It's time for the Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects. 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.
In this edition of the PuRPs poll, 21 ballots were cast, with 30 points being granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on 7 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 7 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, and the 3rd is the mode ballot (only one tie was broken in this edition).
In all, 59 players received at least one vote for this PuRPs list, 51 got mentioned on multiple ballots, 33 were named on at least 7 ballots (and therefore were unmodified), and the top 25 were named on over 2/3 of ballots, though not necessarily in the same 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, only Nolan Arenado (2) exhausted his eligibility.
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 Summer 2013 PuRPs List, the Honorable Mention PuRPs:
35. Terry McClure (21.4 points, 5 ballots), 2013 8th round, OF at Grand Junction (17)
34. Julian Yan (30.9 points, 6 ballots), 2009 FA (DR), OF at Asheville (21)
33. Ryan Warner (41 points, 7 ballots), 2012 3rd round, RHP at Tri-City (19)
32. Tim Wheeler (45 points, 12 ballots), 2009 1st round, OF at Colorado Springs (25)
31. Joel Payamps (46 points, 7 ballots), 2010 FA (DR), RHP at Grand Junction (19)
Both Wheeler (12) and Yan (26) fell off the list from last fall, but I guess that's what happens when you bat .230/.313/.318 in AAA and .216/.290/.370 in low A respectively. The silver lining for those gentlemen is that it could be worse: after all, six other prospects fell from the list without garnering even this level of support. Three of them (Joe Gardner at 19, Sam Mende at 27, Parker Frazier at 28) didn't receive a single vote this time around.
Of the five HM PuRPs, Wheeler has the highest probability of playing in the major leagues by virtue of his proximity to the Show (and his first round pedigree), his speed, his defensive utility, and the fact that he's already on the 40 man roster (I ranked him 29th on my personal list). Still, Wheeler's vanishing power make the likelihood he will ever be an impact player very, very small.
Yan has the tools, enough for Baseball America to rank him as the 14th best prospect last year in the Pioneer League, but his floor is pretty low and the Rockies will have to make a decision about whether to place him on the 40 man roster after this year. Given the roster crunch Colorado faces, it's unlikely that he makes the cut.
The other three are more interesting to me but are all so far away that it's tough to get a feel of how they might fit into the system. Warner struggled in his first professional season with Grand Junction, but he's got the stuff to be an interesting piece.
McClure (whom you may remember from such articles as Here Comes the Metric System and Dial M for Murderousness) fits the bill of a prospect whose potential you can dream on but who is extremely far away from tapping into it. The 8th round pick in this year's draft (who signed for $250,000) is just beginning his professional career at Grand Junction.
Meanwhile, Payamps is one of a crop of exciting young Latin American arms (including our #29 PuRP) that is making their way into Colorado's lower stateside affiliates. Payamps, who signed for $465,000 in 2010, was named among the top prospects in the Dominican Summer League by Baseball America in 2011. If his stateside debut season proves successful, he'll shoot up this list in its next edition. It's a testament to the recently improved depth of the system that he didn't make my personal list this time out.
On to the top 30...
For each player on the PuRPs list, I've included a link to their stats (via Baseball-Reference), their contract status (via Rockies Roster), their probable MLB ETA (assuming they do make the Show), and a note on their 2013 season to date. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put them on my personal ballot.
Remember that the statistics pages are not 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 Summer 2013 PuRPs List:
30. Rob Scahill (53 points, 7 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 21 -- High Ballot 18, Mode (most common when placed) Ballot 21, 24, 28
Scahill, a 26 year old RHP currently pitching in the Rockies bullpen, is probably a familiar name to most of you. While he's technically still PuRPs eligible, Scahill doesn't feel like a prospect to many, hence perhaps the reason for his drop from last year. He's already proven to be a decent relief arm at the major league level which means that he's already provided more production for the Rockies than many of the names above him on this list will ever give Colorado (prospectin' ain't easy).
He's got a good sinker, a plus slider, and he can bring it in the upper 90s in relief or even a spot start. Those facts and his MLB presence made Scahill 24th on my ballot. If he can be a steady contributor over the next few years, he'll more than justify this ranking.
Contract Status: 2009 8th Round, 40 Man Roster, 2 options remaining
MLB ETA: Now
29. Antonio Senzatela (64 points, 8 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 27
Senzatela, a 18 year old RHP currently pitching in the Dominican Summer League, is an awfully long ways away from contributing to the Rockies and is unknown to all but prospect hounds and the faithful readers of Pebble Reports. So why is he on this list? Well, it's hard to ignore a 0.72 ERA (over 62.2 IP) and 0.86 WHIP in a prospect's first inaugural season as well as a rave review from Baseball America's Ben Badler.
His 5.0 K/9 rate in 2012 offers a reason why Senzatela might not fare as well stateside, though he's picked up his game in that regard this year (10.6 K/9, 0.8 BB/9). He'll probably throw more innings this year in the DSL as he prepares for a US debut next year. The fact that he was so far away just kept him off of my personal list.
The group of Senzatela, Jayson Aquino (further up on this list), Payamps, Angel Lezama, and Helmis Rodriguez create a formidable armada of Latin arms making their way through the system's lower levels.
Contract Status: 2011 FA (VZ), Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2019
28. Charlie Culberson (72 points, 9 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 24 -- High Ballot 13, Mode Ballot 27
Culberson, a 24 year-old 2B at AAA who was acquired for Marco Scutaro during last season, is the obvious successor to the DJ LeMahieu under-appreciated prospect slot. After all, he already had some MLB exposure with the Giants last year and he's hitting .294/.327/.520 in Colorado Springs right now, but nobody's clamoring to get Culberson some major league playing time.
Culberson has no tools that really make him stand out from the crowd (above average power for a middle infielder), but there is quite a bit of value in a player who is right on the cusp of MLB (enough to place him 23rd on my list). He's one more injury away from playing a prominent role in this year's divisional race - and if pressed into duty I believe he would acquit himself quite well.
Contract Status: 2012 Trade, 40 Man Roster, 1 option remaining
MLB ETA: Now
27. Sam Moll (91 points, 11 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 20
Moll, a 21 year-old RHP at Tri-City, was Colorado's 3rd round pick in this year's draft. David OhNo wrote up a nice profile on Moll when he was drafted. Here's why you should be excited:
If he wasn't 5'11", Moll might have had looks as a first rounder. A lefty pitching at 92-94 while flashing 96 with cut or tail has a 60 present fastball. His curve-now-slider has hard 1-7 break, and could also be a 60 pitch with work. Moll is athletic, repeats his delivery, and has improved his control every step of the way.
With that said, Moll probably will end up as a reliever. Colorado has given him a chance to start, though, and if his secondary pitches develop he could be a back-end starter. He placed 26th on my personal ballot.
Contract Status: 2013 3rd Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2017
26. Chris Jensen (91 points, 12 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 15, Mode Ballot 23
Jensen, a 22 year-old RHP at High A Modesto, has held his own in the hitter friendly California League (though Modesto's home park is less tilted towards offense) after getting good results (despite shaky peripherals) in Asheville last year and great results in Tri-City the year before.
He's put together his best season in terms of both K/9 (8.2) and BB/9 (2.3), allowing him to make some noise even as the system fills up with new draft picks. His best realistic scenario is either a back-end starter or a reliever in the Rob Scahill mold - enough for me to place him 27th on my personal list. Repeating this production at Tulsa next year would cause me to re-evaluate this placement.
Contract Status: 2011 6th Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2015
Stay tuned for more installments of the 2013 Summer PuRPs List in the near future!