Colorado Rockies Midseason Top 50 Prospects

The Colorado Rockies minor league system has been thinned by July trades for help for the big-league club. So long Forrest Wall (#12 in January) and Chad Spanberger (#20), two rising prospects. But that just makes room for a couple of guys who have impressed this summer that weren’t on the list. 1B Ryan McMahon (#2 in January) and catcher Tom Murphy (#9 in January) have also graduated from this list after finally sticking with the Rockies this season. (Preseason ranks in parentheses)

Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster

Tier 1:
1. Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS (1)
Age: 21 (DOB: August 9, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: AAA
Rodgers remains the consensus top prospect for the Rockies and one of the best prospects in the minor leagues. But he hasn’t rocketed up the minors like some prominent top prospects. He had 17 homers, 62 RBI, 12 stolen bases and a slash line of .272/.337/.485 in 95 games this season at AA Hartford. He was promoted to AAA Albuquerque on July 29. Will he spend any time this season in Denver?

Tier 2:

2. Garrett Hampson, 2B/SS (7)
Age: 23 (DOB: 10/10/1994)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Drafted in the third round in 2016 from Long Beach State, Hampson had a solid season at High A Lancaster in 2017 and even better start at AA Hartford to begin 2018. So good, in fact, he was promoted to the Rockies in July after just weeks at AAA Albuquerque. The speedster stole just a single base in the bigs before being returned to AAA, but showed off his speed on the base paths. He has a chance to be special.

3. Colton Welker, 3B (3)
Age: 20 (DOB: October 9, 1997)
Highest 2018 level: Advanced-A
Welker has 11 HR, 66 RBI and a .317 BA at Lancaster so far this summer. He has the hit tool.

4. Ryan Vilade, SS (4)
Age: 19 (DOB: February 18, 1999)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Drafted in the second round in 2017 out of high school in Stillwater, OK, he has a .348 OBP and 14 steals at Asheville. The power will come as the best 19-year-old in the Rockies system matures.

5. Peter Lambert, RHP (10)
Age: 21 (DOB: April 18, 1997)
Highest 2018 level: AAA
Lambert was 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA at AA Hartford, earning a quick promotion to Albuquerque, where he has pitched well in a hitter-friendly league. He has four solid pitches and could help the Rockies to the playoffs at season’s end.

6. Ryan Rolison, LHP (UR)
Age: 21 (DOB: 07/11/1997)
Highest 2018 level: Rookie
Drafted this spring out of the University of Mississippi, where he showed a power fastball and excellent curve. Assigned to Grand Junction, where he has 17 strikeouts in 13 innings thus far with a WHIP of 0.92.

Tier 3:
7. Sam Hilliard, RF (8)
Age: 24 (DOB: February 21, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
A good year, not a great year so far: 7 HR, 32 RBI, 21 stolen bases.

8. Riley Pint, RHP (6)
Age: 20 (November 6, 1997)
Highest 2018 level: AA
A first-round draft pick in 2016 out of high school in Overland Park, KS, Pint has underperformed. Injured in his first start at Asheville this year with forearm stiffness then sidelined with an oblique strain. The Rockies still believe, but his slide down this list may be picking up speed.

9. Tyler Nevin, 3B (5)
Age: 21 (DOB: May 29, 1997)
Highest 2018 level: High-A
He has 9 homers, 47 runs batted in and a .321 average at Lancaster this summer.

10. Brian Mundell, 1B (11)
Age: 24 (DOB: February 28, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Mundell is still hitting, but not as well at Hartford as at previous levels.

11. Grant Lavigne, 1B (UR)
Age: 18 (DOB: August 27, 1999)
Highest 2018 level: Rookie
The 6-4, 220-pound lefty hitting first baseman was drafted out of high school in New Hampshire this year and is ripping at Grand Junction. He’s doing so well the Rockies were able to trade prospect first baseman Chad Spanberger to Toronto.

12. Yency Almonte, RHP (13)
Age: 24 (DOB: June 4, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Almonte has been promoted to the Rockies but has seen limited action: a 1.29 ERA in six games.

13. Sam Howard, LHP (14)
Age: 25 (DOB: March 5, 1993)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Howard also has seen his first major-league action this summer even though his performance has been uneven in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

14. Ryan Castellani, RHP (15)
Age: 22 (DOB: April 1, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Has an ERA approaching 6 at AA Hartford in 2018. Still work to do.

15. Terrin Vavra, SS (UR)
Age: 21 (DOB: May 12, 1997)
Highest 2018 level: Short-season
Drafted out of the University of Minnesota in 2018, he’s off to a good start at Boise.

16. Robert Tyler, RP (47)
Age: 23 (DOB: June 18, 1995)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
The supplemental first-round pick out of the University of Georgia made only five starts in his first two years in the system. This year, though, he has 52 strikeouts in 40 innings and eight saves in A ball after being converted to a closer. His fastball plays.

17. Roberto Ramos, 1B (UR)
Age: 23 (DOB: December 28, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
He exploded in 60 games at High A Lancaster and has slowed down a bit at AA Hartford but still: combined stats of 26 homers, 61 RBI and a .272 average.

Tier 4:

18. Jordan Patterson, 1B/OF (17)
Age: 26 (DOB: February 12, 1992)
Highest 2018 level: AAA
He has 19 homers and 59 runs batted in at AAA Albuquerque but can’t get a call to Denver. His time is now, or maybe not till September.

19. Ben Bowden, LHP (22)
Age: 23 (DOB: October 21, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: High-A
A second-round pick from Vanderbilt in 2016, Bowden was on the fast track to the Rockies’ bullpen when an injury put him on the shelf in spring 2017. This year he has 61 strikeouts in 38.2 innings coming out of the bullpens in Asheville and Lancaster.

20. Yonathan Daza, CF (23)
Age: 24 (DOB: February 28, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
The Venezuelan is hitting .306 at AA Hartford but has only four stolen bases this summer.

21. Bret Boswell, 2B (25)
Age: 23 (October 4, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: Short Season-A
An eighth-round draft pick out of the University of Texas in 2017, Boswell is having a solid season at Asheville.

22. Mike Tauchman, OF (26)
Age: 27 (DOB: December 3, 1990)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Tauchman tears up AAA but falls short when called up to the Rockies. A Four-A player or major league reserve?

23. Noel Cuevas, OF (27)
Age: 26 (DOB: October 2, 1991)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Cuevas performed well enough as a reserve outfielder in 136 at-bats with the Rockies this summer, but was sent back to Albuquerque in late July.

24. Daniel Montano, RF (19)
Age 19 (DOB: March 31, 1999)
Highest 2018 level: Rookie
The young Venezuelan is cutting down on strikeouts and ramping up stolen bases in Rookie ball this summer.

25. Jesus Tinoco, RHP (39)
Age: 23 (April 30, 1995)
Highest 2017 level: AA
The Venezuelan needs to lower an ERA over 5.

26. Dom Nunez, C (16)
Age: 23 (January 17, 1995)
Highest 2018 level: AA
A defense-first catcher, Nunez projects as a major-league backup.

27. Mike Nikorak, RHP (28)
Age: 21 (September 16, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Did not play
Nikorak is a first-round draft pick out of high school in Stroudsburg, PA in 2015. He pitched 15 games in Rookie ball over his first two years with poor results. He missed all of 2017 after Tommy John surgery and missed most of this season but made his first appearance Aug. 3 in Boise, pitching one inning.

28. Shael Mendoza, 2B (29)
Age: 21 (October 15, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
The Dominican Republic native is burning up the basepaths at A level Asheville this summer.

29. Justin Lawrence, RHP (33)
Age: 23 (November 25, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: High-A
Lawrence has struck out 50 in 44.1 innings out of the bullpen at Lancaster this summer.

30. Reid Humphreys, RHP (UR)
Age: 23 (November 21, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
He had 51 strikeouts in 34 innings in relief at Lancaster, earning a promotion to AA.

31. Josh Fuentes, 3B (50)
Age: 25 (February 19, 1993)
Highest 2018 level: AAA
Nolan Arenado’s cousin has 10 homers, 73 RBI and a .327 BA at AAA.

32. Harrison Musgrave, LHP (46)
Age: 26 (March 3, 1992)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Bounced back from an injury-plagued 2017 to earn a promotion to the bigs.

33. Sean Bouchard, 1B (21)
Age: 22 (May 16, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
Needs to show more power.

34. Shane Broyles, RHP (31)
Age: 26 (August 19, 1991)
Highest 2018 level: AAA
Closer hasn’t earned a promotion yet.

35. Jerry Vasto, LHP (38)
Age: 26 (February 12, 1992)
Highest 2018 level: MLB
Earned brief promotion to Denver after pitching well out of the bullpen in Albuquerque.

36. Mitch Horacek, LHP (37)
Age: 26 (December 3, 1991)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Reliever has 63 strikeouts in 51 innings at Hartford.

37. Rico Garcia, RHP (UR)
Age: 24 (January 10, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Where has this guy been? Lancaster and Hartford, where he has 134 strikeouts in 137 innings.

38. Javier Guevara, C (34)
Age: 20 (September 25, 1997)
Highest 2018 level: Rookie
Still developing with promise.

39. Willie Abreu, OF (42)
Age: 23 (March 21, 1995)
Highest 2018 level: High-A
Solid performance at Lancaster.

40. Tommy Doyle, RHP (48)
Age: 22 (May 1, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
Good stuff, 6-6, 235 pounds, showing results at Asheville.

41. Steven Linkous, OF (51)
Age: 23 (September 28, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
Good bat, good speed.

42. Chris Rabago, C (41)
Age: 25 (April 22, 1993)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Hitting has fallen off at Hartford.

43. Casey Golden, LF (UR)
Age: 23 (September 1, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
Big bat with 25 homers, 70 runs batted in.

44. Vince Fernandez, LF (UR)
Age: 23 (July 25, 1995)
Highest 2018 level: High-A
19 Hr, 66 RBI at Lancaster.

Tier 5:
45. Will Gaddis, RHP (45)
Age: 22 (March 12, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
Big arm. Waiting on results.

46. Daniel Jipping, LF (49)
Age: 22 (April 10, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Short Season-A
Big power.

47. Wes Rogers, LF (18)
Age: 24 (March 7, 1994)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Fast but not moving up quickly: 19 stolen bases in 80 games between Double-A and High-A.

48. Jack Wynkoop, LHP (36)
Age: 24 (November 2, 1993)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Not getting it done in Hartford.

49. Parker French, RHP (35)
Age: 25 (March 19, 1993)
Highest 2018 level: AA
Hasn’t performed at Hartford.

50. Ramon Marcelino, RF (30)
Age: 21 (December 23, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
Hasn’t performed at Lancaster this summer.

Area 51 – Tommy John. Breiling Eusebio, LHP (24)
Age: 21 (DOB: October 21, 1996)
Highest 2018 level: Low-A
May return in late 2019.

Minor League Affiliates
Triple-A: Albuquerque (Pacific Coast League)
Double-A: Hartford (Eastern League)
High-A: Lancaster (California League)
Low-A: Asheville (South Atlantic League)
Short Season A: Boise (Northwest League)
Rookie: Grand Junction (Pioneer League)

Featured image of Brian Mundell – photo credit Scott Greene (@Scotty_Ballgame)

Michael Parnell is a retired newspaper editor who covers the Colorado Rockies for Prospects1500. He is a longtime fantasy baseball fan who now focuses on his dynasty teams in Diamond Duos and Dynasty Sports Empire leagues. He recently relocated from Fernandina Beach, Fla., to Albuquerque, N.M. Follow him on Twitter @parnellmichael.

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