Finally, baseball season is upon us. The Colorado Rockies have high hopes of returning to their form of two years ago and contending. They will need help now and in the future from their prospects. Here are 10 names you need to know:
Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B
The Rockies will have a new Number One the next time the Colorado Rockies’ Top 50 prospects list is updated. Rodgers, who has topped the list for years but has yet to play this season for the Rockies, will either graduate from the list because he receives sufficient at-bats to lose prospect status, or he will fall because of disappointing performance or, again, injury. Rodgers was projected to start this season for the Rockies but a lingering shoulder injury and unimpressive spring and summer camp performance has him plying his trade at the alternate camp, not with the big-league club.
Zac Veen, RHP
The new top dog is Veen, 18, who was the team’s top draft pick, #9 overall, in this June’s MLB Draft. Veen, a left-handed hitting outfielder who graduated this spring from Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, Florida, turned heads on the amateur player circuit and was by many accounts the best high school player in the draft. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 190-pound centerfielder has power, speed, a strong arm and a great hit tool. He was a University of Florida commitment but signed a million deal with the Rockies to get started on what he plans to be an MVP-level major-league career. Veen likely will man one of the corners in the spacious Coors Field outfield and in the not too distant future. This was a great pick. Veen could turn out to be the best player in the 2020 draft.
Drew Romo, C
Romo, 18, is a catcher out of The Woodlands High School in Texas who was drafted 35th overall by the Rockies in the 2020 MLB amateur draft. He was a middle infielder who switched to catcher and performed so well he was the starting catcher on the Team USA 18U squad (last guy to do that: Joe Mauer). Romo is a a team leader whose defense is his calling card but whose hitting has shown flashes during his amateur career. The Rockies need a catcher of the future; perhaps now they have one.
Ashton Goudeau, RHP
Goudeau, 28, may well find himself on the Coors Field mound this summer. The relief pitcher turned heads at the Arizona Fall League last year and that thrust him onto the 40-man roster and into the bullpen conversation in Denver. With the Rockies releasing a couple of former bullpen studs in Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw, and losing Scott Oberg to injury, don’t be surprised if Goudeau works his way toward the back of the pen as this truncated season proceeds.
Antonio Santos, RHP
The 23-year-old Dominican struck out 140 in 145.2 innings at High-A Lancaster and AA Hartford in 2019. But it was a 2.77 ERA coming out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League that put him on the list of pitching depth for the Rockies. He has four pitches, including a fastball that tops out at 97 mph, but his command is inconsistent. But with bullpen injuries and the uncertainty of counting on closer Wade Davis, Santos could get the call this summer.
Jose Mujica, RHP
Mujica, 24, a former Tampa Bay Rays prospect, was signed by the Rockies in the offseason. The hard-throwing Venezuelan has been in pro baseball since 2013, had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and missed all of last season. He was 5-1 with a 2.71 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 36.2 innings at AAA Durham in 2018, though, and he’s on the 40-man roster so could pitch for Colorado this season.
Ryan Castellani, RHP
The #13 prospect on the Colorado Rockies’ Top 50 list, Castellani had an injury-plagued and disappointing 2019 at Albuquerque, posting an 8.31 ERA. Still, he had 47 strikeouts in 43.1 innings. Inconsistency is his failing, but a couple of his outings in the Arizona Fall League were outstanding. Castellani, 24, has been used in the minors as a starter but might find a role this summer in the bullpen if injuries, Covid-19 or poor performance plague the relief corps.
Alan Trejo, IF
Of all the guys on the 60-man 2020 squad who are not on the 40-man, Trejo might have the best chance of being called up in case of emergency. That’s not because Trejo, 24, is the best player available — he’s #47 on the Colorado Rockies’ Top 50 prospects list — it’s because he impressed during spring training and summer camp and has position versatility. Trejo can play all over the infield. He made the Eastern League All-Star team after a good first half at AA Hartford in 2019. He got the summer camp invite because he’s earned a reputation as “a baseball player,” a description that means he works hard and plays the game the right way. It’s a long shot for him to make the big leagues this year but this is a strange season so you never know.
Brenton Doyle, OF
An outfielder to keep an eye on in the future is Doyle, 22, drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB amateur draft from Shepherd University, West Virginia. Doyle had 8 homers, 33 RBI, 17 stolen bases, a .383 batting average and .477 OBP over 51 games at Rookie-level Grand Junction in his first pro season. His plus speed, plus arm and hit tool garnered a lot of attention. A lost season in 2020 hurts his development but he has the tools to overcome it.
Terrin Vavra, SS
Another guy hurt by a lost year of development is shortstop Vavra, 23, who was drafted in the third round (96th overall) out of the University of Minnesota in 2018, Vavra can hit and run, compiling a .318 batting average with .409 OBP and 18 steals and 10 homers in 102 games at Low-A Asheville in 2019. He split his time between shortstop and second base and is looking like a major-league middle infielder.