Top 31 Prospects: Colorado Rockies

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Colorado Rockies. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Rockies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Brendan Rodgers 23.3 MLB 2B 2020 55
2 Ryan Rolison 22.4 A+ LHP 2021 50
3 Ryan Vilade 20.8 A+ 3B 2022 45+
4 Michael Toglia 21.3 A- 1B 2022 45
5 Sam Hilliard 25.8 MLB CF 2020 45
6 Terrin Vavra 22.6 A 2B 2021 45
7 Colton Welker 22.1 AA 3B 2021 45
8 Aaron Schunk 22.4 A- 3B 2022 40+
9 Brenton Doyle 21.6 R CF 2024 40+
10 Riley Pint 22.1 A RHP 2021 40+
11 Adael Amador 16.6 R SS 2025 40+
12 Helcris Olivarez 19.3 R LHP 2023 40+
13 Ashton Goudeau 27.4 AAA RHP 2020 40+
14 Julio Carreras 19.9 R SS 2023 40+
15 Tyler Nevin 22.5 AA 1B 2021 40
16 Grant Lavigne 20.3 A 1B 2022 40
17 Tommy Doyle 23.6 A+ RHP 2020 40
18 Ryan Castellani 23.7 AAA RHP 2020 40
19 Eddy Diaz 19.8 R 2B 2023 40
20 Karl Kauffmann 22.3 R RHP 2023 40
21 Jacob Wallace 21.3 A- RHP 2023 40
22 Antonio Santos 23.2 AA RHP 2020 40
23 Ezequiel Tovar 18.3 A- SS 2024 40
24 Will Ethridge 21.9 A- RHP 2022 40
25 Ryan Feltner 23.3 A RHP 2021 40
26 Ben Bowden 25.1 AAA LHP 2020 40
27 Christian Koss 21.8 R SS 2022 35+
28 Breiling Eusebio 23.1 A LHP 2021 35+
29 Ronaiker Palma 19.9 R C 2023 35+
30 Robert Tyler 24.5 A+ RHP 2020 35+
31 Roberto Ramos 24.9 AAA 1B 2020 35+
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55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Lake Mary HS (FL) (COL)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 55/55 50/60 45/45 45/50 55/55

If you google “Brendan Rodgers,” the first several results are for Leicester City’s soccer coach, who has been managing Premier League teams since 2008. Baseball’s Brendan Rodgers has been known to scouts for about that long, and has been hitting the entire time. Even as an underclassman, Rodgers was often the best player on the field at well-attended showcase events; when he was a high school junior, scouts thought that if you were to drop him in the draft a year early, he’d still go somewhere in the first round. By his pre-draft summer, Rodgers clearly had the best hit and power combination among his peers, and looked likely to stay on the middle infield. He was the early favorite to go first overall in 2015 until Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman, and Andrew Benintendi took a leap the following spring, allowing the Rockies to get him third overall.

One axiom to which we try to adhere is “good hitters hit all the time” and that is indeed what Rodgers has done for the last eight years. He’s a career .293/.348/.491 hitter in the minors, and while most of Colorado’s affiliates play in hitter-friendly parks — this fact has masked some of Rodgers’ mediocre pitch recognition — we anticipate he’ll continue to be a plus hitter in the big leagues. His initial major league trial — a rough 25-game jaunt in the early summer — was not especially encouraging. Rodgers hit .224, swung and missed twice as often as he had in Triple-A (8% swinging strike rate in the minors, 15% in the majors), and generally appeared overwhelmed. But an 80 plate appearance sample doesn’t usurp Rodgers’ lengthy track record of hitting. In November, Rodgers told the Denver Post that he had been dealing with “nagging” shoulder issues since 2018 before deciding to have labrum surgery in June of 2019. As of mid-November, he had yet to begin throwing and hitting. Because he’s only a fringe runner and athlete, Rodgers’ conditioning during rehab is pretty important. A heavy, lumbering Rodgers who needs to play third base is swimming upstream against a 105 wRC+ at the position, while a Rodgers capable of playing second has a 94 wRC+ bar to clear.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (COL)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 50/55 45/50 89-94 / 96

Whether Rolison’s 2019 ascent was the result of real improvement or simply washed away our recency bias is immaterial. As a draft-eligible sophomore, he came out of the chute blazing hot and had top-10 pick buzz for the first month of the season before his year descended into chaos. He became wild and predictable, and yes, you read that right. Rolison couldn’t throw strikes with his fastball and leaned heavily on his curveball, which opposing hitters anticipated and crushed. It led to some bad outings, including one at South Carolina where he allowed 11 runs.

But 2019 was different. Rolison not only threw a greater percentage of strikes (65%) but he located his four-seam fastball where it plays best — at the top of the zone. After holding his college velo early in the year, it dipped late in the season but still competes for swings and misses because of its ride. There’s also more coherent pitch usage and a better pitch mix now; Rolison has a two-seamer, threw more changeups last year, and was just generally more mechanically consistent. He still throws across his body a bit and it can be hard for him to locate his breaking ball to his glove side, but the raw material for a lefty with three above-average pitches and starter control/command is clearly here and coming fast, so this is a back of the 50 FV tier prospect.

45+ FV Prospects

3. Ryan Vilade, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Stillwater HS (OK) (COL)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 194 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/60 30/50 45/40 45/50 55/55

A 2019 swing change — what was an open stance with a leg kick has now been closed off and features none — awakened some of the big, dormant raw power that made Vilade such an enticing amateur prospect. He simply could not time his previous cut and was late on many pitches, pushing them the other way or into the ground. The tweak brought his groundball rate closer to average (50% previously, down to 42% in 2019) and more than doubled his home run output from the prior year.

It’s necessary progress for a player who began a long-anticipated fall down the defensive spectrum, and will likely continue to do so. Vilade began seeing time at third base in 2019, and was taking reps in the outfield during the Rockies’ fall workouts. He looked noticeably bigger and stronger on the Salt River backfields than he did during the summer, and we now anticipate Vilade will branch out and play both outfield and infield corners, which makes sense considering how entrenched Nolan Arenado is at third base. Is the tumble troubling? Somewhat, but it’s counterbalanced by versatility, and it’s encouraging that Vilade has now shown an ability to make relevant swing adjustments to get to his power. This is a rather magmatic prospect currently transitioning in several ways, but they’re generally positive.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from UCLA (COL)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 55/60 35/55 40/40 55/60 55/55

Toglia had a poor Cape statline and then came out of the gate very slowly during his junior year. He was hitting .207 when PAC-12 play began and his draft stock had taken a plunge but for whatever reason, he started raking during conference play. By the end of the year, he was hitting .315 and had reached base in 29 straight games. Toglia has a rare combination of traits and skills. He’s a switch-hitting first baseman with power who is also a plus defender, which puts him in a small, 21st century team picture with Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Santana. That’s an intriguing group. We think teams hopped off of Toglia too quickly because of bad early-season looks and that he might be poised for a breakout 2020.

5. Sam Hilliard, CF
Drafted: 15th Round, 2015 from Wichita State (COL)
Age 25.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 238 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 60/60 50/55 55/55 50/50 60/60

Hilliard was a transient, two-way junior college player who hopped around to a pair of JUCOs before settling at Wichita State as a junior. He was raw, and the relative lack of track record likely contributed to him lasting until the 15th round of his junior season, but for a player with this much physical ability to fall that far is a failure on the part of the amateur side of the industry.

Hilliard is a big, athletic thumper with a rare power/speed combination. He’s flourished in his four years as a full-time hitter, slashing .277/.350/.480 in the minors before reaching the big leagues late last summer. As one might expect for such an under-baked athlete who a) barely played as a junior college freshman and b) also pitched the next two years, Hilliard lacks defensive instincts and feel to hit. His ability to identify pitches he can drive is impressive in context, but well-executed pitches can get him out. Hilliard’s big, gallivanting strides make him a plus runner underway, but his mediocre reads on balls in center detract from his range. It’s still above-average in a corner, closer to fringe in center field. It’s kind of a tweener defensive profile except with way more raw power than is usual for that sort, so Hilliard projects to be a strong big league role player, likely the larger half of a platoon in any of the three outfield positions.

6. Terrin Vavra, 2B
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Minnesota (COL)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/45 35/45 50/50 50/55 50/50

Vavra had a statistical breakout during his junior year at Minnesota — .386/.455/.614 with 10 homers, and everything way up from his sophomore year — and ended up going on the high end of the third to fifth round range where teams were considering him. He’s a patient hitter with an athletic swing who gets the most out of his slight build without often compromising his feel for contact. His swing is kind of grooved, but Vavra is a pitch selection savant, adept at picking out pitches he can drive until he has to expand with two strikes. We think he’s going to hit, have doubles power, and reach base at an above-average clip. That could play every day at shortstop, but we think Vavra is much more likely to end up at second base, where his range could make him an above-average defender. There’s not enough power for an impact regular here, but the athleticism and feel for contact should make Vavra either a low-end regular on the middle infield or a valuable, multi-positional role player.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (COL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 50/50 40/45 35/30 45/45 55/55

From a hands and actions standpoint, Welker is actually fine at third base. It’s his lateral quickness that’s an issue, and why he’s generally considered a first base prospect. But same as we’ve seen Travis Shaw and Max Muncy play elsewhere, it stands to reason someone out there thinks Welker can stay at third, or handle duties around the second base bag in certain situations. Those are the teams most likely to think Welker can play something resembling an everyday role, because while he has excellent feel to hit, he lacks the raw power typical of first base.

40+ FV Prospects

8. Aaron Schunk, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Georgia (COL)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 30/50 45/45 50/55 60/60

In the mold of Sheldon Neuse or J.D. Davis, Schunk was a burly, two-way college prospect with power and arm strength. After two years of struggling to get to his raw power in games (he hit just four homers combined his freshman and sophomore seasons), Schunk had a breakout junior year and clubbed 15 dingers. We were hoping he’d start pulling and lifting the ball more and he did, both at Georgia and during his first pro summer. He’s an athletic gamer who’s a good defender at third, though because of the arm strength there was some speculative projecting while Schunk was an amateur that he might catch. The power production needs to keep coming, but Schunk has a shot to be a regular.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Shepherd University (COL)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 30/50 60/60 40/50 55/55

Doyle was tough to learn about before the 2019 draft because while he became difficult to hide in the truest sense, nobody wanted to tip their hand as to where he was on their board, as small school players are placed with quite a bit of variability. The physical tools were obvious and pretty similar to what Dodgers prospect D.J. Peters looked like coming out of junior college. Doyle is built like an old school, run-stopping safety at a physical 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. He runs well, has power, and after the draft, against the best pitching he ever faced in his life, Doyle mashed. His ball/strike recognition and ability to spoil pitchers’ pitches were much better than we would have anticipated considering how few quality arms he had seen to that point. He has everyday physical ability and isn’t as raw as we thought he’d be.

10. Riley Pint, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS) (COL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 50/55 70/70 50/55 20/30 97-99 / 102

It is not enough to say that Pint is having issues with control. Pitchers who walk guys at even a 10% or worse clip face legitimate questions about their ability to start, and sometimes their ability to pitch in the big leagues at all. Pint walked more than 30% of the hitters he faced last year, and had more wild pitches than innings. Such strike-throwing incompetence forced a move to the bullpen, which siphoned away reps, and injuries (oblique, forearm, shoulder) over the last two years have exacerbated this issue. He simply can’t be a big leaguer with this kind of wildness, but we’re still on Pint because his stuff remains incredible, among the best in the minors.

Through these struggles, Pint has continued to throw in the upper-90s with one of the harder power curveballs on the planet. The chances that he ends up as part of a rotation in any capacity have shrunk considerably, but there’s still a fair shot that he becomes a high-leverage reliever.

11. Adael Amador, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 16.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 40/50 20/40 60/60 45/55 55/60

Amador has already gotten stronger and twitchier than he appeared to be on the amateur circuit, and he flashed some in-game power in last summer’s Tricky League. For a switch-hitter this young, Amador already has fairly advanced feel to hit in games, even if the swings aren’t always pretty. He’s medium-framed and likely to grow into some more power, but probably not a ton. He’s graceful and athletic enough that we also consider him likely to stay on the middle infield, though we’re not sure if it’ll be at second base or shortstop. There’s everyday ceiling here, but of course, teenagers are quite volatile.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 50/55 30/45 30/45 92-95 / 96

We’ve learned the hard way that graceful deliveries do not always foreshadow improvement to control and command, so we’re not totally sold that Olivarez will develop cogent strike-throwing ability even though his mechanics are silky smooth. He does have tremendous stuff for his age, already sitting in the mid-90s early during his starts and flashing a plus curveball. There’s arguably too much velocity separation between the heater and curveball for the latter to be effective right now, but it has bat-missing depth and shape. Similar to his presently poor feel for location, Olivarez lacks changeup feel. Many things — holding the velo deep into games, mechanical consistency, a sharper curveball, a much better changeup — need to progress for Olivarez to attain what appears to be massive potential when you see his arm strength, frame, and proclivity for spin.

Drafted: 27th Round, 2012 from Maple Woods JC (MO) (KCR)
Age 27.4 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 45/45 55/55 91-94 / 96

We don’t have many 27-year-olds on prospect lists period, let alone ones above the 40 FV tier. But Goudeau’s 2019 breakout, during which he posted a 30% strikeout rate and 4% walk rate at Double-A and allowed just four baserunners during the AFL season, was remarkable and, as we’ve learned more about the components of pitching, seems real. Goudeau epitomizes fastball spin efficiency, creating near perfect backspin and seam uniformity on his heater, giving it bat-missing carry at the top of the strike zone. His plus curveball is almost indistinguishable from the fastball for most of its flight. Those two pitches together would suffice to make Goudeau an effective middle reliever, but if he retains this abrupt, extreme strike-throwing ability, then perhaps he can go multiple innings. It’s rare for four-seam/curveball guys to succeed in Denver, though.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 40/50 20/50 60/55 45/55 55/60

All of the teenage hitters who began 2019 in Extended Spring Training before moving on to the Pioneer League get compared to one another by scouts, and Carreras is universally considered to have the greatest upside because he has the most realistic chance to grow into impact power. His swing has leverage and real bat speed already, and his wiry frame portends more, and though his bat path and stride are both kind of a mess, Carreras’ hand-eye coordination and bat control enabled him to succeed against mostly college-level pitching last year at age 19. He’s a plus runner and athletic infield defender who will probably only fit at third base once he’s done filling out. Because so much of the offensive competency is still messy, this is a high risk prospect, but unquestionably one of the more exciting talents in the system.

40 FV Prospects

15. Tyler Nevin, 1B
Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Poway HS (CA) (COL)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 50/55 40/45 35/35 40/45 50/50

The list of current first baseman with premium contact skills but middling game power is full of players hovering around replacement level. Overripe Albert Pujols and Daniel Murphy, last year’s Joey Votto. This seems to be Nevin’s fate. We’ve seen him hit oppo homers but it comes from quality, barreled contact rather than raw strength and power. He tracks pitches beautifully and can make quality contact with pitches all over the zone, but it’s very tough for a righty-hitting first baseman without big power to profile. Nevin’s reps at third base have dwindled, and he played a few games in left field last summer. He’s on the 40-man and looks like a corner bench bat.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Bedford HS (NH) (COL)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 30/55 40/30 40/50 50/50

After he looked just okay against his elite peers on the summer showcase circuit, Lavigne generated a ton of buzz as a senior the following spring. Northeast popup high schoolers have a dubious track record (there has never been a major-league hitter from New Hampshire) because they spend all spring mashing bad high school pitching, but lots of teams were in on Lavigne’s spike in power and thought he fit in the second tier of high school hitting prospects in the draft behind the likes of Nolan Gorman and Jarred Kelenic.

Lavigne has not shown that kind of power with the wooden bats in pro ball, both because he’s not hitting the ball as hard as we anticipated and because he isn’t lifting it. Were Lavigne as physically projectable as his age suggests, this would be less worrisome, but he’s a broad-shouldered, imposing presence, so the lack of present thump is somewhat troubling. We’re not out on him yet (he’s too young), but first base-only prospects need to mash and that hasn’t happened here yet.

17. Tommy Doyle, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Virginia (COL)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 45/50 95-97 / 98

The Rockies made Doyle their second consecutive second round college reliever pick in 2017 and after his velocity was way down just after his draft, he has since been as advertised, with a mid-90s fastball and plus slider. He probably should have been pushed to Double-A at some point last season but the Rockies have taken things slow. He has the stuff to reach Denver sometime next year, but he doesn’t have to be on the 40-man until next winter, so perhaps 2021 is more likely. He has a shot to be a set-up type.

18. Ryan Castellani, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Brophy Prep HS (AZ) (COL)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 193 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 50/55 40/40 91-94 / 96

It was yet another year of inconsistency and injury for Max Scherzer’s mechanical doppelgänger, Ryan Castellani, who was shelved for much of the summer due to a surgery that cleaned up bone chips in his elbow. Upon returning for the Fall League, Castellani was sitting 90-93 with his usual tailing action while flashing above-average secondary stuff. While he has the stuff to start, he seems much more likely to end up in the bullpen now that he’s on the 40-man, but can’t stay healthy or throw strikes. We expect a quick hook if that’s not remedied early next year.

19. Eddy Diaz, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (COL)
Age 19.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 171 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/40 60/60 45/50 50/50

Diaz is the first Cuban amateur ever signed by Colorado. He’s an athletic, instinctive middle infield prospect with modest physical projection and promising bat to ball skills. For now those skills manifest as modest, all-fields line drive contact, and Diaz is likely a hit-only offensive player in the long run. He’s seen action all over the infield but we have him projected to second base, where he has a fair chance to profile because of the bat. It’s more likely he ends up in a utility role.

20. Karl Kauffmann, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Michigan (COL)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/50 50/55 40/45 88-93 / 96

Kauffmann is a one-seam sinker/changeup righty with a pretty firm, inconsistent mid-80s slider. A 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 last summer.

21. Jacob Wallace, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Connecticut (COL)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 45/50 40/45 92-95 / 97

Wallace has a starter’s mix — mid-90s heat with tail, a changeup with mirroring movement, a sweeping slider — but his arm action is long and low, so he likely projects in relief. There’s clear industry appetite for varied mechanical looks, and Wallace provides one.

22. Antonio Santos, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 45/50 50/50 45/45 45/50 90-95 / 97

Santos’ fastball velocity range is rather vast, but when he was coming out of the bullpen during Fall League, he was sitting 94-97 for entire outings. He doesn’t have a bat-missing secondary; rather he has a deep well of average pitches from which to draw. Whether he’s a No. 5/6 starter type or his repertoire gets pared down to what Colorado thinks gives him the best chance of missing bats out of the bullpen, we think Santos is clearly a rosterable arm of some kind.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 162 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/40 20/30 55/55 50/60 50/55

Tovar is a complete defensive player, both instinctive and fundamentally sound, as well as flashy and acrobatic. He’s already ditched switch-hitting and is severely lacking in strength at the plate, which needs to improve dramatically if he’s going to be a big leaguer at all, let alone some kind of regular. There’s risk that he only develops into a Dixon Machado type of player, but he has a real carrying tool in the defense.

24. Will Ethridge, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Ole Miss (COL)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/45 50/55 45/55 91-94 / 96

A prep projection case who finally had the velo show up during his draft spring, Ethridge was working 92-95 with heavy sink last year, his first as a starter since high school. Like Castellani, Ethridge’s delivery is a little Scherzer-y, and his arm slot helps create impact, tailing movement on his changeup. He’s on the fifth starter/reliever line due to stuff quality, not control/command.

25. Ryan Feltner, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ohio State (COL)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/50 50/55 35/40 92-95 / 97

Feltner spent a chunk of his college career in the bullpen, and he projects there long term. His arm action is quite long, and while he can bully hitters with his fastball in the zone, he lacks precise command of his stuff. He lives in the mid-90s with tail as a starter and has a diving changeup that we think will miss big league bats. The slider has big sweeping action but is more easily identifiable out of his hand.

26. Ben Bowden, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Vanderbilt (COL)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 45/55 40/40 92-95 / 96

Bowden has rare lefty velo and we’ve seen a plus changeup from him in the past, but reports on the cambio weren’t as strong this year. He still projects in middle relief.

35+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 12th Round, 2019 from UC Irvine (COL)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/45 30/45 50/50 40/45 50/50

Toss out Koss’ Pioneer League stat line, as the league’s hitting environment makes that kind of analysis wholly unreliable. Visual evaluation of Koss’ skills as a hitter and serviceable infield defense still merit inclusion on the list. At this point, he projects as a hit-first infielder. We’d like Colorado to push him and stress test the bat, but that’s not their org’s style.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 45/55 40/45 89-94 / 96

Eusebio was flashing three above-average pitches in 2017, then blew out his elbow early in 2018. Due to injury, he’s never thrown more than 72 innings in a single season, and that was back in 2015. Now 23, Eusebio is officially behind, but his stuff was only down a bit beneath it’s usual level when he pitched late last summer, so there’s still a shot this guy breaks out and gets pushed quickly, especially if he just gets ‘penned.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 19.9 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 30/40 20/30 40/40 45/60 60/60

We like twitchy, athletic, catch-and-throw backstops with contact skills, and Palma has those qualities. He is not very physical and the quality of his contact, even though he makes a lot of it, is troubling; his ceiling might just be a backup because of it.

30. Robert Tyler, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Georgia (COL)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 40/45 55/60 30/40 91-94 / 96

Tyler has had injury issues, both forearm and shoulder, dating back to college, and he’s now a 24-year-old who has only thrown 83 pro innings. At his best, Tyler will show you 96-98 with a plus changeup, but last year he was more 91-94. He needs to show some bounce back early in 2020.

31. Roberto Ramos, 1B
Drafted: 16th Round, 2014 from College of the Canyons (COL)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 70/70 50/55 30/30 40/40 45/45

Ramos has Quad-A hitter written all over him and his Fall League trial and winter ball performance haven’t helped. But he has gigantic raw power, enough that he’s a cut above our honorable mention tier.

Other Prospects of Note

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

Upper-level Power Hitters
Vince Fernandez, OF
Casey Golden, OF
Josh Fuentes, 3B/1B
Brian Mundell, 1B

Take a good long look at this group because this is where both Mike Tauchman and Garrett Cooper would likely have been in a purely heuristic version of this list the last few years. The Rockies have had viable big league bats lurking at Triple-A and the Yankees pilfered both of them. Fernandez was suspended for amphetamine usage last year and he only hit .235 with two dingers after he returned. We’re still on him as a 55 raw power corner guy who walks and hits the ball in the air a lot, but he’s gotta come out of the gate hot in 2020 or he’s falling off the list. Golden has 77 homers in two and a half pro seasons but he’s also striking out a third of the time and is 25 years old. Fuentes might be a corner bench bat, but his power output was down last year and he needs to bounce back. Mundell has plus raw but lacks the positional versatility to be a role player.

Hard-throwing Dudes
Raymells Rosa, RHP
Justin Lawrence, RHP
PJ Poulin, LHP
Alexander Martinez, RHP
Juan Mejia, RHP
Salvador Justo, RHP
Boby Johnson, RHP
Mike Nikorak, RHP

There are lots of these guys in the system. Rosa is on track to be a low 40 FV once he’s at the upper levels since he has middle relief stuff. Lawrence is an upper-90s sidearmer with very poor pitch execution. Poulin is another UConn fireballer with a violent, low-slot delivery. Martinez will touch 97 and has a plus curveball, but he’s arguably a 30 athlete and has been old for his level the last two years. Mejia has a great arm action and has been into the upper-90s as a teenager, but he has 30-grade control. Justo is a fastball-only guy in his mid-20s, but he touches 100. Boby Johnson spent two years at Fort Scott Community College before he ended up at Bradley and was finally seen. He’s a pretty athletic 91-96 and throws a ton of strikes. Nikorak’s velo is back after Tommy John, but it doesn’t really play.

Young Sleepers
Bladimir Restituyo, CF
Walking Cabrera, OF
Yolki Pena, OF
Francisco Palma, OF

These are all frame-based projection lottery tickets, though Restituyo is also a 70 runner who might be an impact defender in center one day. The others are corner guys whose bodies and swing development should be monitored.

Depth Starters
Jared Horn, RHP
Nick Bush, LHP
Mitch Kilkenny, RHP

Horn has had a rough couple of years due to family tragedy and an emergency surgery that derailed the early part of his draft spring. At his best, he’ll touch 95 (he was up to 97 in high school), and flash a plus curveball and serviceable change and slider. Bush is a vertical arm slot lefty whose fringe fastball velocity plays up due to deception, and his curveball has terrific depth. He has a passable change that could help make him a spot starter. Kilkenny is coming off of surgery.

System Overview

This system is very heavy on corner bats because the club seems to be pretty good at picking them. There has to be some amount of consolidation of the infielders in this org, and probably soon. You can clearly see the layers of this farm the way you can in a well-made biscuit. The top is comprised of hitters, the bottom full of recently-acquired arms. Why so few up near the top with the other mature, or potential long-term impact talents? Well, so many of the pitchers Colorado has drafted over the last several years have either gotten hurt, been bad, or both. David Hill, Javier Medina, Nikorak, Kilkenny, Pint, Tyler — it’s a long list of pitchers who either have gotten hurt or fallen short of even modest expectations. Some of the very recent developments (Goudeau, Rolison) and acquisitions indicate improvement, but let’s wait a bit to see what kind of results this farm yields. It’s got to be tough to try to build a talent pipeline meant to fit your big league ballpark’s unique hitting environment, but the vanilla college pitchability guys just aren’t working.

We have to preface this by reminding you that Eric lives in Arizona and is horribly biased because he wants to see more players, but why the heck don’t the Rockies have an AZL team? Their exciting group of teenage hitters spent their summer facing college pitching when they’d probably have been better off against same-aged pupils in Arizona. There’s no evidence to which we can point that justifies this approach, and aside from Raimel Tapia, this org has struggled to develop homegrown players from Latin America who are all asked to jump right from the DSL to Advanced Rookie ball.

We hoped you liked reading Top 31 Prospects: Colorado Rockies by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel!

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Cave Dameron
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Cave Dameron

Thank you Eric & Kiley, very cool!