Top 10 Prospects (2017): Colorado Rockies: Brandan Rodgers Heads Up A Developing System

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Rockies are a team that are quickly on the rise.  They saw two young pitchers emerge in 2016 in Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson, helping to show that it was possible for the team to develop pitching who have the potential to thrive in Coors Field.  They aren’t alone, though, as they have a few more prospects on the way (some of which could potentially be elite).  Who are they?  When will they arrive?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Brendan Rodgers – Shortstop
Grade – A-
ETA – 2018/2019

The third overall selection in the 2015 draft presented himself well in his first full season of professional baseball (which was spent at Single-A), hitting .281 with 19 HR and 73 RBI over 491 PA.  He added 31 doubles, as the power is evident, and while we’d like to see a better contact rate (20.0% strikeout rate) it’s not a significant red flag yet.  His home/road split is something that needs to be monitored, though:

  • Home – .318/.376/.597
  • Road – .247/.310/.372

While he will obviously have a favorable home ballpark in the future, at his age/development stage it’s going to be something to watch.  He’s likely ticketed for High-A to start the season, which will be extremely telling.  He has the upside of being the next great young shortstop, and that’s represented in the grade, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t concerns.

 

2) Riley Pint – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

Selected fourth overall in the 2016 draft, Pint showed strikeouts (36) and groundballs (1.64 GO/AO) in his first 37.0 innings of professional baseball.  Reports have his fastball reaching triple digits, and at 19-years old he’s already got a strong secondary repertoire (slider/change-up).  He also has the size that teams look for (listed at 6’4” and 195 lbs.).  The question, as it is with many young pitchers, is in his control.  He walked 23 batters last season (5.59 BB/9), though it’s a small sample size and is something that should be able to be corrected in time.  He’s a few years away, but he holds the potential to form a formidable 1-2 punch with Jon Gray.

 


 

3) Jeff Hoffman – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

A 2014 first round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays, Hoffman was acquired as part of the Troy Tulowitzki trade.  He made 22 starts at Triple-A last season, posting a 9.40 K/9 and 3.34 BB/9, displaying the strikeout stuff that was expected of him (he averaged 94.0 mph in the Majors).  He’s shown the ability to generate groundballs (1.19 GO/AO over his minor league career), which will be important if he wants to excel in Coors Field (he displayed it in the Majors as well, with a 50.0% mark).  He’s long been a hyped prospect, and it’s possible that he’s finally healthy and recovered from his 2014 Tommy John surgery.

 

4) Raimel Tapia – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – Already Arrived

The question is where Tapia’s fit in to the Rockies’ future plans?  Their outfield is already full (Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon & David Dahl), and they are planning on utilizing Ian Desmond at first base (and you can argue that he’s a better fit in the outfield).  There’s going to need to be an injury/trade in order to free up a spot, with the latter being something that’s always being rumored.

Tapia brings speed (he’s stolen as many as 33 bases in a minor league season) and power potential (especially playing in Colorado).  While he’s proven capable of making consistent contact, as displayed by the 2016 numbers, you have to wonder in MLB pitchers will exploit his aggressiveness (Strikeout Rate // Walk Rate):

  • Double-A – 10.7% // 5.5%
  • Triple-A – 10.9% // 1.8%

 

5) Tom Murphy – Catcher
Grade – B
ETA – Already Arrived

Murphy has the potential to be your prototypical all power, no average catcher.  He displayed it at Triple-A last season (19 HR over 321 PA), as he was a strikeout machine (24.3%).  While he hit .327, he needed an unrealistic .386 BABIP in order to get there.  Spending time in the Majors over the past two seasons (88 PA), he’s shown both the power (8 HR) and strikeouts (33.0%).  There’s value in that, of course, as he could be a similar player to Russell Martin or Brian McCann, but there also is limited potential unless he can learn to make more consistent contact.

 


 

The Rest:

6) Kyle Freeland – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)
7) Forrest Wall – Second Baseman (Grade – B-)
8) Ryan Castellani – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
9) Antonio Senzatela – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
10) German Marquez – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C+)

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Brooks Baseball, Fangraphs

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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