Top 32 Prospects: Colorado Rockies

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. As there was no minor league season in 2020, there are some instances where no new information was gleaned about a player. Players whose write-ups have not been meaningfully altered begin by telling you so. Each blurb ends with an indication of where the player played in 2020, which in turn likely informed the changes to their report if there were any. As always, I’ve leaned more heavily on sources from outside of a given org than those within for reasons of objectivity. Because outside scouts were not allowed at the alternate sites, I’ve primarily focused on data from there, and the context of that data, in my opinion, reduces how meaningful it is. Lastly, in an effort to more clearly indicate relievers’ anticipated roles, you’ll see two reliever designations, both on my lists and on The Board: MIRP, or multi-inning relief pitcher, and SIRP, or single-inning relief pitcher.

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 Future Value’s merits and drawbacks, read Future Value.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here.

Rockies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Zac Veen 19.3 R CF 2025 50
2 Ryan Vilade 22.1 A+ LF 2022 45+
3 Drew Romo 19.5 R C 2025 45
4 Michael Toglia 22.6 A- 1B 2022 45
5 Chris McMahon 22.1 R SP 2024 45
6 Brenton Doyle 22.8 R CF 2024 45
7 Colton Welker 23.4 AA 3B 2021 45
8 Adael Amador 17.9 R SS 2025 40+
9 Helcris Olivarez 20.6 R SP 2023 40+
10 Aaron Schunk 23.6 A- 3B 2022 40+
11 Sam Weatherly 21.8 R SP 2024 40+
12 Ryan Rolison 23.7 A+ SP 2022 40+
13 Lucas Gilbreath 25.0 A+ SIRP 2021 40+
14 Julio Carreras 21.2 R SS 2023 40+
15 Ezequiel Tovar 19.6 A- SS 2024 40
16 Elehuris Montero 22.6 AA 3B 2021 40
17 Jameson Hannah 23.6 A+ LF 2021 40
18 Ryan Feltner 24.5 A SP 2021 40
19 Eddy Diaz 21.1 R 2B 2023 40
20 Tommy Doyle 24.9 MLB SIRP 2021 40
21 Grant Lavigne 21.6 A 1B 2022 40
22 Tony Locey 22.6 A SIRP 2023 40
23 Karl Kauffmann 23.6 R SP 2023 40
24 Mateo Gil 20.6 A+ SS 2023 40
25 Ben Bowden 26.4 AAA SIRP 2021 35+
26 Will Ethridge 23.2 A- SP 2022 35+
27 Antonio Santos 24.4 MLB SIRP 2021 35+
28 Riley Pint 23.4 A SIRP 2021 35+
29 Breiling Eusebio 24.4 A SIRP 2021 35+
30 Ronaiker Palma 21.2 R C 2023 35+
31 Jordan Sheffield 25.8 AA SIRP 2021 35+
32 Yoan Aybar 23.7 A+ SIRP 2021 35+
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50 FV Prospects

1. Zac Veen, CF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from Spruce Creek HS (COL)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 55/65 25/60 60/55 40/50 50

Of the 2020 Draft’s high schoolers, Veen has the most obvious long-term power projection because of his huge, well-composed frame. His in-the-box actions are quiet and smooth up until the moment he decides to unleash hell on the baseball. He can clear his hips and crush balls in, and he can also extend his arms and crush pitches away from him to the opposite field gap. Because of the frame-based power potential, Veen was one of a handful of high schoolers who had a chance to really blow up during his senior spring and insert himself among the college prospects atop this draft, and because high school ball began in Florida before the COVID-19 pandemic, teams got to see some of that development and Veen separated himself from some of the other prep hitters. He’s a prototypical power-hitting high school prospect. (Fall Instructional League)

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Stillwater HS (OK) (COL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 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 40/40 40

A series of swing changes have led to Vilade’s current “toe twist” stride, a very simple cut that leans into his great natural bat control and strength-derived pop. He can make contact with pitches all over the zone but typically does his damage slugging pitches on the inner half, especially wayward lefty fastballs in there. Watch how his groundball rate trends in 2021. The 2019 swing that may have helped bring his groundball rate closer to average (50% previously, down to 42% in ’19) has again been changed, so it’s hard to say how much damage he’s going to be capable of now.

A high school shortstop, Vilade began seeing time at third base in 2019, then took reps in the outfield during the Rockies’ fall workouts, and at the 2020 alternate site and in instructs. He’s a heavy-footed, 40-grade athlete who isn’t likely to be a good defender anywhere, but might be a replacement-level defender in a couple of spots (hopefully some third base, more likely first base and left field). While he certainly has the raw juice (this guy was putting balls way out of Wrigley Field in a high school home run derby), Vilade hasn’t produced the kind of game power to be a 50 FV, everyday type of regular in my opinion, though he did have some Top 100 support from folks who work for analytically-inclined clubs. Vilade’s feel for contact makes him a likely role-playing sort who I hope continues to see some third base time. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

45 FV Prospects

3. Drew Romo, C
Drafted: 1st Round, 2020 from The Woodlands HS (TX) (COL)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/60 20/45 30/30 45/60 70

Romo was the best defensive catcher among the 2020 draft’s high schoolers: he had the best arm, and also has rare physicality and athleticism for a catcher, a walking, broad-shouldered embodiment of his home state. Romo also switch-hits and has huge raw power and bat speed, but there were serious pre-draft concerns about his ability to make contact, which is what drove some teams to think he’d head to school rather than sign, but the Rockies took him early enough to keep him from LSU. High school catching is scary and players from that demographic bust a lot. Go back and read any Adley Rutschman or MJ Melendez report from when they graduated high school and they read, in broad strokes, exactly the same as Romo’s does right now (plus glove/arm, frame, athleticism, power), and that’s how variable his developmental trajectory may be. His ceiling is every bit as high as Veen’s, Romo just comes from a much riskier demographic of player. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from UCLA (COL)
Age 22.6 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 55/55 35/55 40/40 55/60 55

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 fraternity with Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Santana. That’s an intriguing group. He has mistake power from both sides of the plate but also some limitations. As a right-handed hitter, Toglia is adept at punishing pitches at the top of the strike zone, working gap to gap depending on whether the pitch is on the inner or outer half. As a lefty, he has a low-ball, bottom-hand-dominant swing, and he’ll hit some pretty-looking golf shots out to his pull side, or scoop some balls to the oppo gap. If lefty pitchers can execute back-foot breakers against him, they’re going to get him out. He’s vulnerable to letter-high velocity from the left side. I think there will be enough offensive ability for Toglia to be a low-end everyday first baseman held back from the 50 FV tier because I don’t think his plate coverage is air-tight. And of course, his numbers will likely be inflated by Coors Field. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2020 from Miami (COL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 45/55 35/50 92-95 / 97

McMahon was a notable prospect following his pre-draft summer in high school, when he was sitting in the low-90s with a good slider. His stuff didn’t spike during his senior year, so he ended up at Miami, where it did. Now McMahon consistently touches 96 or 97 during his outings and sits in the 91-95 range, his fastball has tail and sink, and its movement mimics a still-improving changeup, while McMahon’s slider remains his go-to finishing pitch. For how violent his delivery is, McMahon fills the zone with his fastball and is pretty good at locating his slider consistently to his glove side, although not always in a precise, enticing location. He often appears to be “underneath” his changeup, and creates lateral action on it but inconsistent dive; sometimes he actually gets impact dive on the change when he releases it late and it ends up glove-side. Yes, he’s had some injury issues (knee tendinitis in 2018, shoulder soreness in ’19) but McMahon has No. 4/5 starter stuff with a chance for more if the change keeps coming. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from Shepherd (COL)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 60/60 30/50 60/60 40/50 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 (tiny Shepherd University has an enrollment just north of 3,500 students) 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, there was just no way of knowing how Doyle would handle a huge leap in opposing pitcher quality. He is built like an old school, run-stopping strong safety at a physical 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. He runs well, has plus raw power, and after the 2019 draft, against the best pitching he’d ever faced in his life, Doyle hit .383/.477/.611 in the Pioneer League. Some of that is due to the league’s hitting environment, but his physical ability was evident even on a field with other pro athletes, and his ball/strike recognition and ability to spoil pitchers’ pitches were much better than anticipated considering how few quality arms he had seen to that point. Two scouts who saw Rockies instructs mentioned that they’ll be curious to see how he deals with upper-level breaking stuff but think he can hit velo, hit it with power without compromising contact, and play center field. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL) (COL)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/55 50/50 35/40 30/30 40/40 50

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 he can play something resembling an everyday role, because while he has excellent feel to hit, he lacks the raw power typical of first base. Though he’s not especially athletic, Welker’s swing is. He’s a loose rotator with a well-balanced, long, slow leg kick and he’s really great at diving and hitting pitches away from him the other way. He stays inside the baseball and works center and right/center field most of the time, only really turning on hanging breaking balls with pull power. I like his bat enough to consider him a role-playing corner bat but the power/defensive spectrum shortcomings leave him short of a more regular role. (Alternate site)

40+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 17.9 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 60

Here I have a scout who saw Amador get hurt during instructs (“they were checking out his hand”) and two others who didn’t see him at all, so his report remains the same: Amador has already gotten stronger and twitchier than he appeared to be on the amateur circuit, and he flashed some in-game power in the 2019 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 I also consider him likely to stay on the middle infield, though I’m not sure if it’ll be at second base or shortstop. There’s everyday ceiling here, but of course, teenagers are quite volatile. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 192 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 30/45 30/45 94-96 / 98

We’ve learned the hard way that graceful deliveries do not always foreshadow improvement to control and command, so I’m 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 (94-96, touch 98 during 2021 spring training) early during his outings 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 consider his arm strength, frame, and proclivity for spin. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

10. Aaron Schunk, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Georgia (COL)
Age 23.6 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 55/55 30/45 45/45 50/55 60

In the mold of Sheldon Neuse or J.D. Davis, Schunk was a burly, two-way college prospect with 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 at Georgia and clubbed 15 dingers as he appeared to be pulling the baseball more. That continued during Schunk’s initial foray into pro ball but seemed to regress at the alt site and during instructs, where he really struggled to get around on fastballs on the inner half and either fouled off hittable pitches there or was jammed. It will be less important for Schunk to hit for big power if it turns out he can play second base, which he/Colorado began experimenting with in 2020. He’s such an athletic third base defender that, having not yet seen him play second myself, I’d give him a fair chance of making it work, just on spec. I’ve left Schunk in the same FV tier as last year but slid him down among the other 40+ guys because of newfound concern with this hole on the inner half that needs closing. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2020 from Clemson (COR)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 30/45 30/45 92-95 / 97

Weatherly made a seamless transition to the 2020 Clemson rotation after pitching out of the bullpen as a freshman and sophomore. Though he still had some issues with walks as a junior, they weren’t nearly as troublesome as they were during his underclass seasons when he walked a batter per inning, and Weatherly finished with 43 K and 14 BB in 23 innings before the shutdown. Then he was Colorado’s best pitching prospect at instructs, where he was consistently sitting 95-97, up to 98, and working with a comfortably plus slider. He’ll work the slider in on the hands of righties like a cutter, or bury it beneath the zone to finish hitters. Because Weatherly was in the bullpen as an underclassman, he’s barely ever thrown a changeup, or any third pitch, and he only threw about a dozen changeups in all of 2020 at Clemson. Because his slider feel is so good, maybe this is the type of guy who should just have a second breaking ball rather than try to force feed him a changeup, which is what has worked for Germán Márquez. Weatherly carries relief risk related to his fastball command but he may also just be scratching the surface because of his relative inexperience. His arrow has been pointing up for the last calendar year. (Fall Instructional League)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (COL)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 60/60 40/50 35/45 89-94 / 96

College lefties up to 96 who have good feel for spinning a breaking ball are typically in the first round mix, and this was the case with Rolison, who sometimes struggled with holding his stuff and command deep into games at Ole Miss. He seemed to be moving past that in 2019, his first full pro season, when his walk rate was lower than it ever was in college and he showed more varied and sentient fastball usage. But Rolison’s alt site and instructs looks were more like during college. His fastball command was pretty loose (typically later in outings) and his below-average changeup missed in the zone an awful lot, forcing Rolison to lean on his curveball a ton (it’s his best first-strike pitch and most consistent putaway pitch). Heuristically, I want to bet on a lefty with such a good breaking ball, but if Rolison can’t command his fastball then hitters will just sit on that curveball, which opposing college lineups seemed to be doing in his worst D-I outings. Scouts came away from instructs thinking he had a lot of relief risk and Rolison’s heater has been in the 90-92 range this spring. The chance for a rebound, and that Rolison might experience a velo bump if he were put in the bullpen, means he should still be in an impact FV tier, but he’s trending more and more like a fifth starter. (Alternate site, Fall Instructional League)

13. Lucas Gilbreath, SIRP
Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Minnesota (COL)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 40/40 93-96 / 97

Gilbreath took a huge leap and was a wonderful Instructional League surprise at Rockies camp. He went from sitting 89-94 in 2019 to sitting 94-97 during instructs and earned a spot on Colorado’s 40-man. Though he’s come out to start 2021 more in the 93-95 range, Gilbreath’s heater has many of the other characteristics of a bat-missing fastball and it will still be an effective pitch if he lives in that range. This is the arm du jour, backspinning, flat-angled fastball that power pitchers use at the letters. His slider feel has been less consistent but that’s a power, mid-80s breaking ball when it’s located right. If his slider location consistency improves then Gilbreath can be a high-leverage reliever. If not, he’s a fastball-heavy, middle-inning arm. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 21.2 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 30/50 60/55 45/55 60

I have an unhelpful mix of stuff from scouts on Carreras’ instructs look. One scout saw him get hurt while swinging, then only play defense the rest of the time he saw him. Another scout thought he looked like a high-contact hitter without power. The player I saw in 2019 was not all that comfortable at the plate from a timing and rhythm standpoint. A lot of his swings were awkward, but he was short to the ball and showed big bat speed on his confident cuts, then at other times would make mid-flight adjustments to breaking balls. I also had him home-to-first in the 4.20-4.25 range a couple of times, and thought he might fill out the way Cubs SS/3B Chris Morel has and grow into some pop, with fingers crossed that the timing/feel aspects of hitting materialized with reps. I didn’t see Colorado myself during instructs and don’t know if my scout source who saw him hit saw him before or after the injury the other one saw. For now I’m content to leave Carreras in this 40+ FV tier as a guy with some ceiling because I like the whip in his swing and what looked like an idea of how to spot breaking balls. (Fall Instructional League)

40 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 162 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 30/40 20/30 55/55 50/60 60

Tovar’s prospect foundation is his defense. Already at 18 he was a complete defensive player, both instinctive and fundamentally sound, as well as flashy and acrobatic. He was also so lacking in strength and physical maturity that he needed to ditch switch-hitting because his lefty swing was not viable in games. The requisite physicality has started to come, though, and Tovar actually hooked a ball out of Chase Field late during instructs. He’s on the same developmental timeline as other infiedlers in this system (Diaz, Carreras) but is a couple years younger. There remains risk that he only develops into a Dixon Machado 마차도 type of player, but he has a real carrying tool in the defense and the badly-needed muscle discussed in last year’s report looks likes it’s starting to arrive. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (STL)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 35/50 30/30 40/45 55

Multiple wrist injuries made it impossible for Montero’s 2019 to get off the ground, so toss out his lousy 60-game Double-A statline. His body looked great in the Fall League that year, and he still has a shot to stay at third base long-term because he’s kept what used to be a big, softer body in check.

His approach, however, is a problem. During some of his Fall League starts, Montero saw five pitches over the course of an entire game. During the regular season, he averaged just shy of 2.5 pitches per plate appearance. For comparison’s sake, among big league hitters with at least 200 PAs in 2019, Willians Astudillo ranked last in pitchers per PA with 2.9; no other big leaguer was under three. From a hitting talent perspective — the bat speed, primarily — Montero has everyday upside, so he belongs ranked ahead of prospects who project to be lesser role players at best. But I’m weary of how swing-happy he is and think that at the very least, there will be growing pains as he climbs the minors and is forced to adjust to big league pitching. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Dallas Baptist (OAK)
Age 23.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/45 30/35 60/60 45/60 40

This is Hannah’s third org in less than three years. Drafted by Oakland, he was traded to the Reds for Tanner Roark in 2019 and then was part of a four-player swap with Colorado involving Robert Stephenson and Jeff Hoffman before 2021. Hannah is a contact-oriented outfield prospect with plus speed, more likely to play a bench or part-time role than be an everyday player. He hit .340 in college and has hit .280 in pro ball, with his extra-base hit production consisting almost entirely of doubles. I have him as an average center field defender but think he could be plus in left field. There’s clear big league utility here: lefty stick, pinch runner, corner defensive replacement, but I think Hannah needs to develop a nearly elite hit tool to counterbalance his lack of power if he’s going to be any sort of regular. He’s made a fantastic first impression in purple so far during 2021 spring training. (Fall Instructional League)

18. Ryan Feltner, SP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ohio State (COL)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 45/50 50/55 40/50 91-93 / 95

Scouts who saw Feltner during 2020 instructs give him a better shot to stay in the rotation than I did when he was coming out of Ohio State. He was a fastball/changeup relief prospect for me in college but worked with four pitches and average command during instructs. His high-end velos have come down as he was only topping out at 95 in the fall (97 in his draft year), but he now has a backend starter look rather than low-leverage relief. (Fall Instructional League)

19. Eddy Diaz, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Cuba (COL)
Age 21.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 171 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/45 30/40 60/60 45/50 45

Diaz did not attend Rockies instructs so his report carries over from last year: 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 I 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. (At-home dev)

20. Tommy Doyle, SIRP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Virginia (COL)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 60/60 40/45 45/50 92-95 / 97

The Rockies made Doyle their second consecutive second round college reliever pick in 2017. He’s now exhibited some velocity yo-yo’ing. It was way down just after his draft, then was back into the mid-90s for a while, including during his 2020 big league debut (sitting 94-95) but he’s come out of the 2021 gate extremely slowly, sitting 90-92 in his first spring outing, and didn’t get back into a big league game before he was optioned two weeks later. It’s something to watch, but a healthy Doyle sits 93-96 with a plus slider and is a foundational middle-relief piece. (Alternate site, MLB)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Bedford HS (NH) (COL)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/60 35/50 40/30 40/50 50

Lavigne still has a sound approach, a big, strong frame, and a good-looking uppercut swing, but his bat path is grooved and the scouts who saw him at instructs have concerns about how much contact he’s capable of making. His swing enables him to turn on fastballs left up and in, which is atypical for a hitter this size, but he struggles to connect with stuff up and away from him and that’s where a lot of fastballs live nowadays. His age, approach, present power, and frame have me holding over his FV from last year but this is a prospect whose 2021 on-paper performance feels pretty important. We still don’t have a big leaguer born in New Hampshire. (Fall Instructional League)

22. Tony Locey, SIRP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Georgia (STL)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 45/55 30/40 30/50 92-95 / 97

There’s no change to Locey’s report, as he was not at the Cardinals’ alt site, they had no instructs, and he was traded after Colorado’s was complete: Locey had a rocky end of high school and beginning of college at Georgia, but emerged in a big way in 2019 as the most dependable starter for the Bulldogs down the stretch, ahead of a banged-up Emerson Hancock. Locey would hold mid-90s velo late into games, hitting 97 regularly and landing a solid average breaking ball that dev-minded folks in baseball think has more ceiling. His control is fine, but the command and changeup were both weaker points in a starting role, so relief is a natural fit without a change to that profile. His aggressive, bulldog approach is also conducive to shorter stints. (At-home dev)

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Michigan (COL)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 50/55 30/45 91-94 / 96

Kauffmann is a one-seam sinker/changeup righty with a pretty firm, inconsistent mid-80s slider. 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 at all during that summer, and a shoulder injury limited his alternate site activity to what an external source indicates was about 50 total pitches across two outings later last summer. (Alternate site)

24. Mateo Gil, SS
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Timber Creek HS (TX) (STL)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/50 30/40 50/50 45/50 50

Another prospect who came back in the Nolan Arenado trade, 20-year-old SS/3B Mateo Gil is the son of Benji Gil. Drafted by St. Louis as a polished high school defender with considerable frame projection, Gil has filled out quite a bit and with that has come more bat speed and raw power. But he is also an indiscriminate swinger, which results in strikeout issues. The Cardinals did not have Instructional League but Gil played a little bit for his dad’s Tomateros de Culiacan during the winter, and he didn’t hit well (though the team won the league). Gil’s pop is new and he hasn’t had a whole season to hone it yet, so there’s variance here, but again, I see a likely corner profile with an approach-issue trap door. (Mexican Pacific Winter League)

35+ FV Prospects

25. Ben Bowden, SIRP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Vanderbilt (COL)
Age 26.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/45 60/60 40/40 92-95 / 96

There has been times when I’ve seen Bowden 93-96 with a plus changeup, and others (like this spring) when he’s been more 91-92 with the changeup and a below-average mid-80s slider/cutter. If he can consistently sit 93-96, he’s a rosterable middle reliever, but this low-90s version is an up/down guy. He’s likely battling with Phil Diehl and Yoan Aybar to be the second lefty out of the bullpen. (Alternate site)

Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from Ole Miss (COL)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/50 50/50 35/60 90-95 / 96

Aside from the one outing in 2019 during which Etheridge was 92-96, he’s long been a low-90s sinker/slider/changeup backend starter prospect, and that was once again true during 2020 instructs. Etheridge fills the zone with vanilla stuff and has a giant, innings-eating frame. He projects as a fifth or sixth starter. (Fall Instructional League)

27. Antonio Santos, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 45/45 50/50 40/40 92-95 / 97

Santos was 89-94 as a starter during the summer of 2019, then was sitting 94-97 for entire outings as a reliever during the 2019 Fall League. In his brief 2020 big league debut, he was 92-95. Santos’ long arm action and inconsistent secondary stuff push him toward the bullpen. He throws an awful lot of pitches (four- and two-seamers, a slider, changeup, an occasional curve), all of which are average. I think the violent deception enables a low-leverage relief role. (Alternate site, MLB)

28. Riley Pint, SIRP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS) (COL)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
70/70 70/70 20/30 97-99 / 102

Pint’s first 2020 Instructional League outing was encouraging. He gave up a homer to Luis Matos, but then sat 97-98, and had a plus-plus slider and an average changeup. During his next two outings, he sat 91-95 with zero feel for locating his fastball and was left to throw an awful lot of pitches to get himself out of trouble. At one point he threw three consecutive wild pitches and the scout section was yelling toward the Rockies dugout to roll the inning. Injuries (oblique, forearm, shoulder) and wildness have made it difficult for Pint to develop at all. He’s an interesting change of scenery candidate. (Fall Instructional League)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (COL)
Age 24.4 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 35/35 89-94 / 96

There’s no change to Eusebio’s blurb, as he was neither at the alt site nor instructs: Eusebio was flashing three above-average pitches in 2017, then blew out his elbow early in ’18 and only returned late the following year. Due to injury, he’s never thrown more than 72 innings in a single season, and that was way back in 2015. Now 24, Eusebio is officially behind, but his stuff was only down a bit beneath it’s usual level when he pitched late during the 2019 summer, so there’s still a shot this guy breaks out and gets pushed quickly, especially if he just gets ‘penned. (At-home dev)

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 21.2 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 30/40 30/35 40/40 45/60 60

There’s no change here as Palma did not come to the States for Instructional League: I 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. (At-home dev)

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Vanderbilt (LAD)
Age 25.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 70/70 60/60 30/30 95-97 / 99

Sheffield, who was passed over in the 2019 Rule 5 and then picked in 2020, has been 92-95 so far this spring. His fastball has long either sat in the mid- or upper-90s and Sheffield has plus secondary stuff with elite spin rates on his fastball and slider, but he also has never been as dominant as his raw stuff indicates because his command is lacking. (Dodgers Fall Instructional League)

32. Yoan Aybar, SIRP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 30/35 93-96 / 98

After four fruitless pro seasons as a Red Sox outfielder, Aybar moved to the mound in 2018, and was traded to Colorado for infielder Christian Koss over the winter. At times, Aybar has dominant stuff — one source spoke of seeing him strike out four of the six hitters he faced in an outing while breaking the bats of the other two — but while he has impact arm strength (94-97, up to 100, fledgling feel for spin), the Red Sox didn’t invite him to the alternate site even though he was on their 40-man last year. He made his first 2020 spring appearance the day before Rockies list publication. (At-home dev)

Other Prospects of Note

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

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

There are lots of these guys in the system. Rosa was up to 97 in 2019 and has nearly perfect backspin on his heater. 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 few years. Mejia is only 20, has a great arm action and has been into the upper-90s as a teenager, but currently has 30-grade control. 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 With Elite Names
Yanquiel Fernandez, OF
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. Fernandez has the most amateur clout of the group.

Depth Starters
Jared Horn, RHP
Nick Bush, LHP
Mitchell Kilkenny, RHP
Shelby Lackey, RHP
Jacob Kostyshock, 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 a 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 a central casting fifth starter who is coming off of surgery. Lackey has a heavy sinker and has performed from a strikeouts and walks standpoint. Kostyshock has a plus slider and plus slider command.

Older Role-Playing Position Players
Yonathan Daza, CF
Alan Trejo, 2B
Connor Joe, 1B
Daniel Cope, C
Willie MacIver, C

At least one of these guys will end up becoming a 40. Daza has the best chance. He can run and make contact, he’s a righty bat who fits nicely with Blackmon/Tapia/Hilliard, and he’s out of options, so he’s likely the club’s fifth outfielder starting this year. Trejo has hit at a league-average level everywhere he’s been and now might sneak into some second base at-bats with Brendan Rodgers hurt again. Joe is coming back from cancer. He has a long pro track record of hitting but has no position. One of Cope and MacIver will likely be a backup. Cope has a plus arm, while MacIver is more athletic than the typical catcher.

System Overview

A few years ago the Rockies looked poised to compete for a while. They had a star core of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon, exciting young starters in Germán Márquez (stolen from the Rays for Corey Dickerson), Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and others, and several young position players (McMahon, Hampson, Rodgers) who could move around the star hitters as solid role players. Rather than spend on pitching depth, Colorado went out and signed redundant veteran hitters like Ian Desmond and Daniel Murphy. The club’s core competency continues to be grabbing good corner bats in the draft.

But as Gray and Freeland suddenly struggled, there wasn’t anyone to replace them because the org has really struggled to develop pitching, and note that I’m saying “develop” pitching, not “draft” it. I’ve liked a lot of the pitchers Colorado has drafted (Javier Medina, David Hill, Pint) who have just gotten hurt or not gotten any better, or maybe I was just wrong about those guys.

That said, the fixation on pitchability types with 40 stuff (Mitch Kilkenny, Will Gaddis) and college relievers (Doyle, Bowden, others) I have a harder time understanding. The teams best at developing pitching are still going to have attrition but Colorado has performed well below the norm for many years, and I think the end result is mostly evident in the lack of pitching depth and weak current bullpen. When you’re in a division with the Dodgers, who don’t have room for Tony Gonsolin in their rotation, you can’t be turning to Chi Chi González every fifth day and expect to compete. There have been no real homegrown bullpen pieces aside from middle-inning occupant Yency Almonte. Hard throwers like Jairo Díaz and Carlos Estévez have never been able to perform up to their stuff’s visual quality. I think if their rotation stays healthy in 2021, the Rockies will be better than a lot of us expect, but the bullpen is still too thin for a postseason push.

This system isn’t very good. Ignoring Austin Gomber, which isn’t fair to the Rockies, the Rockies gave up a better single prospect when they traded for Mychal Givens (I really like Terrin Vavra) than they got back for Nolan Arenado. I don’t know if the right answer moving forward is to trade Story or Marquez, or try to keep them. The Marlins would probably be better had they just kept Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Giancarlo Stanton rather than dealing them for lots of prospects.





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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sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

This is ugly, but I do think there’s a path forward. They have two really interesting outfielders who are either center-field capable or close to it, which is important with that outfield with Veen and Doyle, so that’s good. I think that’s when their next window is going to open (so, 2024/2025 or so). And somewhere in there, there’s a first baseman between Toglia, Vilade, and Welker, and I like Schunk a lot.

Unfortunately, that’s when Marquez, Freeland, and Senzatela all become free agents. It is so, so hard to find pitchers who can function in Colorado so I can see the rationale for extending each of them, but if you can’t extend them at a reasonable price tag now they need to return someone who will be there. In theory, this is true of Trevor Story too but I don’t think you’re going to be able to extend him with one year to go until FA after trading Arenado.

On top of that, the Rockies are drafting in a spot where they should be able to get a top shortstop (Mayer, Lawlar, or Watson) who should have a similar timeline as Doyle and Veen. If you do that and then switch to grabbing college players you could build a core that shows up largely between 2024 and 2026. It’s doable! And you don’t have to tear down except for likely trading Story. Good luck pulling it off, though. Everything has to go right, and they usually don’t.

Francoeurstein
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Francoeurstein

I know the recent history of trading guys midseason before free agency hasn’t been great, but I’m hoping Story goes on a tear and the Rox can get a few solid spects for him.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

In general it seems like the sweet spot for trading players is when they have two years of control left (or at the deadline with one more year after). You can get more if you trade them before that, but the value you get from trading a guy just before their walk year and (especially) during their walk year is so sharp. We have not seen a lot of Michael Fulmer for Yoenis Cespedes type returns for big names at the deadline lately…it seems like the Machado deal is what you usually get now.