Writing up the Rockies over the past few years, I had to stretch at times to find ten names for a fantasy-focused list, partially because there’s no room for pitchers here. The situation has changed. Colorado’s is still not a deep system, but it’s easy enough to find ten guys worth rostering in a dynasty league.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA
1. OF Zac Veen | 20 | A | 2024
Veen fell to the 9th pick in the 2020 draft despite being a near-consensus top-three talent in the class. That’s baseball these days. The worst thing you can do is pay good players a lot of money, especially in the draft, so nobody wants to pick the best prospects, as a general rule.
Here’s where the theory of Rockies gonna Rocky finally works in their favor. They don’t even know about the draft-pool budget stuff. Don’t ask. When it’s their turn, they just pick the best player on their board. Bam! Old school is the gold school! And here was a case where it would’ve been tough for their board to be wrong, so high were the scouting grades on Veen—a true plus-everything talent with huge power and a natural uppercut to access it.
It wouldn’t be fair to invoke the name of Kid Griffey, but the ease of access between Veen and his power reminds me first of Griffey. People comped Veen to Christian Yelich a lot during draft season because he was the best player at that time and also he is, let’s say, similar in appearance, but those players aren’t like entities in many ways. Yelich was a gangly, contact-first guy who hit a million ground balls and still does, even as he learned to add enough loft in Milwaukee to catch a few more buzzes. Veen in a muscular masher who’s already adept at swinging for the fences (and the fences behind the fences). In 106 games this year, Veen slashed .301/.399/.501 with 15 HR and 36 SB. Tough to fathom why he spent all season in Low A.
2. 3B Elehuris Montero | 23 | AAA | 2022
Montero’s emergence provides the Rockies an Ace in the hole where justifying the Nolan Arenado is concerned. Arenado’s full value is tough to calculate in the pitches and outs he saves a pitching staff across a season, but his .312 OBP in 2021 is a pretty concrete piece of the evaluation. But this wasn’t meant to be a blurb about Arenado. We’re here to talk about Elehuris Montero, who features a cool name and smooth swing for a large man. At 6’3” 235 lbs, Montero brings easy plus power and hit 28 HR in 120 games across two levels, reducing his strikeout rate throughout the year, culminating in a tidy 16.5 % K-rate in 28 AAA games.
3. OF Benny Montgomery | 19 | CPX | 2025
I’m gonna say the name Eric Davis here, but I’m talking more about player type than expectations people should have for Benny Montgomery–a tall (6’4”) lithe (200 lb) top-of-the-scale athlete who could unleash hell on the basepaths in his first full season at A ball in 2022. Takes the dude about three steps to steal second, and with the three-throws-over rule juicing the numbers, Montgomery’s statline figures to pop off the screen. He was the 8th overall pick in the 2021 draft and got busy in the complex league right away, swiping five bags in 14 games with a .340/.404/.383 slash line. His batting average will always be a little higher than his skill level in the box thanks to the double-plus wheels, but there’s plenty of upside here for our game even if Montgomery doesn’t work his way toward a more natural cut with some torque and loft.
4. SS Ezequiel Tovar | 20 | A+ | 2024
He’s listed at 6’162 lbs but looks a little thicker than that. Tovar didn’t hit well in his month at High-A, but it was late in the season, he still didn’t strike out much (13.3 K%), and he was 3.8 years younger than the average at the level. That’s pretty good for a guy’s first season as a full-time right handed hitter. Ditching his left-handed swing seems to have paid off for Tovar, who’s double-plus defense makes him the team’s likely long-term future at shortstop. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a big step forward in the stat sheet if Tovar can add a little strength this off-season.
5. SS Adael Amador | 18 | CPX | 2025
The team’s big prize of the 2020 international signing period at $1.5 million, Amador shined in his pro debut, slashing .299/.394/.445 with 4 HR and 10 SB in 47 complex league games. The switch hitter is listed at 6’ 160 lbs but probably weighs 15 pounds more than that from what little video I’ve seen. He’s always been a shortstop, even on loaded Dominican tournament teams, and has the hands to stay there even if he loses a step or two.
6. OF Brenton Doyle | 23 | A+ | 2023
O’Doyle rules, but Brenton was closer to good than great in 2021, slashing .279/.336/.454 with 16 HR and 21 SB in 97 games for High-A Spokane. Thing is, that would be an incredible season in rotisserie leagues, and Doyle is starting to feel underrated to me, even as he’s a bit old for his level and stuck on a team that rarely turns over a full-time role to its medium-talent prospects. He’s 6’3” 200 lbs and a perfect fit for the outfield profile this front-office has been hunting: big dudes with power, plus speed to cover the big outfield and just enough contact skills to hold a gig.
7. 3B Colton Welker | 24 | MLB | 2021
I don’t really know what’s going on with Colton Welker, but I’m guessing he’s hard at work on his swing decisions. He’s gone from a high-walk guy to a high-contact guy to a high-walk guy again, and I think he’ll settle in somewhere in between. All hitters need to find that happy balance of just how frequently to swing, and after a tough season (.313 OBP) at AA in 2019, Welker seems to have leveled out, especially during a nice (.378 OBP) 23 game stretch at AAA in 2021. His big league month (19 games) went about as poorly as those can go (.189/.250/.216) but he’ll be with the club in spring training fighting for his spot, and I won’t be surprised if he’s in the lineup an awful lot this season.
8. 3B Warming Bernabel | 19 | A | 2025
Sounds like an indie flick from the late nineties about the big-city awakening of a teenager named Bernabel. Warming was closer to melting across 22 games in the complex league, slashing .432/.453/.743 with 6 HR and 5 SB. A big signing (900K) in the 2018-19 international class, Bernabel is a 6’180 lb righty with the obvious tools to impact our game. He struggled in 21 games at A-league Fresno, slashing .205/.287/.313, which might help keep Bernabel under your league’s radar. He’s a buy for me.
9. 1B Michael Toglia | 23 | AA | 2022
In any other system, I’d put Toglia’s ETA at 2023, but the Rockies have their own thing going. I’m not certain they’d let Toglia into the big leagues if he earned it this season, but I think his natural path points to a September call-up, and the Rockies could stand to give their fans some reasons to turn out. Toglia’s no superstar-in-waiting, but 6’5” 226 lb switch hitter presents a big figure and could serve as a kind of bridge between the last decent team and the next one. He didn’t play well in AA, slashing .217/.331/.406 in 41 games, so that’s probably where he’ll open the season.
10. OF Ryan Vilade | 23 | MLB | 2021
I’m leaving guys off the list! I can hardly believe it! RHP Chris McMahon and C Drew Romo both have a good case to be here, but utility man Ryan Vilade is so close he could be functional in deep leagues this year with something like a regular role. Whether or not he can earn one is mostly up to him at this point, I suspect. The 6’2” 226 lb former shortstop could even make a run at that spot if the team was feeling frisky. He jumped AA in 2020 and held his own at AAA in 2021, slashing .284/.339/.410 with 7 HR and 10 SB in 117 games. That’s not what you’d want on your fantasy teams, but it’s not so bad in context of a guy who hadn’t played in 18 months and jumped a level. If Vilade has a hot streak at any point in 2022, he’s an add-first, ask-questions-later type of asset.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Razzball.
Good writeup, 2 questions:
1. Any concern on the hitch in Montgomery’s swing? ( I guess if he’s hitting .340 it’s not hurting him too much so far.)
2. What happened to Vilade’s power?
Thanks Itch. I have a first-year player draft coming up, 9th pick, and no idea who will fall to me.
Any updates on who you’re targeting? Are you still feeling Frelick > Cowser and both before Montgomery?
Yeah that’s probably right. Jay Allen would be in the mix for me too at 9. Seiya Suzuki too, depending on league rules. If he’s eligible, he’s got a claim for the top spot.
Suzuki won’t be eligible until he signs but I’ll be on him when the time comes.
Those early numbers from Allen are huge! He has my attention. Cheers
The offense of Tovar is quite worrisome considering how bad he was and that he’s considered a defensive plus-plus shortstop. I know that means playing time, but in our game playing time means nothing if you can’t hit. What do you see as Tovar’s offensive potential, ceiling and floor?
He was really good in 72 A ball games. I’d take a lot more from that than one tough month at a new level. Plus hit plus speed enough power to matter is the ceiling. Maybe even plus power considering the high contact rate and developing man-strength.
Sounds like you really like him. From what I can tell, he’s still kind of an unheard of. Should definitely keep tabs on him. Thanks!
If nothing else, I’m looking forward to spoonerism with Zac Veen, a booster in the arm to any farm system
If only spoonerisms could save us . . .
They could at least boost morale, I guess.
They finally paid Ian Desmond (millions)to go away. I for sure thought he would replace Story as starting SS. Rodgers seems too young yet.
What a crazy team! Seems they run it like those AFK fantasy managers after the first month of the season. I’m pretty sure they are going to sign Pujols or something.
Yeah that Desmond signing might be the worst of that decade. Literally the highest pick (11th) a team could surrender in literally the last year teams had to forfeit their 1st for big money signings.
Good call. Plenty of room for Pujols if they get the DH : )
Don’t even tempt the Rockies with Pujols, cause they WILL do it!
One word: leadership : )