.2 A+ RF 2027 40+
11 Zac Veen 21.5 AA RF 2024 40+
12 Drew Romo 21.8 AA C 2025 40+
13 Warming Bernabel 21.1 AA 3B 2024 40+
14 Connor Seabold 27.4 MLB SP 2023 40
15 Jeff Criswell 24.3 AAA MIRP 2023 40
16 Joe Rock 22.9 AA SP 2024 40
17 Victor Juarez 20.0 A+ SP 2025 40
18 Michael Prosecky 22.3 A SP 2026 40
19 Brenton Doyle 25.1 MLB CF 2024 40
20 Jaden Hill 23.5 A+ MIRP 2024 40
21 Julio Carreras 23.5 AA SS 2023 40
22 Benny Montgomery 20.8 A+ CF 2025 40
23 Carson Palmquist 22.7 A+ MIRP 2026 40
24 Gavin Hollowell 25.6 MLB SIRP 2023 40
25 Brayan Castillo 22.8 A+ SIRP 2024 40
26 McCade Brown 23.1 A SIRP 2024 40
27 Braxton Fulford 24.5 AA C 2025 35+
28 Bryant Betancourt 19.7 A C 2026 35+
29 Robert Calaz 17.6 R DH 2029 35+
30 Noah Davis 26.2 MLB SP 2023 35+
31 Ronaiker Palma 23.5 AA C 2024 35+
32 Jackson Cox 19.8 A SP 2027 35+
33 Michael Toglia 24.9 MLB 1B 2023 35+
34 Tommy Doyle 27.2 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
35 Karl Kauffmann 25.9 MLB SP 2023 35+
36 Riley Pint 25.6 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
37 Dugan Darnell 26.0 AA SIRP 2024 35+
38 Angel Chivilli 20.9 A+ SIRP 2024 35+
39 PJ Poulin 26.9 AAA SIRP 2023 35+
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60 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/70 40/45 30/40 50/50 45/55 50

Amador has special hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills as well as a tremendous idea of the strike zone, and those attributes, combined with the mechanical simplicity of his swing, give him one of the most exciting and stable hit tools in the minors. Amador is one of those short-levered switch-hitters who is so short to the ball that he gets an extra beat to diagnose pitches before he has to commit to swinging, and he takes advantage of this. He’s walked more than he’s struck out every year of his pro career, and he’s running a microscopic, sub-5% swinging strike rate thus far in 2023.

Over the last year or so, Amador has thickened like a roux and become stronger, and he’s capable of doing more damage than my previous, tepid projection expected. Increasingly, Amador’s choppers and grounders are peppered with feel for pull-side loft when appropriate. On paper, Amador is still generating flat, groundball and line drive contact a lot of the time, but his feel for the barrel and for the zone together will enable him to hit for average power at maturity, more so as a left-handed hitter. He isn’t physically projectable so much as his feel for doing extra-base damage is because his feel for contact is so good.

As he’s gotten stronger, he’s also gotten bigger and slower, and Amador’s defensive projections have shifted to second base. Some scouts are concerned about how thick he is for a 20-year-old and worry the sun may set on his athleticism sooner than the average big leaguer. I also have some long-term concerns about that, but Amador is such a precocious hitter that he’ll likely be in the big leagues relatively soon and start his career long before that’s an issue. A plus-plus hit tool on a middle infielder is a big deal, and Amador gets a boost into the 60 FV tier, projecting as an All-Star second baseman.

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 40/45 30/40 45/45 50/60 50

Tovar’s Top 100 and Rockies Imminent Big Leaguer report has been spot on so far, as he’s run a sub-.300 OBP half way through his rookie year but has still been a productive player because of his defense. That report is here: A skilled but impatient hitter who can really pick it, Tovar is poised to be the Rockies’ everyday shortstop and probably will be for a while. He has incredible defensive range, especially to his right, and his footwork around the bag is balletic. At times he’s too bold and rushes throws that he should just holster, but Tovar is only the age of a college draft prospect, so details like this will likely tighten up as he matures.

The area where it’s most imperative for Tovar to show improvement is his plate discipline. His fantastic bat-to-ball skills have enabled him to rake in the minors, but he has a tendency to offer at pitches that are way, way off the plate, pitches most hitters instantly know aren’t competitive. He chased at a 37% rate in 2022, which isn’t terrible in a big league context but is pretty bad when viewed through the minor league lens, where fewer pitchers have chase-inducing stuff. While his ball/strike recognition isn’t good, Tovar is otherwise an advanced hitter. He tends to work contact to center and right field, especially against fastballs, and he has a clear two-strike approach where he ditches his leg kick and takes a more conservative swing. It will be interesting to see how Tovar’s speed helps inflate his extra-base output in Coors Field; he might end up turning a lot of doubles into triples there. If not for the risk created by Tovar’s plate discipline, he’d be in the 55 FV tier, as he’s otherwise about to produce like a complete up-the-middle player.

3. Dyan Jorge, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Cuba (COL)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 40/60 30/55 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 largest bonuses in the class. As most Cuban signees do even though they’re often a little older, Jorge spent his first pro season in the DSL for tax purposes. At age 20, he’s a bit old for his 2023 complex-level assignment and is torching the pitching there so far. He is so talented and physically remarkable that he may not truly be tested until he leaves Arizona and faces full-season pitching, and perhaps not even then.

Jorge is an athletic marvel with as much physical projection as you’ll currently find in the minors. High-waisted and broad-shouldered, he’s built like a Fernando Tatis Jr. clone. He’s an electric rotational athlete with plus present bat speed and a build that portends more power. His downward-cutting swing may need tweaking to fully actualize his power potential, but the contact and plate discipline track record Jorge has exhibited early on in his pro career is very strong. That’s particularly notable because long-levered hitters like him tend to have at least a little bit of data-evident swing-and-miss risk.

Things are not settled on defense here. Jorge plays with a high center of gravity, he isn’t a particularly great bender, and his general lack of flexibility creates skepticism around his ability to stay at shortstop, though he has the speed to play center field if he has to move off the dirt. This is an extraordinarily talented up-the-middle prospect who has a chance to grow into huge raw power and be a well-rounded star.

45+ FV Prospects

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 19.6 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

Vargas is a loose, ultra-projectable, strike-throwing starter prospect with a curvaceous breaking ball. At age 18, Vargas was already sitting 93-95 mph with disruptive tailing action, and he’s held that velo as his innings load and per-start output has grown upon entering full-season ball. His curveball is a knee-buckling parabola of death, he’s adept at creating tail on his changeup, and his general athleticism and the looseness of his arm action portend continued growth in this area. 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. He was an offseason Pick to Click (a guy we think will be on the top 100 within 12 months) and is tracking like a “hit” in that regard. I just want to see him hold his velo and sustain this level of performance at closer to a 100-inning load.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (COL)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 198 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 25/60 40/30 30/40 45

Fernandez is absolutely raking right now, but beware of corner guys with plate discipline this poor. His performance so far in 2023 is not sustainable; players whose swinging strike rates are this high (nearly 16% as of list publication) but who strike out as little as Fernandez has this year (17%) don’t exist at the big league level. That isn’t to say that Fernandez isn’t talented, in fact quite the opposite. He’s a strapping, broad-shouldered young man with considerable thunder in his hands, a more muscular physique than is typical for a hitter this age, and much better rotational athleticism than a hitter this physical typically touts. He can do real damage without taking out-of-control swings (though that doesn’t stop him from swinging out of his shoes), giving him the look of a dangerous lefty stick with a contact and power blend that is undercut by his plate discipline. Fernandez torches pitches in the middle/down portion of the zone and is going to hit some epic pull-side homers in the big leagues. The lift in his swing helps ensure that he will get to power when he makes contact. There’s still a ton of approach-related risk here but enough feel to hit to support a corner platoon profile, with a chance for Fernandez to take a leap and be an impact player if the youngster can become more selective.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Holy Ghost Prep HS (PA) (CLE)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 45/55 45/45 30/40 60

One of a couple of young outfielders Cleveland traded away around the 40-man deadline, Jones is a former second round draft pick and Top 100 prospect who fell down the defensive spectrum toward the end of his Guardians tenure while also continuing to produce game power below his raw. Jones played shortstop in high school but, realistically at his size, he was at best going to be a third baseman in pro ball. His size has made that difficult, and Cleveland (partially because of their big league needs) gave up on it in 2022, when Jones only played right field and DH’d. Traded to the Rockies for second baseman Juan Brito, Jones is back to sometimes playing on the dirt and has seen action at all four corner positions. The dominoes that fell as a result of the Brendan Rodgers injury opened up reps at third base, where the rust from his lack of 2022 time showed upon reintroduction, and he actually looks most comfortable at first. But it’s not as if Jones immediately took to the outfield in 2022, and if he’s going to be a 40 defender, it may as well be at his most valuable possible position. While he’s played all four corner spots in the minors, he’s mostly played right field and first base during his 2023 big league time.

Jones has long produced above-average walk rates, but there’s disagreement in the industry as to whether he’s passive or actually selective. His walk rates have come way down as he’s climbed the ladder, which is perhaps evidence of the former. While he has plus raw power, Jones’ looping swing (which is vulnerable to fastballs up and away from him) tends to generate low-lying contact that causes his in-game pop to play down, and he tends to only damage mistakes that find their way to the inner third of the plate. His gigantic frame still isn’t totally filled out, and he probably has room to add another full grade of raw power as he matures. Even with a 40-grade hit tool, if Jones ever finds a way to get to more of that power in games, he might just be an everyday 1B/DH. Here he’s projected as a four corner platoon option.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Gonzaga (COL)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/60 45/50 40/50 30/50 91-94 / 97

Hughes has had an enigmatic first full season. In his first 2023 spring outing, he dominated Dodgers big leaguers in a Salt River Fields tuneup, but by the middle of June he was running an ERA well over six, and a scout source who saw a few of Hughes’ most recent starts prior to list publication saw him sitting 91-92 mph. Hughes has had several 2023 outings where he’s given up six or more runs, and scouts (two separate sources, in fact) who have seen him in person during the regular season say he withers as soon as runners reach base.

I don’t want to overreact to a relatively small sample, nor do I want to “predict” more than “scout” in any prospect’s case. The Rockies don’t have a good track record of developing pitchers and that may very well impact Hughes’ outcome, but he is still doing a lot of the things that have made him a great prospect since his college underclass days. Hughes has a big, prototypical starter’s frame, mid-90s arm strength (until recently), and plus breaking stuff. He’ll sit 93-95 mph early in his outings, then tends to fall off into the low 90s late, with cut and sink that keeps him off barrels. He also has a two-plane slider that has transitioned from being a short, cuttery pitch into a more traditional sweeper. He may now have two different breaking balls as evidenced by the range of velos he exhibits (he’ll bend them in anywhere between 77 and 86 mph), but their shapes tend to run together. Some of the longer ones are plus. Hughes’ delivery is a little violent and inconsistent such that there’s relief risk here, but his size, athleticism, arm speed, and stuff are all very exciting, and even if he moved to the bullpen, he’d have a shot to work as a set-up man or better. Despite the extreme inconsistency of his results so far in pro ball, he remains in the 45 FV tier as a no. 4/5 starter, albeit with greater variance than was ascribed to his prospectdom before last year’s draft.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Florida (COL)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/50 30/50 50/50 20/20 55

Thompson doesn’t have a position. He’s no better a third base defender than a lot of people reading this sentence right now, and barring a successful conversion to the outfield, he projects as a DH. It means he’s going to have to rake to be a big leaguer. The good news is, he might. While he isn’t as physically impressive as a DH-only stud like Jorge Soler, Thompson’s bat control and feel for the strike zone elevates modest physical tools enough to make him a likely big league contributor. He has a compact lefty swing and is adept at barrelling fastballs and sending them to all fields. He rarely ever misses an in-zone heater and can drop the bat head and hit ones down-and-in, or flatten his path and drive fastballs at the letters the other way. Thompson struggled to connect with secondary pitches at Florida, but his ability to spot them in mid-air and lay off of them has served him well so far in pro ball. His chase rates are supremely low, which is helping him target pitches he can drive as well as take a walk. The upper-level track record of a Michael Busch or Edouard Julien, two DH-only Top 100 prospects, is not yet here. Thompson’s lack of overt physical tools means most of his prospect stock will be determined by his performance rather than how he looks. He missed all of May with an injury but when healthy, he’s been the most consistent hitter on a stacked Spokane roster.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from Memphis (COL)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 70/70 45/60 30/30 30/30 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 2021 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 hit tool. He’s continued to catch on occasion but is now mostly playing a combination of first base and left field. There is probably a subset of pitchers who Goodman could catch, pitchers whose stuff doesn’t finish in the dirt. Asking him to smother chase-inducing breaking balls is a bridge too far, though. He also likely isn’t an everyday left fielder or first baseman because he isn’t an especially good defender at those spots either, but as a multi-positional power hitter who you hide at a few different positions, he’s going to be a damn good role player. Goodman has some of the best power in the minors, approaching 70-grade raw. He’s more apt to get to that power against breaking balls that catch the plate than any other pitch type, and I expect big league pitchers will try to blow velocity past him at the letters, where he tends to expand the zone. There’s enough playable power here for Goodman to be a good role player even though he’s a 30 defender whose hit tool will probably also be well below average.

10. Jordan Beck, RF

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Tennessee (COL)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 35/50 50/50 30/50 50

Beck is crushing the Northwest League on paper, but I’m not making any alterations to his evaluation or FV grade. He’s a fair right field prospect, with a hulking frame, above-average raw power, and a hit tool that is likely to mature below the big league average. Beck is playing a mix of all three outfield positions and his feel isn’t great for any of them. He’s very likely to end up in a corner and has a little ways to go to be considered average there. That’s going to put a ton of pressure on his bat. Beck has enough power to profile in a corner, with wrist-flicking oppo pop and an ability to drop the bat head and yank pull-side contact out to left field. But its playability is limited to low pitches right now. He’s swinging underneath a lot of fastballs, something that will become more of an issue against upper-level pitching. Beck’s bottom-hand dominant swing lopes through the lower portion of the zone, and I think there will have to be an eventual adjustment for Beck to continue hitting this way against harder-throwing arms. Beck is definitely a prospect, but readers are cautioned against simply scouting his statline. There are swing elements that put Beck at risk of falling short of the lofty offensive bar he’d need to clear to be an everyday player.

11. Zac Veen, RF

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Spruce Creek HS (COL)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 30/45 70/70 50/60 55

I wrote on the offseason Top 100 that things were still in a holding pattern with Veen because while he has huge tools and has performed in the low minors, the length of his swing makes it very difficult for him to turn on fastballs. Veen rotates with rare ferocity, and his broad-shouldered, 6-foot-4 frame leaves room for immense strength as he matures, projection he’s already begun to actualize. As explosive as most of his body is, Veen’s hands are not, and he tends to be long into the hitting zone, which is where his fastball vulnerability stems from. Pitchers work him in on the hands, then get him to swing over the top of back-foot breaking balls once Veen starts to cheat on heaters in that spot. Per Synergy, Veen saw just shy of 100 fastballs thrown 94 mph and above at Double-A this season and hit .125 against them with a .347 OPS. Indeed, almost all of Veen’s pull-side contact into the outfield after being promoted to Double-A came against secondary pitches, which big league pitchers will have little incentive to offer him.

Veen is going to wreak havoc on the bases. He plays with an elite motor, moves from base to base with just a few gigantic strides, and commits to the next base with abandon in borderline situations. He added meaningful muscle and strength during the 2022-23 offseason, and came to spring training with a noticeably stronger physique. His current swing is sexier than it is functional, so it’s tough to project Veen as the five-tool superstar that it felt like he could become when he was drafted, and right now he looks more like a reserve outfielder with one elite tool. He’ll remain in this FV tier unless a relevant adjustment is made to his swing. Veen had surgery to repair ligaments in his hand days before list publication and will be on the shelf for the rest of 2023.

12. Drew Romo, C

Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from The Woodlands HS (TX) (COL)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 30/35 30/35 45/45 45/55 50

Even while he makes an above-average rate of contact at Double-A Hartford, Romo is having a down 2023 with the bat. He also doesn’t look quite the same as a defender. His receiving is still fine, but his arm strength has been more average and his ball-blocking ability has regressed. He looks less twitchy than he has historically, as high school Romo was one of the more athletic catching prospects of the last decade. It’s pertinent to be kind to catchers having a rough stretch, as the physical grind of the position often masks their talent for long periods of time. Romo’s ability to play the position at all, coupled with his contact ability, would be enough to make him a career big leaguer, but he won’t be a primary catcher unless the impact defense we’ve seen from him in the past returns.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 45/55 35/50 40/40 30/50 55

Bernabel’s lively hitting hands drive a fairly exciting hitter profile even though he has some scary indicators related to his plate discipline. Bernabel’s swing is rhythmic, balanced, athletic, and has natural loft without compromising contact. He has great bat-to-ball feel in the zone (86% Z-contact%), and the lightning-fast way his hands fire allows him to let the baseball travel deep before deciding to swing. He often decides wrong, though. Bernabel is one of the more aggressive hitters in all of pro baseball, chasing at a 37% clip and swinging 54% of the time in 2022.

After a very slow first month of 2023, Bernabel hit the IL with back spasms and missed the month prior to list publication. At this stage of the season, my hope was that he would either keep raking or be exposed and be forced to adjust, but the injury has prevented the latter from happening. He has the hit and power combination to be an everyday third baseman if he can chase fewer non-competitive breaking balls, but he’s a risky young hitter because of how often he tends to. Bernabel is on the 40-man roster and in his first option year. He’s quite young and still only has about a month of reps above A-ball. His second option year will almost certainly be used next season as he continues to try to be more selective or be eaten alive by more mature pitching. The time away adds risk to an already shaky profile, so I’ve rounded Bernabel’s FV down a tier since the Imminent Big Leaguers article.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Cal State Fullerton (PHI)
Age 27.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 45/45 55/55 55/60 90-93 / 94

Drafted by the Phillies in 2017 and traded to the Red Sox in 2020, Seabold made his major league debut with the Sox in 2021 and it’s taken him a while to establish himself as a big league rotation piece, in part due to injury. His 2021 (elbow) and 2022 (forearm extensor strain) seasons both featured time on the shelf. About a month before 2023 spring training began, the BoSox traded Seabold to Colorado for a Player To Be Named Later. He looked healthy at the start of camp, when he sat his usual 90-94 mph with uphill plane, which has continued into the season as he’s transitioned from the Rockies’ bullpen into their rotation.

Seabold throws a ton of strikes with his fastball and slider, which has become his go-to secondary. His slider, which tops out around 87 mph, is unusually hard for a guy whose fastball sits about 92. Seabold can also turn over a good low-80s changeup, which used to be his best pitch; while it still induces its fair share of chases and whiffs, it is closer to an average pitch than plus. His changeup usage has been on the rise since he hopped into the rotation. A cogent four-pitch mix and plus command make Seabold a high-probability backend starter, though his fastball might prove to be extremely vulnerable at Coors Field.

15. Jeff Criswell, MIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Michigan (OAK)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 206 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/60 45/50 40/45 30/40 92-95 / 97

Criswell was a huge part of Michigan’s 2019 College World Series runner up team and was Oakland’s second-round pick after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He walked a batter every other inning during his college career, which, combined with several pro injuries, pushes his projection toward the bullpen. Aside from a brief velo spike into the 94-97 mph range during 2020 instructs, Criswell has been sitting 92-95 as a pro. After he dealt with elbow inflammation a few times in 2021, he had a totally healthy 2022 and worked 118 innings across 24 games as he reached Triple-A Las Vegas. He was traded from Oakland to Colorado after the season for reliever and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith; now at Triple-A Albuquerque, he has again been sitting 92-95 so far this season.

Imbalance in Criswell’s lower half continues to detract from his command a bit and contributes to variability in the shape of his secondary stuff. His repertoire depth gives him a shot to start, specifically his changeup, which is better than my pre-draft assessment. It’s already a viable third pitch (his mid-80s slider is his preferred secondary) and projects as an above-average offering. A four-pitch complement will enable Criswell to work at the back of a rotation so long as his pitch efficiency improves a bit, but it’s more likely that he ends up in a bulk relief role.

16. Joe Rock, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2021 from Ohio (COL)
Age 22.9 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 91-94 / 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 in 2021 after an early-season no-hitter. His frame, small school/cold weather pedigree and the missed year of reps were all late-bloomer traits that indicated his already solid stuff could become better with pro development. He pitched well throughout 2022, his first full pro season, and began 2023 at Double-A Hartford, where his strikeout rate has fallen considerably.

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 from the batter’s box to really seem comfortable in there, especially the lefties. There have been flashes of an above-average slider and changeup, though Rock’s finishing pitch has been his slider to this point. His slider command is much more advanced than that of his changeup, but the changeup’s action is better when he releases it correctly. 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 the moment, he has a shot to pitch toward the back of a rotation.

17. Victor Juarez, SP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Mexico (COL)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 173 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/40 50/50 50/60 35/60 91-93 / 94

Last season, Juarez skipped right over the Rockies Arizona complex level and was sent to Low-A Fresno at age 18. He’s now barely 20 years old and dealing with the unforgiving offensive environment at High-A Spokane. Juarez can really pitch. He has a well-balanced and consistent delivery, and commands all three of his pitches, but he’s a short strider, which creates downhill angle on his fastball and causes it to play down. He had a velo spike early in 2022 but that has not held. He ended up sitting 91-93 mph across all of last year and has been in that range again in 2023. His upper-70s curveball and mid-80s changeup are both promising offerings that should at least mature to average, and Juarez’s ability to kill spin and create action on his changeup might make that pitch even better over time. Now that it appears as though his 2022 velo uptick was short-lived, the not-very-projectable Juarez’s ceiling is likely capped at the back of a rotation due to his fastball’s vulnerability.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Louisville (COL)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 20/50 55/60 30/45 30/45 90-93 / 95

After pitching out of the Louisville bullpen for his entire college tenure, Prosecky’s pro career is off to a great start in the Fresno rotation. The southpaw has a short, vertical arm stroke that helps his heater play as an in-zone bat misser despite average velocity. He hides the ball forever and it appears to jump on hitters very quickly. Off of that he throws a classic 12-to-6 curveball, which is virtually indistinguishable from his fastball until it starts to bend with huge, bat-missing depth. Those two pitches give Prosecky a reliever’s foundation. He’s a bit of a short strider and his arm stroke isn’t always well-timed, but so far Prosecky has thrown enough strikes to continue developing as a starter. His third pitch is currently a changeup, which is still below average but has long-term ceiling because of the whip of Prosecky’s arm stroke. It’s perhaps more likely that his ability to spin it leads to a second type of breaker, like a two-planed slider. Either way, Prosecky is probably just scratching the surface of a third offering because of his collegiate role.

The median projection for Prosecky is probably still that of a backend starter, and it’s tough to rank him ahead of players with a similar profile who are younger, closer to the big leagues, or both. But of all the 40 FV pitchers in this layer of the Rockies system, he’s the one with the best chance to make a leap over the next 12 months because of his malleability.

19. Brenton Doyle, CF

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Shepherd (COL)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/30 60/60 30/40 60/60 55/60 55

Doyle was a toolsy draftee from Shepherd University, a tiny Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference program (a conference that has given us the likes of Joey Wendle, Matt Festa, and Ryan Vogelsong) in West Virginia that also had a QB prospect for this year’s NFL Draft (Tyson Bagent — look it up, nerds). Doyle has huge tools and one of the best physiques in professional baseball. He is a plus-running athletic freak capable of hitting huge pull-side homers and making incredible defensive plays in center field, it’s just that Doyle’s pitch recognition is still sushi raw as he approaches age 25, and he may not hit enough to play a meaningful big league role. He has punched out in 31% of his career full-season plate appearances, a ruby red flag. He also hit 26 homers and stole 23 bases (in 26 attempts) last season, but his overall line (almost entirely at Double-A Hartford) was still a shade below the average (96 wRC+) in the Eastern League.

Of course, prospects from such small programs deserve ample time to adjust to pro quality pitching, but Doyle has now been in the Rockies system for nearly half a decade and hope that he might be able to do that is becoming less reasonable by the day. Doyle is still a prospect of extreme variance and volatility, but his center field defense should allow him to play some sort of big league role even if his hit tool bottoms out and he ends up being a right-handed version of Bradley Zimmer. He’s been up in Colorado since late-April and has been tracking right in line with his pre-call-up eval as a rookie.

20. Jaden Hill, MIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from LSU (COL)
Age 23.5 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 94-98 / 99

Hill was an exciting high school prospect with a low-90s fastball and a plus changeup, but wildness helped funnel him to LSU, where he had a huge velo spike. Multiple injuries, including a 2021 Tommy John, prevented him from ever pitching long enough to prove that he had bettered his command. It’s now been about a year since Hill returned from his TJ rehab and his strike-throwing has remained well below average. He’s still sitting 94-98 mph, but his heater’s shape and Hill’s scattered command of it causes it to play down. His slider has caught up to his changeup quality and has maybe even surpassed it because his feel for finishing it is more consistent than his change. Even with the round-down elements of his fastball, Hill’s secondary stuff is good enough for him to be a late-inning reliever if he can hone his command, but things have been rough enough for long enough now that I’m not projecting that to happen anymore.

21. Julio Carreras, SS

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 30/30 30/30 60/60 55/60 60

Carreras’ carrying tool is his defense. He has fantastic defensive footwork, his hands, actions, and transfer are all lightning quick, he has a flair for making acrobatic plays around the second base bag, and his arm is fine (if a little inaccurate at times) for shortstop. For a bit while Carreras was in the low minors, it appeared as though he might grow into meaningful power, but that hasn’t happened and he’s still a relatively skinny, light-hitting offensive player whose propensity to chase is also a bit of a problem. There probably won’t be sufficient offensive impact for Carreras to be a regularly or even oft-used complementary player, but his defense will very likely make him a bench infielder who provides a late-game defensive upgrade.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Red Land HS (PA) (COL)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 45/55 20/40 70/70 30/45 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 prep players available, a big-framed center field prospect with rare athleticism and power projection, and fair batted ball showcase performance for a cold weather guy. 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. 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. Montgomery had a big first full season (.313/.394/.502) aided by a .419 BABIP and the hitting environment in the Cal League. When you adjust for BABIP, his 2023 performance hasn’t been all that different, as Montgomery is once again striking out at a roughly 27% clip.

I don’t see how this is going to work unless Montgomery’s swing changes. His hands are incredibly noisy and active in a couple different directions while the ball is in flight, and I fear he’s going to be very K-prone as he ascends the minors. He still runs well enough to be developed in center field, but Montgomery isn’t great at actually fielding the baseball. His approach to corralling hits in front of him is tentative and slow, and he often mishandles the ball, surrendering an extra base. If he can actually develop into a viable center fielder, which he has the wheels to do, then he could be a Jake Marisnick-y reserve outfielder.

23. Carson Palmquist, MIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Miami (COL)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/50 45/50 30/45 88-92 / 94

A sidearm lefty starter with a Clay Rapada-esque delivery, Palmquist’s repertoire depth should enable him to be more than just a lefty specialist. He is capable of missing bats with all three pitches, though his ability to do so in-zone is limited to his fastball. Palmquist struggles to command his fastball to his glove side, which makes it tough to set up his slider. Still, his level of funk, as well as his mechanical looseness, athleticism and repertoire depth look like they could work through a lineup in a multi-inning relief role, one that leans more on his secondaries than Palmquist did in college. He’s been starting at High-A Spokane and is faring well so far in 2023.

24. Gavin Hollowell, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2019 from St. John’s (COL)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/50 92-96 / 97

A sixth rounder from 2019, Hollowell first popped onto FanGraphs’ radar when he was pumping mid-90s gas during 2021 instructs. In 2022, the Rockies leapt him over High-A and sent him straight to Hartford, where he struck out 34% of opposing hitters across about 50 relief innings before he was given his first dose of the big leagues in September. Hollowell didn’t throw quite as hard in 2022 as he did during that breakout instructs, instead sitting more in the 92-94 mph range, but he was back in the 93-96 range at the start of 2023.

His fastball should theoretically play up because of his delivery’s extension and the upshot angle it creates on the fastball. Even at average velocities in 2022, it played like a plus pitch, and if he can sustain the 93-96 velo band, it will be a dynamic big league offering. Hollowell’s slider is also plus and is a great front-door weapon against righties who have often just seen a fastball running in on their hands. While he overwhelmingly uses a two-seam/four-seam combo and a slider to get outs, Hollowell has also shown a little baby cutter and changeup on occasion. He looks like a third bullpen banana on a contender when his stuff is really humming, but his velo has fluctuated enough to take the under and project Hollowell as a stock middle-inning guy.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 22.8 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

Things still haven’t clicked for Castillo from a control/command standpoint for more than a few starts at a time. He has the stuff of a hard-throwing, sinkerballing starter with a mid-90s two-seamer and a curt slider/cutter typically in the 84-88 mph range. He threw his slider for strikes over 70% of the time in 2022 but his two-seamer just 58% of the time. An obvious bullpen candidate (how hard might he throw an inning or two at a time?), Castillo might be able to fold in his slider more often early in counts if hitters are only going to see him once. His two different fastballs (four- and two-seam variants) plus the slider essentially give him three pitches, as Castillo’s changeup seems to have been de-emphasized this year. He missed some time with a wrist sprain in early May and had a two-week absence just prior to list publication, which ended with his first-career relief appearance. While shorter than the typical pitcher, Castillo is a powerfully-built athlete with plus arm speed, the kind of prospect you want to bet on figuring things out over the long-term. In this case, “figuring it out” probably looks like a solid sinker/slider middle reliever.

26. McCade Brown, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Indiana (COL)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 55/60 30/40 92-96 / 97

Brown enjoyed a velocity uptick between his freshman and sophomore years at Indiana and sat 92-96 mph before the COVID shutdown. He retained that velo into 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. His ERA was inflated by the Cal League hitting environment in 2022, but Brown struck out a 118 batters in 90 innings, mostly with his two great breaking balls. He was shut down late in the year with elbow soreness and had surgery in April of 2023.

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. 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 nasty reliever.

35+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from Texas Tech (COL)
Age 24.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/55 30/45 20/20 30/45 50

A bat-first college catcher at Texas Tech, Fulford has predictably crushed the lower minors and was promoted to Double-A Hartford at the end of May. He and fellow slugging backstop Hunter Goodman were birds of a feather, drafted for their offense and handed to Rockies catching guru Jerry Weinstein to develop. Fulford has gotten significantly better behind the dish since turning pro and now looks like a pretty good bet to stay back there. He has below-average hands and he’s not great at framing borderline pitches or at picking balls in the dirt, but things aren’t so bad that he has to move off the position. Fulford’s swing has a weird double toe tap and a very high front side that prevents him from reaching sliders away from him. It makes sense for him to have a simple swing, as he’s strong enough to do damage with just his hands, but his current cut compromises his plate coverage enough to consider him more of a third catcher prospect than a bat-first backup at this stage.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 19.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/35 20/20 30/40 45

Betancourt had among the DSL’s best stat lines in 2022. This season, he was skipped over the complex and sent straight to Low-A Fresno, where he’s playing a mix of catcher and first base. Betancourt isn’t a lock to catch, with his ball-blocking currently the most undercooked aspect of his defense. He’s close to physically maxed-out and likely won’t have the raw power to profile at first base if it turns out he can’t stay behind the plate. Betancourt can hit, though. He has a compact lefty stroke with a simple toe tap that keeps him on time. His front foot is down super early and he just shifts his momentum forward without a lot of moving parts. He could be a contact-oriented part-time C/1B but is unlikely to be an impact player.

29. Robert Calaz, DH

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 17.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/70 25/60 30/20 20/35 50

The top Rockies prospect signed in January, Calaz is a huge, power-hitting prospect with plus pull-side pop. He’s a bit lumbering, which, combined with his size at this age, caused him to fall toward the very bottom of the 2023 signing class’ long-term defensive projections. He’ll be developed as a corner outfielder; the DH designation here is more to indicate that I think that’s in play for him rather than to denote his immediate position. He has big power potential and basically no hit tool margin for error since he’s very likely to end up at the bottom of the defensive spectrum, DH or not.

30. Noah Davis, SP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from UC Santa Barbara (CIN)
Age 26.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/50 55/55 50/55 40/45 45/50 92-94 / 95

An 11th round pick by the Reds who was later traded for Mychal Givens, Davis is a central casting backend starter with a deep repertoire of mostly average pitches that will only play if he can find a more consistent release. During his recent meltdown outing against the Angels, Davis’ line to the plate was all over the place and you saw what big league hitters will do to his stuff when he isn’t locating. Velocity-wise, Davis will bump 95 mph but generally sits 92-94 with tailing action. He’ll show you a cutter, slider, curveball, and changeup, the last of which he threw less than 10% of the time in 2022, though it’s been his best secondary so far in 2023. Davis will use his change against hitters of either handedness and can parachute it back over the plate against righties for called strikes. His slower breaking ball has enough angle to play as a back-foot bat-misser against lefties; if his changeup isn’t his best pitch, then it’s this breaking ball. Our 2022 pitch data does not have Davis throwing a cutter, so that pitch might be entirely new, but he was definitely throwing one to start 2023 spring training. It’s possible that pitch will be a bigger difference maker over time since it appears to be new. He’s a spot-starter/swingman with a chance to establish himself as a backend starter over the next few years.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 23.5 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 30/40 30/30 40/40 40/45 50

Palma is built like a Volkswagen Beetle and is extremely difficult to make swing and miss. He tracks pitches beautifully and guides the barrel all over the zone, spraying soft contact to all fields and usually producing a strikeout rate in the 10-12% range throughout his career. He’s also barely played, in part due to injury, and has only averaged about 40 annual games as a pro. Palma’s lack of size would likely make it difficult to sustain his offensive performance across a full season of plate appearances, so he’s better suited for a reserve catcher role. He’s not such a great defender that he should be considered a backup catching prospect, but his rare bat-to-ball skill for the position should enable him to be the third stringer on a 40-man.

32. Jackson Cox, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Toutle Lake (WA) (COL)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 60/70 30/45 20/50 91-94 / 96

If you’re looking for elite spin rates as part of a prospect’s foundation, this is your guy. Cox’s breaking ball routinely spins in the 2900-3100 rpm range and has huge two-plane wipe. His fastball, which will reach 96 mph but sits more 92-93, is relatively true due to Cox’s generic three-quarters arm slot and might get hit a ton in pro ball without mechanical alteration. A short-strider with a bit of cross-body action to his delivery, it may be as simple as tweaking Cox’s stride length or direction to alter the shape of his fastball, or parlaying his talent for spinning the ball into a breaking pitch that plays better with a sinker, but to this point neither happened. The track record of guys with curveball/sinker combos isn’t great, as those two pitches are typically easy for advanced hitters to parse out of hand. Cox is of medium build, not maxed out but not in possession of round-up physical projection that might make me think his fastball will play anyway. Cox is a fair prospect, just not the sort of teenage pitcher most teams (or this author) would give nearly $2 million of draft pool space to sign.

33. Michael Toglia, 1B

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from UCLA (COL)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 226 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 60/60 55

Toglia was written up as a bench weapon on the Imminent Big Leaguers list and hasn’t done anything since that list ran to alter that projection. His strikeout rates have hovered around the 30% mark since he reached Double-A, a daming sign for most prospects let alone one who has to clear the lofty offensive bar at first base. For the second straight year, he is evaluated here as a great off-the-bench weapon, a switch-hitter with plus power and first base defense, just one who isn’t projected to make nearly enough contact to be a good team’s everyday first baseman. Toglia 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. Back-foot breaking balls especially give Toglia fits from both sides of the plate. When he does make contact, though, his power is evident. He has thunderous, plus pop and will put balls out to the opposite field as both a left- and right-handed hitter. The notion of this kind of power in Coors Field is certainly enticing, but be aware that there are basically no major league first basemen who strike out this much, let alone ones who struck out this much in the minors.

34. Tommy Doyle, SIRP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Virginia (COL)
Age 27.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
45/45 60/60 50/50 91-94 / 96

Doyle has barely pitched since 2019 because of the pandemic and injuries, but he’s back and pitching pretty well at Albuquerque. His upper-80s slider is still a plus pitch, while his fastball isn’t quite hard enough to project him in a steady middle-inning role. He’s ticketed for up/down duty.

35. Karl Kauffmann, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Michigan (COL)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/55 55/55 40/45 90-92 / 95

Kauffmann made his big league debut this year. He throws a one-seam sinker, a splitter, and a sweeping slider, all of which have enough action to keep him off barrels even though his heater only sits 90-92 mph. He’s able to work his sinker down and in to right-handed hitters and force them to top it into the ground, while Kauffmann’s slider gives him a weapon that moves to his arm side and punishes hitters for anticipating his sinker’s action. Kauffmann’s splitter bottoms out with plus dive just as it approaches the plate, but it’s tough for him to command and has fallen behind his slider in terms of usage. Every team needs plenty of pitching depth, so Kauffmann is poised to have a lengthy big league career as a fun-to-watch spot starter. He probably needs to sharpen his command by a full grade to profile as a stable and consistent back-of-the rotation type.

36. Riley Pint, SIRP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS) (COL)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 30/30 94-97 / 100

It will be a triumph of Pint’s perseverance if/when he seizes hold of a consistent big league role. He’s had many injuries (some severe), bouts of severe wildness (which sometimes is still the case), and even briefly retired before returning to the Rockies in the spring of 2022. He and Daniel Bard briefly occupied the same bullpen this season. The former top draft pick still has issues with walks and fastball playability, but sheer arm strength and the quality of Pint’s slider enabled him to wear a Rockies uniform. He sits 94-97 mph and his best cutters/sliders are late-biting benders in the 86-89 mph range. He’s only throwing strikes at a 55% clip as of list publication, which puts Pint in an up/down bucket almost by default.

37. Dugan Darnell, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2021 (COL)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Splitter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 30/30 60/60 40/40 92-95 / 97

After he was finished pitching at Division-III Adrian College, Darnell pitched in a few independent leagues and worked as a mortgage loan officer (according to his LinkedIn) until he signed with the Rockies in 2021. He has struck out more than a batter per inning since debuting in affiliated ball and has reached Double-A Hartford, where he’s continuing to strike out plenty of upper-level hitters in 2023. Darnell will touch 97 mph and the uphill angle of his fastball helps it miss bats. His splitter’s movement varies from pitch to pitch, at times looking like a slider, at others like a true splitter, and sometimes it just sort of floats toward the plate and still garners an uncomfortable swing. This guy has carved a unique path to the upper levels of the minors and is going to pitch in the big leagues.

38. Angel Chivilli, SIRP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 20.9 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

Chivilli is a long-levered relief prospect with mid-90s arm strength and a plus-flashing changeup. His feel for release is extremely inconsistent, which is why he is essentially a relief-only prospect at this point. Chivilli is a talented dev project.

39. PJ Poulin, SIRP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from UConn (COL)
Age 26.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 50/50 55/55 89-93 / 94

An athletic drop-and-drive lefty, Poulin has been a consistent statistical performer since entering pro ball. He has a sneaky, upshot fastball in the low-90s, a long, slow, sweeping slider in the upper-70s, and a changeup he could stand to use more because he has consistent arm-side feel for it. It’s a bit of a smoke and mirrors operation that should be fine in lower-leverage, up/down relief.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Up-the-Middle Depth
Andy Perez, SS
Ryan Ritter, SS
Kody Huff, C
Hunter Stovall, 2B
Bladimir Restituyo, CF
Braiden Ward, CF
Nic Kent, SS

Perez, 19, is a super projectable lefty-hitting shortstop from Cuba who skipped the complex and was sent to Fresno after two years in the DSL. His underlying bat-to-ball performance is better than his surface stats, but his swing is just so long and geared for low-ball contact that I’m not sure it will work long-term. Ritter has 14 bombs as of list publication, but he’s coming out of the SEC (he was the Rockies’ 2022 fourth rounder from Kentucky) so he should be crushing the Cal League. He’s striking out 25% of the time and, same as pre-draft, I don’t think he’ll hit enough to make the main section of the list. Huff was a multi-positional Phoenix high schooler who went to Stanford to catch. I think his swing is grooved, but Huffy has been super hot in the month leading up to list publication and could use a promotion to test the bat. Stovall has a long track record of bat-to-ball performance, but a 2B/1B/LF fit on defense needs a bit more pop than he has. Restutiyo, 21, can go get it in center field, but he has some of the worst plate discipline in pro baseball. Ward, 24, was Colorado’s 16th rounder in 2021 out of Washington. He can fly and has begun to see time at second base in addition to all three outfield spots. He’s performed at a near league-average level in A-ball, for which he’s pretty old. Kent, a 2021 11th rounder from Virginia, can really pick it. The 23-year-old is repeating High-A and having a better year with the bat than in 2022.

Injured Lefties
Helcris Olivarez, LHP
Sam Weatherly, LHP
Ryan Rolison, LHP

Olivarez and Weatherly have both been 40+ FV prospects in the past as hard-throwing lefties with plus breaking stuff. Both have been out for most of the last couple of years with severe shoulder ailments. A former first rounder, Rolison’s stuff was down after returning from shoulder surgery this year and he’s back on the IL as of early June.

Potential Relievers
Case Williams, RHP
Evan Justice, LHP
Michael Peterson, RHP

At points during the past couple of years, Williams (who has gone back and forth in trades from Cincinnati) has looked like one of the better pitching prospects in the system. At times, he’s been into the mid-90s with plus breaking stuff, while at others he’s in the low-90s and getting shelled. Maybe a shift to the bullpen will help him find consistency. The Rockies don’t really have to decide until next season, Williams’ 40-man evaluation year, at the earliest. Justice is a lefty reliever at Double-A Hartford who’s sitting 94-95 mph with plus deception and tailing action. He’s working with his heater about 70% of the time and a lack of slider feel is all that kept him from the main section of the list. Peterson has been a FanGraphs fascination for a while now, a British flamethrower who will touch 100 mph but struggles to throw strikes and stay healthy.

Potential Depth/Spot Starters
Connor Staine, RHP
Alberto Pacheco, LHP
Chris McMahon, RHP
Nick Garcia, RHP
Connor Van Scoyoc, RHP

Staine got off to a great start in his draft year at UCF before his stuff and command waned as the 2022 draft approached. At his best, he was sitting 94-97 mph with a good slider, but more often he’s 92-94 with fringe command. Pacheco is a 20-year-old lefty with plus command of below-average stuff. His slider command might enable him to outpace this projection. McMahon, a former second rounder, missed most of 2022 with injury but is back and pitching at Hartford, where he’s sitting 91-92 with a good slider. Garcia, 24, was Pittsburgh’s 2020 third rounder from D-III Chapman University and was acquired for Connor Joe. He is running a nearly 8.00 ERA at Hartford while sitting 90-92 with a good changeup. Van Scoyoc was acquired from the Angels for Mike Moustakas just before list publication. He sits 91-93 with a very strange angle that helps his fastball play in the zone as a bat-misser. He can cut or sink his heater and has an above-average curveball, but he isn’t a typical athletic fit on the mound and his arm action is so long that it has an intermission.

Power Bats
Aaron Schunk, 3B
Grant Lavigne, 1B
Robby Martin Jr., OF
Zach Kokoska, 1B

Both Schunk and Lavigne are former high draft picks who I worry lack the hit tools to profile at their respective positions. Schunk, 25, is a former second round pick who had that J.D. Davis/Casey Schmitt/Matt Chapman college role, in which he was a power-hitting third base prospect who also pitched. He fell off the prospect lists here after the 2021 season because of strikeouts, but he’s performed at or above the league average each of the last two years as an old-for-the-level player. Lavigne was a high school comp pick in 2018 who walks a ton and has a 40 bat with 50 raw power and a groundball-heavy profile. Martin was a big deal as a high school and college prospect, a physical lefty corner outfield prospect from Florida State with contact issues to overcome. Mr. Kokoska is 24 and currently crushing High-A. He has a super quick top hand that snatches high fastballs to his pull side with power. I’m skeptical of the performance because of his age and the hitting environment in Spokane.

System Overview

I consider this to be an average farm system, but there are scouts who cover the org who would think that’s light. I’m skeptical of the bats who have been at Spokane for most of this season, but in the course of work on this list, no fewer than three of my sources said they think that as many as a half-dozen Top 100 prospects have emerged from that group or will in the future. The gap between my evaluation of Jordan Beck and that of these sources seems to be the biggest. It’s not that I think these players are bad, just that they aren’t the everyday, omni-situational bats that I envision as Top 100 prospects. I am all-in on Adael Amador, though, who at worst has a skill set similar to Jeff McNeil’s.

The Rockies’ core competencies and deficiencies have remained the same for some time, even amid regime semi-change. Senior Vice President & General Manager Bill Schmidt has been a Rockie since 1999, but his GM tenure only began midway through 2021. During his time with the org, he has been at the crux of Colorado’s proficiency: scouting hitters. While they sometimes have scary plate discipline, the Rockies have consistently been able to find amateur hitters who make it to the big leagues. They don’t always hit it quite as big as Charlie Blackmon or Ryan McMahon, but most of the Rockies’ homegrown success stories of the last many years, and most of the exciting players currently in their system, are sticks. Even if I’m right and most of these guys are players you “win with” and not ones you “win because of,” there are still enough hitters in this system to Voltron together a good platoon contingent at the corner positions around a Tovar/Amador middle infield.

I mention it in a few blurbs but it bears repeating: You have to be careful not to scout the stat lines in this org. Most of the Rockies affiliates play in either a hitter-friendly home park or league, and their hitters’ output is often caricatured while their pitchers get bombed. It makes sense for this org to try to forge their pitching prospects in bandbox fire given what awaits them at the big league level. Still, this is where the Rockies have fallen short most often. They haven’t been able to acquire and develop pitchers who can sustain a high level of performance. They’ve certainly tried, but most of the pitchers in the system tend to be “arrow down” guys over time.

Lately (similar to Oakland) the Rockies have targeted “ready-made” pitching in trades, getting older arms back in smaller deals as if they’re attempting to circumvent their inability to develop them. The problem is that pitchers don’t necessarily sustain their performance, and keeping them healthy and effective often requires the same tools that made them good in the first place. The Rockies are playing a decade’s worth of catch up with regard to pitching dev understanding and technological infrastructure. They’re an incredibly secretive org, and it’s possible they’re actively trying to close that gap without it being obvious to those of us who hang around their primary complex diamond.





Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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jbgocubsmember
9 months ago

Eric, good insight from the system overview, thanks1