Over the last 7 years, some of the Colorado Rockies top prospects have made a big impact when called up to the Show, (2013-Nolan Arenado, 2009-Dexter Fowler, 2007-Troy Tulowitzki). The 2014 list of top prospects in the Rockies organization figures to be no different, as the talent and potential of each could have an impact on the team if not this year, in the next few years to come. Here is our list of the top 10 Rockies prospects within the organization.
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1. Jonathan Gray RHP
Gray was the 3rd overall pick of the 2012 draft out of Oklahoma University, where in his senior season pitched in 15 games, had 127 Strikeouts, an ERA of 1.55 in 110 IP. In his short time in the minors in 2013 at Grand Junction and Modesto, Gray posted a 4-0 record with a 1.93 ERA in 9 games, had 51 Strikeouts in 37.1 IP and an Avg against of .189. Jonathan has a 3 pitch repertoire currently with a mid to upper 90’s fastball, slider and a changeup. Everything is setup from the dominant fastball and his command of the strike zone improved throughout last year. With the Rockies starting rotation needing some dominant arms to solidify itself in 2014, Gray could be considered for a spot later in the season if his progress continues in the minors. (The organization’s ETA on Gray for the majors at the end of last year was 2016)
2. Eddie Butler RHP
Butler is an undersized pitcher that packs a punch with his fastball that can reach 97 MPH and similar to Gray he can follow it up with a nasty slider and changeup. Eddie has moved up the list quickly because of his moves up the organization in the minors last year where he started in Asheville and ended up in AA Tulsa. His combined stats with 3 teams were a 9-5 record, 1.80 ERA in 28 games, 143 K’s in 149.2 IP and a .180 Avg against. Currently Butler is a starter, but as hard a thrower as he is, the Rockies are eyeing him for a bullpen spot. We’ll keep a close eye on his progress this year. (The organization’s ETA on Butler for the majors at the end of last year was 2015)
3. Rosell Herrera SS/3B
Herrera has been a mixed bag in the minors over the last couple years, stuggling a bit in 2011, then playing more consistently on offense and defense in 2012 alongside another prospect Trevor Story in Asheville. Rosell has great range as a defender at shortstop and has developed some pop in his bat from both sides of the plate. In Asheville he hit 16 HR, had 76 RBI, .343 Avg and .419 OBP in 126 Games. He also added some speed to the team with 21 SB. Herrera will get a chance to show the Rockies what he can bring to the table at spring training this year, although the organization may not see him up with them on a permanent basis until 2016.
4. Kyle Parker OF
Parker is a tremendous athlete (former Clemson QB and OF) that has honed his skills over the last few years in the minors and is making his climb toward the majors. Kyle has learned to be selective in his pitch selection which puts him in favorable counts and allows him to turn on his pitch. Parker is know for his power with Tulsa had 23HR and 74 RBI, a .288 Avg in 123 Games and an OBP of .345. He is expected to start the season in AAA Colorado Springs but will have a chance at Rockies spring training to show that he has the stuff to start with the big team in April.
5. Chad Bettis RHP
With the Rockies woes towards the back of their starting rotation in 2013, Chad Bettis got an opportunity with the big club after starting the year off in Tulsa. His stats in Tulsa were 3-4, 3.71 ERA in 12 Games, 68 K’s in 63 IP. While in Colorado he went 1-3 with a 5.64 ERA in 16 Games( 8GS), 30 K’s in 44.2 IP. Bettis has an above average fastball and slider but his changeup is what is keeping hitters off balance. Bettis should earn a spot on the 2014 Rockies roster although it could be as a reliever if the Rockies can find a few consistent starters in spring training.
6. David Dahl OF
Dahl was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 baseball draft and has excited the Rockies with all the tools and potential he can bring to the table. He dominated the Pioneer league and won MVP honors leading the league in batting average, total bases and OPS. He had a short stint at Asheville last year as well playing only 10 games but hit .275 with 7 RBIs. Scouts have the confidence Dahl will show more pop in his bat in the future and can be a base thief because of his solid running skills, not to mention his defense is solid with a strong outfield arm. David should make further progress in the minors this year and he may have a chance with the Rockies come next year.
7. Tyler Anderson LHP
The Rockies are very high on Tyler Anderson because of his 4 pitch repertoire and location of pitches around the plate. In Tri-City and Modesto, Tyler went 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 16 games, as well as 76 Ks in 89.2 IP. His 4 pitches include an above average fastball, a changeup with sinking action and a solid curve and slider. Anderson’s deceptive delivery along with being a lefty makes him tough to hit. The Rockies could find a spot for Anderson at some point this year if his progress continues.
8. Trevor Story SS/3B
2012 was a great year for Trevor with Asheville as the team won the South Atlantic league title and was one of the most talented players in the league as a teenager. Last year in Modesto, Story has some mixed results as the stats may indicate (12 HR, 65 RBI, .233 Avg 130 Games, .305 OBP 23 SB) but the Rockies still see a bright future for him. Trevor is a solid defender with an above average arm, has some power in his bat and can go to the opposite field. His intangible quality though is being a leader on the field. If Troy Tulowitzki wasn’t the Rockies SS, he would get more of a look this year, but being considered at 2B or 3B isn’t out of the question.
9. Tom Murphy C
Murphy is currently the top catching prospect in the Rockies organization although he is rough around the edges. Defensively he has a strong arm but needs to refine his motion to throw out base stealers and offensively he has good power but has a tendency to strikeout too much. His stats combined at Asheville and Tulsa were 22 HR, 83 RBI with a .289 Avg in 100 Games and a.376 OBP. With Wilin Rosario growing at the major league level, we’ll see if the Rockies give Murphy a look this year or not.
10. Tim Wheeler OF
Wheeler should be on the cusp of making the Rockies this year in spring training after following up a nice year in Colorado Springs for the AAA Sky Sox. Tim has good bad speed and has shown some power particularly in 2012 but last year it dropped off some based on these stats (5 HR, 42 RBI with a .262 Avg in 109 games with a OBP of .330) Wheeler was limited last year because he was coming off a broken hamate bone, so we could see improvement when he is at 100%. There is a logjam of talented OF’s trying to make the Rockies in spring training, but Wheeler will get a chance.