The Colorado Rockies traded Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday but the return is sure to disappoint Rockies fans. It only marginally improves the Rockies’ top prospects list.
Five players go to the Rockies in return for Colorado’s franchise player, including a sometimes-starter, sometimes-reliever (Austin Gomber) and an unheralded minor leaguer (Jake Woodford), while only three are true prospects. None of the three would rank in my Prospects1500 Rockies’ top 10 prospects.
Here is our Prospects1500 take on them, first from our Cardinals’ correspondent Chris Eros in his Top 50 rankings, then from me.
9. Elehuris Montero, 3B
Highest Level: AA
Montero is coming off an injury-plagued 2019 season. He should come into the 2021 season at full health and I’m looking forward to him getting back on track to what his 2018 season was. Montero has solid power and is an all around great hitter when healthy. If he can start the season on a tear, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make his MLB debut sometime during the 2021 season. Montero has the abilities to hit 20+ home runs a year, and if he can cut down some of the strike outs, can most likely bat around a .275 average.
My take: If healthy, Montero could be playing third base for the Rockies by the end of this summer. But he faces stiff competition in the future from Aaron Schunk, a better prospect who may be the best hitter in the Rockies’ farm system and who has the arm and defensive chops to man third base for years to come. Schunk has played some second base in the minors too so both of these guys could be in the Rockies infield of the future.
22. Tony Locey, RHP
Highest Level: A
Primarily a reliever, Locey has great strikeout ability using his mid 90’s fastball, sharp slider, and curveball. I like Locey as both a starter and a reliever, although I see him being a solid power pitcher from the bullpen. The potential is there for Locey to have the stuff to be a closer in the future.
My take: The Rockies love guys like this for the bullpen. But, whether starter or reliever, Coors Field can eat pitchers up. Locey’s sharp slider may earn him a back of the pen role one day.
23. Mateo Gil, SS
Highest Level: A+
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Gil has been improving every year since. He’s got excellent range and athleticism to stick at shortstop long term. He’s got an accurate throw, which stems from him being a closer in high school. With his bat Gil has been really good. Since being drafted, Gil has moved from Rookie up to A+, he’s registered 8 home runs, 50 RBI in 381 AB. As he matures he should get into some more power.
My take: Gil could replace Trevor Story as shortstop down the road if he develops his power and hit tool. Or not. But his development might be key to this deal.
Finally, Rockies fans will be justifiably upset with the return for their star player. General Manager Jeff Bridich will be flayed in the press and on sports talk radio. But he got out of $149 million owed to Arenado going forward, and that is what owner Dick Monfort most desired. It would have been nice if Colorado got one of the Cardinals’ top prospects but now the verdict on this trade awaits the development of these three prospects.