We’ve survived the scorching Arizona desert. Now we trek up into the Rocky Mountains to seek out the infamous…er…Rockies. Grab a cold Coors Light and make sure your mountains are blue. Honestly, does anybody let a beer sit around long enough for it to get warm? If so, why do you do that? Drink the damn thing. Speaking of blue, the Rockies are a great team to invest in if you like getting a case of blue balls from your prospects. They’re so sexy and ya just know they’re going to hit in that park. This is gonna be your year! Wait…they’re all still in Triple-A. Aaargh!
1. Brendan Rodgers, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019
Rodgers could be in a tier of his own here since he’s likely a top 20ish prospect on most fantasy lists (he ranked 12th on mine). He reached Triple-A in 2018 but spent most of the year in Double-A. That could mean that we don’t see him in the majors until late summer. Grey went into detail about Rodgers’s 2019 fantasy value earlier this offseason. Regardless, he’s a plus hit/power combo that should make solid contributions just about everywhere but steals.
2. Garrett Hampson, 2B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Another spec that went under the Grey spotlight this offseason is Hampson. He’s a lot closer to actually making the Opening Day roster than Rodgers, but still has the likes of McMahon, Valaika, etc. to duke it out with this spring. Hampson is a different cat than Rodgers – double-plus speed, less power. He can hit though (.308 with a 10 BB% and 16 K% between AA and AAA in 2018) and would make a nice table setter at the top of a lineup. I wouldn’t go crazy and reach for him in early drafts, but I’d definitely be paying attention to any news out of Rockies camp. It reminds me of Kingery last year, in that the playing time might not be totally clear until late in the offseason.
3. Tyler Nevin, 1B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2020
At 21, Nevin spent the entire 2018 season at High-A, where he hit .328 with 13 homers. He’s a former first-round pick out of high school, and it seems as though he’s starting to bloom. Next year should be a great litmus test as he’ll face better quality arms in Double and possibly Triple-A, but I’m confident he’ll keep it going. He’s patient enough (8% walk rate) and there’s enough raw power to hit 20+ homers.
4. Colton Welker, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2020
Welker is really similar to Nevin – same level, same scouting grades, even basically the same stats. I guess the only tangible difference here is that while Nevin has already moved across the diamond, Welker is more likely to stay put as a third baseman. Take your pick of the two.
5. Grant Lavigne, 1B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2022
Lavigne went 42nd overall in the 2018 draft. He’s a plus-power hitting first baseman from the left side and he should contribute in both power and average if/when he makes it to the majors. In first-year player drafts, I’d snag him in the late-second/early-third round. His pro debut went about as well as you could ask for – hitting .350 with six homers in 258 rookie league plate appearances.
6. Ryan Vilade, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2021
Vilade can hit for both power and average, and he’s shown patience so far in his career. In 2018 he spent the entire campaign at Single-A, where he hit .274 with five homers and 17 steals and a 9% walk rate. His speed grades don’t support him as a prolific base-stealer, so I’d expect the homers to rise and the steals to fall as we progress from here. I’m, certainly no fortune-teller, but Vilade seems like a future super utility to me.
7. Riley Pint, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2020
Pint went 4th overall a few years ago, but 2018 was a complete bust thanks to injuries. He should return to the mound with no issues this season, and the pure stuff is still there (including a heater that touches triple digits), but obviously some of the shine is off the…I don’t know…a thing that is supposed to be shiny. I’ve had a few too many Coors Lights at this point in the post. Pint’s your typical high-risk/high-reward play.
8. Ryan Rolison, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2021
The Rockies selected Rolison 22nd overall in the 2018 draft. He’s a good bet to remain a starter and the nice thing about college arms is you don’t have to wait around as long for them to reach the majors. He threw about 30 innings in his pro debut – fanning 34 and walking just eight. He’s safer than Pint, but doesn’t have the flashy stuff. His best offering is a plus curve.
9. Peter Lambert, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019
Lambert split 148 innings of work between Double and Triple-A in 2018. He’s not a strikeout machine, but he has good control and his fastball, curve, and slider are all above-average. Low-ceiling…high floor, with a chance to throw some innings for the Rockies this summer.
10. Sam Hilliard, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
A right fielder with decent power and a plus arm, Hilliard also has some major blemishes. He struck out at a 30% clip in Double-A as a 24-year-old and only hit six homers in 484 plate appearances. I guess he could get a cup of coffee or two in the next few years and run into some at Coors Field, but I don’t see any reason to sweat him.