2014 Colorado Rockies Top 10 Prospects

By
Updated: January 16, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Jonathan Gray, Position: RHP, Age: 22

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

13.1

4.05

2.67

10.13

1.35

25.9%

3.5%

0.00

32.5%

A+

24.0

0.75

1.29

13.50

2.25

41.9%

41.9%

0.00

47.7%

Profile: The final member of the much ballyhooed trio of elite collegiate prospects selected last June, Gray outshined his counterpart, Houston’s Mark Appel, during their respective debuts. The former Oklahoma ace was, well, brilliant. In 37.1 innings, Gray fanned 51 and walked eight while posting a 1.78 SIERA. 

Analysis: Elite pitching prospect. Ideal frame (6-foot-4 and 255 pounds), elite strikeout ability, above-average control, Gray could front the Rockies’ rotation for the better part of a decade. Think Ubaldo Jimenez pre-All-Star break 2010.

Ceiling: 5.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

2. Eddie Butler, Position: RHP, Age: 23

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

54.1

1.66

3.13

8.45

4.14

23.7%

11.6%

0.33

69.1%

A+

67.2

2.39

3.39

8.91

2.79

24.0%

7.5%

0.93

44.7%

AA

27.2

0.65

2.96

8.13

1.95

24.8%

5.9%

0.00

55.1%

Profile: Butler went from largely unknown to first round pick following his breakout junior season at Radford University. The 6-foot-2 right-hander, who averaged a touch over 6.8 K/9 during his first two collegiate seasons, punched out 95 hitters in 98 innings of work during his final season.

Analysis: Butler showed remarkable resiliency as the organization aggressively moved him through the farm system. His K-rate remained steady and he showed improving control/command as the season wore on. Not quite on the same level as Gray, but Butler has the potential to develop into a very, very good #2.

Ceiling: 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

3. David Dahl, Position: CF, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

42

109

.275

.310

.425

4.8%

19.0%

.150

4

1

0

2/2

Profile: It was a lost season for the club’s top offensive prospect. Dahl missed games due to a suspension resulting from maturity issues and then a severe hamstring injury wrecked the rest of his 2013. In total, the former tenth overall pick appeared in 10 games, hitting .275/.310/.425.

Analysis: Impressive hit tool with above-average pop and speed, Dahl’s still only 20-years-old and could end up in high Class A before the end of the 2014 season. The lone tool lacking has been his plate discipline thus far.

Ceiling: 4.0- to 4.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate

 

4. Kyle Parker, Position: 1B/OF, Age: 24

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

528

135

.288

.345

.492

7.6%

18.8%

.204

23

3

23

6/12

Profile: The former Clemson two-sport star once again topped 20 HR for the third consecutive season. Parker, a first round pick in 2010, turned in another solid campaign last year, besting the Texas League offensive production by 35%.

Analysis: Parker is nearly big league ready. The former Clemson QB shows above-average, not elite, power potential, a mediocre eye at the plate, and surprisingly strong contact skills. Parker’s the top of player that will plod along posting WAR totals near four and then explode one year with an unforgettable season. He should be a .280/.340/.460-type hitter, capable of hitting 25- to 30-HRs

Ceiling: 3.5- to 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

5. Trevor Story, Position: SS, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

554

83

.233

.305

.394

8.1%

33.0%

.161

34

5

12

23/24

Profile: The Story was a sad, sad tale of an overmatched hero battling against stiff competition who exploited the protagonist’s weaknesses. Move over, Hemmingway. 

Analysis: Story saw a massive drop in production, more than 50-percentage points as his wRC+ total declined from 138 to 83. Hurlers exploited weaknesses in his swing, resulting in an absurdly high 33.0% strikeout rate. Too young and too good to ignore after one down season, Story shows above-average power, incredible base running instincts, and solid walk rates. If the hit tool catches up, he could be an elite offensive shortstop, but that’s a big if though.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

6. Chad Bettis, Position: RHP, Age: 25

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

63.0

3.71

2.78

9.71

1.86

26.3%

5.0%

1.29

44.6%

MLB

44.2

5.64

5.31

6.04

4.03

14.4%

9.6%

1.21

45.3%

Profile: The Rockies have successfully converted the former collegiate closer into a viable big league starting pitcher. Bettis, a second round pick in 2010, finished his amateur career as the all time leader in saves at Texas Tech (17). The 6-foot-1 right-hander missed all of the 2012 season due to a shoulder injury and an oblique injury cost him part of last year as well.

Analysis: During his time with the Rockies, Bettis flashed an above-average fastball sitting in the 93 mph range, a hard cutter, curveball and an upper 80s changeup. He’ll miss some bats and post better than average groundball rates, so he has a fighting chance to be successful in Coors Field. A #3/#4-type hurler.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

7. Ryan Casteel, Position: C, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

469

124

.270

.352

.523

10.7%

25.2%

.253

30

4

22

1/1

Profile: Casteel, a 17th round pick out of Cleveland State Community College in 2010, has done one thing consistently throughout his four-year professional career: best the league average production mark. Casteel set career highs in HRs (22), walk rate (10.7%), doubles (30), triples (four), and wRC+ (124).

Analysis: Much like his organizational catching counterpart, Tom Murphy, Casteel isn’t an elite prospect. But he does a lot of things on offense well without having a true weakness. Solid-average power potential and plate discipline, modest strikeout rates, and a decent hit tool. Casteel gets the nod over Murphy because the former’s production was done in an offense-suppressing park.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

8. Tom Murphy, Position: C, Age: 23

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

341

174

.288

.385

.590

10.9%

25.5%

.302

26

2

19

4/9

AA

74

134

.290

.338

.493

5.4%

21.6%

.203

5

0

3

0/0

Profile: The good news: Among all minor league catchers, Murphy finished second in HRs (22), fifth in doubles (31), and was the position’s top offensive performer, producing 67% above the league average.

Analysis: Damn. Now the bad news: The former third round pick played the majority of his time against an age-appropriate level of competition and, more importantly, in an extreme hitter’s ballpark. He’s not an elite catching prospect, but could develop into a better than average offensive-minded backstop. Fifteen- to 20-HR potential.

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

9. Rosell Herrera, Position: SS, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

546

168

.343

.419

.515

11.2%

17.6%

.172

33

0

16

21/29

Profile: After finishing the 2012 season with a subpar triple-slash line, .241/.300/.310, something clicked for Herrera, who batted a whopping .343/.419/.515 with 33 doubles and 16 homeruns last season. He finished the season 68% better than the South Atlantic League average offense.

Analysis: Much like the best parts of life, Herrera’s season is too good to be truth. In fact, everything about the then-20-year-old’s season screams fluke: .401 BABIP, hitter friendly environment, major spike in power, repeat low Class A. Not entirely convinced he’s anything more than a potential league average regular. Personally, if I’m the Rockies I dangle Herrera out there as a potential sell-high opportunity.

Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

10. Ryan McMahon, Position: 3B, Age: 19

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

RK

251

147

.321

.402

.583

11.2%

23.5%

.261

18

3

11

4/10

Profile: While not quite of the level of David Dahl’s debut two years ago, McMahon, the organization’s second round pick last June, acquitted himself nicely in pro ball. In 59 games in the Pioneer League, the lefty-swinging third baseman hit .321/.402/.583 with 18 doubles, three triples, and 11 homeruns, the third highest total in the league.

Analysis: The kid looks like he can play. McMahon showed good power and plate discipline, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in low Class A to start the 2014 season.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

 

 

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