Spring is over in 5 days so, it's high time that I began revealing the Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list for Spring 2011, as voted on right before the June draft. I will reveal these prospects five at a time to give people who aren't in the know a little bit more of information on them. I'll reveal the list a little bit more each day over the next week.
31 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 11 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 14 ballots. The first tiebreaker goes to the player who was ranked on the most ballots, then to the one who was ranked highest on an individual PuRPs ballot (though that wasn't a problem on this list).
In all, 62 players received at least one vote for this PuRPs list, 54 got mentioned on multiple ballots, 34 were named on at least 11 ballots (and therefore were unmodified), and 23 were named on at least 20 ballots, showing that the top 80% of the list was more or less agreed upon by the community, if not necessarily the order. Here is a link to the polling thread.
All prospects who retained their Rookie of the Year eligibility (less than 130 ABs, 50 IP, and 45 days on the active roster) were eligible for selection on this list. Among last fall's list, Wilin Rosario (3), Alex White (6), and Jordan Pacheco (24) exhausted their eligibility, while Albert Campos (23) is no longer with the organization.
More discussion on the voting will be included in the final installment of this series, but here are the five players who came closest to inclusion on the Spring 2012 PuRPs List:
35. Matt McBride (45.8 points, 7 ballots), Trade 2011, UT at Colorado Springs (27)
34. Thomas Field (83 points, 11 ballots), 2008 24th round, 2B at Colorado Springs (25)
33. Nick Schmidt (90 points, 15 ballots), Trade 2011, LHP at Tulsa (26)
32. Coty Woods (99 points, 18 ballots), 2009 33rd round, LHP at Tulsa (24)
31. Carl Thomore (101 points, 17 ballots), 2011 2nd round, OF at Grand Junction (19)
With the very large exception of Thomore (who represents a very raw, high ceiling prospect in rookie ball), this is a group of older players with limited ceilings but who are close to being MLB contributors if called upon. On my personal list, I had Field (who was 20th on the list last fall) at 23 and Thomore at 28. Two players from last fall's honorable mention list made their way into this edition of the PuRPs list -- of the 5, Thomore has the best chance to get on the list in 3 months.
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 the first members of the Spring 2012 PuRPs List:
30. Rob Scahill (121 points, 17 ballots) -- Fall 2011 Ranking: NR -- High ballot 11, Mode (most common when placed) ballot 26
Scahill, a 25 year old RHP pitching for the AAA Sky Sox, doesn't have great numbers this year (3-8, 5.94 ERA) but in Colorado Springs that's pretty rare anyway. Then again, he's also posted a 10.6 K/9 ratio in the PCL. There's a reason that Scahill was chosen among Colorado's contingent in the 2011 Arizona Fall League, after all. Prospect maven John Sickels ranked Scahill 19th in the Rockies' system, saying this of Scahill:
Inning-eater with a nice sinker, good slider, chance to surprise in 2012 if he can improve his command.
Given his advanced level, Scahill could be in line for a spot start as soon as this year, though if he does ever contribute to the Rockies it might be as a reliever. I had Scahill 25th on my PuRPs ballot.
Contract Status: 2008 9th round, Rule 5 draft eligible after 2012, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2012 to 2013
29. Parker Frazier (125 points, 16 ballots) -- Fall 2011 Ranking: NR -- High ballot 11, Mode ballot 26 (yes, the same as Scahill)
Frazier, a 23 year-old RHP at Tulsa, is another pitcher that the Rockies put on their 2011 AFL roster. He's more of a finesse pitcher than Scahill, posting only a 4.5 K/9 ratio, though his line so far at an age-appropriate level is decent (2-7, 4.19 ERA, 2.5 BB/9). I personally wouldn't take him over Scahill, ranking him 34th on my ballot, but Frazier could have a MLB future as a spot starter a year or two down the line.
Contract Status: 2007 8th round, Rule 5 draft eligible after 2012, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2013 to 2014
28. Dillon Thomas (133 points, 21 ballots) -- Fall 2011 Ranking: HM -- High ballot 14, Mode ballot 24
Thomas, a 19 year-old lefty outfielder who will be playing for short-season Tri-City this year, managed to make it onto this list without having a single at-bat in 2012 so far. I always group Thomas (the Rockies' 4th round pick in 2011) with Thomore (2nd round) as both are toolsy but raw young outfield prospects.
Thomas did more in his cameo at Casper last season (.328/.361/.414) which is likely why he made the list (Thomas was 28th on my ballot) and Thomore (27th) didn't. They'll separate this year, with Thomore staying in rookie ball. I'm excited to see how both do in their 2nd pro seasons -- both have the potential to move up this list quickly with successful campaigns.
Hit Tools -- none available
Contract Status: 2011 4th round, Not Rule 5 draft eligible, 3 options remaining
27. Jayson Aquino (134 points, 14 ballots) -- Fall 2011 Ranking: 29 -- High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 28
Aquino, a 19 year-old LHP, is spending his 3rd season in the Dominican Summer League -- though I sure can't figure out why. After all, he's had a 1.02 ERA in his age 17 season and he followed it up with a 1.30 ERA the next year. Counting a 0.69 ERA so far this year, Aquino has a career line of 14-5, 1.15 ERA, 0.80 WHIP over 164 innings.
Granted, offense is suppressed somewhat in the DSL, but those numbers are ridiculous! That's why it's so strange that Aquino is still there -- which kept me from placing him higher than 26th on my ballot. I'm anxiously awaiting his Stateside debut, whenever it occurs.
Pitch Tools -- none available
Contract Status: 2010 Amateur Free Agent (DR), Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2017
26. Ben Paulsen (142 points, 14 ballots) -- Fall 2011 Ranking: 26 -- High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 12
Paulsen, a 24 year-old lefty first baseman at Tulsa, was another member of the 2011 AFL contingent, though I'm not sure why (he hit .241/.296/.413 last year). Reports are that his defense is above average, but his offensive production (.274/.345/,419) has been far below where you'd like to see a 24 year-old first base prospect in AA (though it was good enough for him to be named a Texas League All-Star). It's possible that he becomes a contributor at the MLB level, but it isn't likely.
To be honest, I didn't even have Paulsen in my top 40 prospects despite his relative proximity to the big leagues, so there's obviously a pretty big disconnect between myself and the electorate who voted him onto this list.
Contract Status: 2009 3rd round, Rule 5 Eligible After 2012, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2014
Stay tuned for more installments of the 2012 Spring PuRPs List in the near future!