Rockies High on a Small Group of Prospects

The Rockies have not gone through any major rebuilding project. They rarely finish with the worst record in baseball so their picks are normally middle of the pack. This does not prevent them from selecting good young players they can incorporate into the major league lineup. Some of their players put up video game like numbers in the minor leagues. The list does not carry a lot of depth, but it has some star players ready to make an impact.

The player they hope to get immediate impact from is Ryan McMahon. He started as a third baseman but with Nolan Arenado hogging the major league position he has had to work out some new gloves. They tried him at second but his defense was lacking in range. His best bet may be at first base. The Rockies would like to see his bat in the lineup where it produced a .374 average in AAA last year with a .613 slugging. Unfortunately that did not translate when promoted to the major leagues (.158) but it was only a 19 at bat trial. He did show some patience at the plate walking (5) as many times as he struck out. The left handed hitter did not hit as well against lefthanders which could result in a platoon role for him.

Brendan Rodgers won’t be ready for the major leagues next year but the 2019 season Rockie fans should be ready to welcome him into their stadium. Just like McMahon the Rockies have to find a position for him. They currently have him at shortstop but Trevor Story seems to have that position locked up. A move to second base would be the next logical spot, where the Rockies found some time for him in High A and AA. Like McMahon, Rodgers has a bat they want to see in the lineup hitting .383 with a .667 slugging average in 51 games at High A. Injuries limited him to 89 games last year. The Rockies would love to have his impact bat sliding into a middle infield position.

Another player who showed a potent bat last year was Colton Welker. The fourth round pick in 2016 hit .350 in Low A but missed two months of the season because of an abdominal strain. Like McMahon third base is his position, but the Rockies will keep him there since he is still a couple years away from the major leagues. He did play shortstop in high school but lacks the range to play it in the major leagues. Like Rodgers and McMahon his bat is his best asset and they want to get that into the lineup. It is suspect whether the Rockies can sign Arenado when he becomes a free agent in 2019, which should be the time frame when Welker should be ready.

Tom Murphy started last season with the expectation he would be the Rockies starting catcher but he fractured his right arm in a spring training game and spent all but 12 games in the minor leagues. A good spring could see him recapture that role. While his defense is okay, with a strong arm to limit the running game the Rockies like his bat. It shows some pop. In major league callups in 2015 and 2016 he slugged .543 and .659 respectively in limited at bats. Last year he struggled, achieving just one hit in 24 at bats. The Rockies signed Chris Ianneta to fill the catchers role but it would not take much to get Murphy’s bat in the lineup.

Forrest Wall was another player whose bat was far ahead of his defense. The 2014 first round supplemental pick started as a second baseman but showed poor defensive skills to be even adequate there. The Rockies have moved him to the outfield where they hope his speed will allow him to patrol centerfield. A separated shoulder diving for a ball in centerfield ended his season early limiting him to just 22 games. His arm is not strong and the power is short but he can get on base and steal bases. Wall may have to repeat High A to reorient himself to the outfield.

The Rockies selected a pretty good pitcher in the first round of the 2016 draft. Riley Pint stands 6′4″ and can zip his fastball to home plate in triple digits. Unfortunately he does not know where his fastball is going. His 5.7 walks per nine innings and .264 opposition average are not numbers indicative of a future ace in the rotation. Because he only needed a fastball in high school his secondary pitches need consistency. When he puts all his pitches together he could rise up the ladder fast.

Pitching is where the Rockies always need help, but myworld is not enamored with the remaining pitchers in their minor league system. We either do not know enough about them to be impressed or know too much about them to be unimpressed. Some of them could still come through and make an impact at the back end of the Rockies rotation.

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