Fall 2012 PuRPs List: #20-16

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We continue to unveil the Fall 2012 PuRPs list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects.

It's time for the third installment of the Fall 2012 PuRPs list. As a reminder, 23 ballots were cast in this edition of the PuRPs poll, with 30 points being granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on 8 ballots, his vote totals were modified on a sliding scale to avoid an individual ballot having too much say over the community forecast -- but none of the above players had that problem, as all 30 players on the PuRPs list were named on at least 8 ballots.

For each player on the PuRPs list, I've included a link to their stats (via Baseball-Reference), their relevant "tool score indicators" compared to their league on a 1-100 scouting scale (which is explained here) per the wonderful Baseball Cube, their contract status (via Rockies Roster), their probable MLB ETA (assuming they do make the Show), and a note on their 2012 season to date. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put them on my personal ballot.

Remember that neither the tool scores nor the statistics pages are the end-all be-all when evaluating these players. Context is hugely important (such as the player's age relative to the league's average or the league average offensive numbers), as is the fact that injuries to prospects can affect both their tools and their stats.

Here are PuRPs 20-16:

20. Harold Riggins (188 points, 18 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 21 -- High Ballot 14, Mode (most common when placed) Ballot 16, 21, 25

Riggins, a 22 year-old first baseman who played at Low A Asheville, couldn't have done too much more in 2012. After all, he hit .302/.388/.546 with 19 HR in 87 games. He's unquestionably the top pure 1st base prospect that the Rockies have in their system.

Unfortunately, what keeps him at #20 on this list (and kept him off of my ballot altogether) is the fact that he is a first baseman, plus he's a little old for low A and strikes out at a high clip. With that little defensive utility, mashing left and right is required to maintain prospect status. That said, Riggins could certainly prove me wrong by continuing to crush the ball all the way to the majors a la Ryan Howard. Just remember that it's very unlikely.

Hit Tools

Speed
25
Contact
13
Patience
77
Batting
72
Power
88

Contract Status: 2011 7th Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2015

19. Joe Gardner (203 points, 19 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 22 -- High Ballot 11, Mode Ballot 14, 19, 23

Gardner, a 24 year-old RHP who pitched for AA Tulsa, is still probably best known as the third best pitching prospect in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. His ground ball tendencies also draw immediate comparisons to former Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook (GB/FB ratio was 2:1 this year). Unfortunately, like Cook, Gardner has a sub-par K rate (6.4 K/9) despite being able to get up into the mid 90s with his fastball.

In a repeat year at Tulsa, Gardner had a decent stat line (3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP), but it wasn't good enough for a mid-season promotion to AAA. In order for Gardner to be successful, he has to generate more strikeouts while maintaining his ground-ball tendencies. In all, Gardner is a polished prospect with a good sinker that is relatively close to the big leagues, which is why he sneaked onto my list at 30 despite his age and low K rate. With the Rockies badly needing some pitching depth next season, Gardner will be a AAA arm hoping for a cup of coffee.

Pitch Tools

Control
46
K-Rating
49
Efficiency
64
vsPower
78

Contract Status: 2011 Trade, Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2013

18. Cristhian Adames (227 points, 16 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 20 -- High Ballot 9, Mode Ballot 16

Adames, a 21 year-old shortstop for High A Modesto this year, has never been mistaken for a slugger. After all, his career hitting line is .272/.349/.361. There are two big reasons why Adames rates so highly on this list (and even more highly on my ballot at #9): his great defense at a premium position and his good year at Modesto (.280/.352/.378) despite being young for the league (he played half of the season at age 20).

Baseball America ranked Adames as being the best defensive infielder in Colorado's system, and if he continues to hold his own at the plate, a major league career as a utility player is a near certainty. It's easy to look at Adames and see Jonny Herrera. It's also easy to forget that Herrera has been in the league for several years now -- and that Adames is younger with a better batting line than Herrera at this point in his career. If Adames does develop some power, he's a legitimate top 5 prospect in this system.

Hit Tools

Speed
38
Contact
72
Patience
63
Batting
61
Power
25

Contract Status: 2008 FA (DR), Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014

17. Wilfredo Rodriguez (240 points, 21 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 7, Mode Ballot (6 tied)

Rodriguez, a 18 year-old catcher at rookie level Grand Junction, has been the most pleasant surprise of the 2012 draft class thus far for me. The Puerto Rican hit .319/.370/.452 in 183 PAs as a very young player in the Pioneer League. He's also received good reviews so far for his ability behind the plate, which is why he was so well thought of by the electorate (I placed him 14th on my ballot).

The only limiting factors for Rodriguez at this point are his lower draft position and the small sample size. If he continues to post these numbers next year (at either Tri-City or Asheville), Rodriguez will be on the fringes of the top ten in the system.

Hit Tools

Speed
19
Contact
90
Patience
34
Batting
83
Power
45

Contract Status: 2012 7th Round, Not Rule 5 eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2017

16. Rosell Herrera (252 points, 22 ballots) -- Spring 2012 Ranking: 16 -- High Ballot 13, Mode Ballot 17

Of all the great Latin American players that have come through Colorado's system, the 19 year-old Herrera, a switch hitting SS/3B who split time at Low A Asheville and short season Tri-City this year, received the largest signing bonus ($550,000) as a 16 year-old. The toolsy Herrera showed quite a bit of this promise last year, hitting .284/.361/.449 as an 18 year-old in the Pioneer League. Keith Law (ESPN Insider) named him as the Rockies' top sleeper prospect going into 2012.

Unfortunately, that hit tool didn't quite manifest itself in Low A, as Herrera limped to a .202/.271/.272 line in part time duty in the crowded Asheville infield before being demoted to Tri City and redeeming himself somewhat (.284/.332/.351). Obviously, this wasn't the sophomore season Rockies fans had in mind for Herrera, but it's important to remember that the guy is just 19 with plenty of room to mature on and off the field. I put Herrera at 17 on my ballot, as befits his youth and potential. If the results follow, he shoots into the top 10 easily.

Hit Tools

Speed
74
Contact
53
Patience
52
Batting
48
Power
26

Contract Status: 2009 FA (DR), Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2016

Stay tuned for more installments of the 2012 Fall PuRPs List in the coming days!

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