Top 22 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 the numbered prospects here also appear on THE BOARD, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. Click here to visit THE BOARD.

Rockies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age High Level Position ETA FV
1 Brendan Rodgers 21 AA SS 2019 60
2 Riley Pint 20 A RHP 2021 50
3 Ryan McMahon 23 MLB 1B 2018 50
4 Ryan Vilade 19 A 3B 2022 45
5 Colton Welker 20 A+ 3B 2021 45
6 Yency Almonte 23 AAA RHP 2018 45
7 Forrest Wall 22 A+ CF 2019 45
8 Garrett Hampson 23 AA 2B 2019 45
9 Tyler Nevin 20 A+ 3B 2021 45
10 Peter Lambert 20 AA RHP 2020 45
11 Ryan Castellani 22 AA RHP 2019 45
12 Breiling Eusebio 21 A LHP 2021 40
13 Dom Nunez 23 AA C 2019 40
15 Will Gaddis 22 A RHP 2020 40
14 Robert Tyler 21 A RHP 2020 40
16 Sam Hilliard 24 AA OF 2020 40
17 Jordan Patterson 26 MLB LF 2019 40
18 Vince Fernandez 22 A+ OF 2020 40
19 Sam Howard 25 R LHP 2018 40
20 Chad Spanberger 22 A 1B 2021 40
21 Tom Murphy 27 MLB 1B 2018 40
22 Daniel Montano 19 R CF 2022 40

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Lake Mary HS (FL)
Age 20 Height 6’0 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/60 40/55 50/45 40/50 55/55

After demolishing the Cal League last year (as was expected), Rodgers had a solid 38-game run at Double-A. He turned 21 in August. He’s hit everywhere he’s been since high school and continues to look fine, if unspectacular, at shortstop. He’s above average in every way at the plate (the bat control, power, feel for opposite-field contact, ability to punish mistakes), which means he’s got a good chance to be an All-Star if he stays at shortstop, and it looks like he’s going to.

50 FV Prospects

2. Riley Pint, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from St. Thomas Aquinas HS (KS)
Age 19 Height 6’4 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
70/70 50/55 60/65 50/60 30/45

Pint was identified as a potential high-first-round pick as a high school underclassman, showing mid-90s velocity and a long, lanky, athletic frame in tournaments. He remained an elite arm over the next few years, going fourth overall in 2016 and continuing to show some of the best stuff on the planet, including two 70s and two 60s on some days.

Pint doesn’t have much deception and has big effort and head whack in his delivery. Also, his fastball doesn’t have much life, and he may generally just throw too hard to learn the finesse aspects of being a starting pitcher. His walk rates and contact allowed are worrisome, but the stuff and athleticism are still at the top of the scale, so the upside remains sky high, although scouts are getting less enthusiastic.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2013 from Mater Dei HS (CA)
Age 22 Height 6’2 Weight 185 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 60/60 50/60 30/30 40/50 55/55

We’re buying McMahon’s bounceback 2017 campaign. He began altering his footwork late in 2016 and continued to grow more comfortable with it through last season. McMahon’s fly-ball rate has actually dropped in the last year, but his timing at the plate has improved, and this uptick in production is probably a function of him more frequently putting the ball in play than he was in 2016. He has plus raw power and is adept at golfing out balls down and in, but he has the strength to drive them out the other way. His transition to first base continues, but he’s made progress and looks like a future 50 defender there. He’s seen time at second base and could be a 40 glove there in a pinch. He tasted the majors last season and should grab hold of a job in the next year or so.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Stillwater HS (OK)
Age 18 Height 6’2 Weight 194 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 55/60 30/55 45/40 45/50 55/55

Vilade had a hot spring before the draft and buoyed his stock into the second round, then he skipped the AZL, went to the Pioneer League, and continued to hit and hit for power while convincing some pro scouts that he could stay at short. We still consider it likely that he moves to third base but think he’ll hit enough to profile there anyway. Vilade looked less physical this past spring training and has struggled early on during the regular season. It’s something to monitor but not worth fretting over just yet.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Stoneman Douglas HS (FL)
Age 19 Height 6’2 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 55/55 30/55 40/30 40/45 55/55

Welker has a consistently strong track record of hitting as a pro, albeit at places notorious for accentuating offensive performance. He has good bat control and enough raw power to profile at a corner, so it’s somewhat insignificant that his frame is already maxed out. A move to first base, which some of the industry foresees, would dilute his value but not totally crush it. He’ll be 20 all season and is off to a great start in the Cal League.

Drafted: 17th Round, 2012 from Columbia HS (FL)
Age 23 Height 6’3 Weight 205 Bat/Throw S/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/60 50/55 45/50 40/45

Almonte was the player named later in the White Sox trade of Gordon Beckham to Anaheim and was later sent to Colorado for Tommy Kahnle. Almonte lowered his arm slot a bit in 2017 and his stuff ticked up, but he was also on the DL twice and has been again already this spring. He sits 93-96, will touch 98, and has a starter’s mix. He’s a potential No. 4 starter with rising injury risk and is currently at Triple-A.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Orangewood Christian HS (FL)
Age 21 Height 6’0 Weight 176 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/45 20/30 60/60 40/45 40/40

Wall has been hurt numerous times throughout his career, and the injuries have wreaked havoc on his development and arm strength. Despite his speed, a lack of arm strength could push him to left field instead of center (he’s already had to abandon second base), but Wall is so fast that he could be plus there. His combination of patience, bat control, and nearly average power don’t look terrible in left either. His range of potential outcomes starts with a bench outfield role on the low end and looks something like Brett Gardner on the other.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Long Beach State
Age 22 Height 5’11 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 40/40 30/35 70/70 45/50 50/50

Hampson has been on the scouting radar forever (he was a multi-year infielder on the collegiate Team USA) but is only now starting to convince some scouts he can stay at shortstop. The rest of the profile is grounded in bat-to-ball skills and premium speed, which has helped him more in the lower minors than it will as he faces fundamentally sound defenders in Double-A and up. There’s a strong chance he’s a utility man, but Hampson is trending upward and starting to convince more scouts that he could play every day.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Poway HS (CA)
Age 20 Height 6’4 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 55/60 30/55 40/40 40/45 50/50

Nevin missed much of 2016 and 2017 due to hamstring and wrist issues, respectively, but he’s hit when healthy as a pro. He has big, all-fields raw power and is adept at taking the ball the other way. He’s also likely to move from third to first, and he’s already seeing most of his playing time there because he and Welker are sharing an infield. Right/right first-base profiles are tough. Nevin has the pop to make it work, but he needs to keep hitting and show, over a larger sample, that he has the plate discipline to profile at first as well.

10. Peter Lambert, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from San Dimas HS (CA)
Age 20 Height 6’2 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
50/50 45/50 50/55 55/60 45/55

Lambert was an advanced high-school pitcher who’d use his four-pitch mix like a multi-year veteran, running his changeup back across the outside corner against righties and throwing his breaking ball for strikes when he’d fall behind. These skills are useful when you have a fringe fastball, which will likely cap Lambert’s ceiling to that of a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Brophy Prep (AZ)
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
50/50 50/55 50/55 40/50

Neither Castellani’s stuff nor his command were crisp this spring, and he was knocked around in big-league games then sent to repeat Double-A, where his strike-throwing issues have continued. If he bounces back he could be a No. 4, if not he’ll be a three-pitch reliever.

40 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic
Age 20 Height 6’1 Weight 175 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/55 50/55 45/55 40/50

Eusebio had a bad 2016 and then was suddenly one of the more interesting prospects in Arizona for extended spring training the following year. He’s a quick-armed lefty with a vertical arm slot who will touch 96 and show you a plus curveball and changeup. It’s a high-maintenance delivery, and Eusebio’s arm slot makes it tough for him to work east/west effectively, but his stuff plays better up/down, so perhaps that won’t matter. He’s unlikely to grow into any more velocity but has a three-pitch mix that fits in a rotation if it can be harnessed. When I saw Eusebio this spring, he had trouble repeating but made three good starts at Low-A Asheville before being shut down in mid-April with elbow soreness.

13. Dom Nunez, C
Drafted: 6th Round, 2013 from Elk Grove HS (CA)
Age 22 Height 6’0 Weight 175 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 45/45 30/40 40/40 45/50 45/45

The tools grades aren’t remotely sexy, but Nunez is a competent defensive catcher and has a great eye for the strike zone, a combination that should enable him to play a bench role or as the larger half of a catching platoon.

15. Will Gaddis, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Furman
Age 21 Height 6’1 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
45/45 50/55 45/50 50/60

Gaddis has plus command right now, and it enables his otherwise fringe slider to play up because it’s often located just off the plate. He was 87-91 last summer after he signed but has been 90-93 this spring, and his changeup projects to be average. He’s a low-variance college arm who’ll likely max out as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.

14. Robert Tyler, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Georgia
Age 22 Height 6’4 Weight 226 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
60/60 40/45 55/60 30/40

Tyler did not pitch in 2017 due to a shoulder injury but has been 93-96 this spring with his signature changeup. The reps needed to develop his breaking ball and command enough for him to start are gone, and he has moved into the bullpen. Tyler’s long arm action and recent severe injury make him riskier than typical pitching prospects, but he has late-inning stuff if he can stay healthy.

16. Sam Hilliard, OF
Drafted: 15th Round, 2015 from Wichita State
Age 23 Height 6’5 Weight 225 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 60/60 45/50 50/50 50/55 60/60

Hilliard has a pretty standard right-field profile grounded in big raw power and surprising straight-line speed for his size. He also has swing-and-miss issues, and concern regarding them is compounded by his age considering he has been old for every level at which he’s had success. There are several ways for Hilliard to move up this list even if the strikeouts continue, and one of them is getting to more of his power, which, given that his ground-ball rate is way down early this year, might be happening.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2013 from South Alabama
Age 25 Height 6’4 Weight 215 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 60/60 40/50 40/40 40/45 60/60

Patterson has plus power and good bat control but lever length and a poor approach have diluted his offensive output. He’s limited to first base and the corner outfield spots and projects as a bench bat or platoon option.

Drafted: 10th Round, 2016 from UC Riverside
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 210 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 60/60 30/50 45/45 45/50 50/50

Fernandez was one of the options available to Texas as the PTNBL in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. He’s much like Hilliard, just a few levels behind him, and has enough power and patience to counteract otherwise concerning rates of contact.

19. Sam Howard, LHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2014 from Georgia Southern
Age 25 Height 6’3 Weight 170 Bat/Throw R/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
40/40 45/50 50/55 45/50

Triple-A Albuquerque isn’t going to be kind to Howard’s stuff. He has a strange arm slot that helps his fringe stuff play a little better. He was 90-92 this spring with an average change and a fringe cutter. He projects as a fifth starter.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2017 from Arkansas
Age 21 Height 6’3 Weight 235 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 70/70 40/55 40/40 40/45 50/50

Spanberger went nuts during the SEC tournament with lots of scouts watching and his stock skyrocketed shortly before the draft. He has big raw power and hit 40% of his balls in play over 100 mph last year. He’s a stiff, first-base-only athlete, so he’ll have to hit all the way up the minor-league ladder. He’s off to a slow start in part because he has walked, as of publication time, in less than 2% of his 2018 plate appearances.

21. Tom Murphy, 1B
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2012 from Buffalo
Age 26 Height 6’1 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 60/60 45/45 30/30 40/40 40/40

Murphy can’t catch but has enough power that he could be a bench player on a roster with flexibility elsewhere.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela
Age 18 Height 6’1 Weight 170 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 40/55 20/45 50/55 40/50 40/45

Montano was a high-profile Latin American signee and hasn’t been seen much because the Rockies don’t have an AZL affiliate. The most looks I’ve had at him have come this spring as he hits leadoff in extended spring training, and there’s a solid all-around skillset here, but no electric tool or superlative skill, nor the kind of physical projection that indicates one is coming. He’ll have to hit a bunch to profile, but he’s a competent teenage hitter and has a fair chance to do so. Realistically, he’s an average everyday player at peak.

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

One Guy Ahead of the Rest
Cristopher Navarro, SS
Navarro can play short, and he’s growing into his modest frame and impacting the baseball with more strength this spring. He’ll be a 40 FV, at least, by the year’s end.

Outfield Depth
Yonathan Daza, OF
Noel Cuevas, OF
Mylz Jones, UTIL
Wes Rogers, OF

Except for Cuevas, all of these guys can fly. Cuevas has the best bat-to-ball skills among them and might hit enough to be a bench outfielder. Daza has doubles power, but we’re skeptical of his performance due to his age. (He’s 24 at Double-A.) Jones and Rogers can really just run, but Jones was a raw college player who has more bat speed and room for growth than Rogers.

Lesser Relief Prospects
Tommy Doyle, RHP
Rayan Gonzalez, RHP
Alexander Guillen, RHP
Ben Bowden, LHP
Jesus Tinoco, RHP
Reid Humphreys, RHP
David Hill, RHP
Mike Nikorak, RHP
Javier Medina, RHP

Doyle has a plus sinker and multiple other average pitches. Gonzalez sits 96-99 with natural cut and has a plus curveball, and he’s recovering from TJ. Guillen’s slider gets elite swing-and-miss, but his fastball is average. Bowden was a hard-throwing fastball/changeup reliever at Vanderbilt who didn’t pitch in 2017 due to injury. Tinoco throws 92-95 and will show you a good curveball. Humphreys has a plus sinker but that’s kind of it. Hill was worked hard in college and had a shoulder injury that ended his 2017 season. He’s been in the low 90s this spring. Nikorak is recovering from TJ and hasn’t thrown in games yet this spring. Medina has and has been 86-90 after he was 90-94 in high school.

Cistulli’s Guy
Selected by Carson Cistulli from any player who received less than a 40 FV.

Mike Tauchman, OF
A variety of indicators suggest that Tauchman is unlikely to author a lengthy and productive major-league career. He was a 10th-round pick who signed for just $10,000. He’s never been particularly notable for his tools. He’s already 27. And, in the brief major-league resume he has crafted, he seems to have been overwhelmed.

That said, Tauchman’s last 500-plus plate appearances at Triple-A have been very strong. Nor is it merely a product of the Pacific Coast League: Tauchman’s both walks more and strikeouts out less than the average PCL batter, and he posted a 150-point improvement in isolated power between 2016 and -17 while playing at the same park. The combination of bat-to-ball skills, serviceable power on contact, and roughly scratch defensive value typically plays in the majors. It just hasn’t yet for the Bradley product.

System Overview

Recent pitcher draftees have been a disaster. Pint hasn’t developed and got hurt this spring. Neither Bowden nor Tyler pitched last year due to injury. Hill, Medina, and Nikorak have also had long-term injuries. It’s not a bad system right now but, because none of these players is ascending into the 50+ FV range, it might look pretty rough in six months if Rodgers graduates and Pint doesn’t right the ship. But let’s not forget that David Dahl, Jairo Diaz, and Raimel Tapia, though not list-eligible, are young players who have a chance to make an impact in the majors, and the big-league club is also pretty young. If anything, the farm system’s issues might make it hard for the Rockies to add pieces mid-summer in an effort to get themselves over the hump and firmly into title contention.

We hoped you liked reading Top 22 Prospects: Colorado Rockies by Eric Longenhagen!

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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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Will H.
Member
Will H.

Thoughts on McMahon’s struggles (more in the minors than when he was hardly ever actually started in the majors) this year? See anything off in his approach, or just some rust/growing pains?