Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects List: #25-21

Jonathan Ferrey

It's time for the Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects. Here are prospects 25-21.

Today I reveal five more names on the Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects (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 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 this PuRPs list were named on at least 7 ballots.

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 PuRPs 25-21:

25. Taylor Featherston (138 points, 15 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 22 -- High Ballot 15, Mode Ballot (most common ranking when placed) 20

Featherston, a 23 year-old middle infielder at High A Modesto, has quietly played very well as the double play partner of the more heralded Trevor Story in the Nuts' infield. Playing second base almost every day, Featherston has hit .299/.335/.478 with 24 XBHs while playing up the middle defensively, which certainly helps mitigate the fact that he's a little old (at least compared to top prospects) for the level.

Story's presence will continue to keep Featherston from playing SS (his college position) regularly at higher levels, but he should continue to play everyday at second in Tulsa next year. I placed Featherston (whose most likely outcome is a high quality org-player) at 30 on my list, though if he produces this line at AAA I might be enticed to consider his case more seriously.

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

MLB ETA: 2015

24. Ryan Casteel (143 points, 16 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 25, 26

Casteel, a 22 year-old catcher at High A Modesto, received rumblings of support on the last list, but his breakout year so far in the California League has placed him squarely in the consciousness of many PuRPs voters. Like Featherston, Casteel entered the year in another prospect's shadow, fellow catcher Will Swanner. Last year Swanner destroyed the South Atlantic League...and this time Casteel is tearing apart the California League.

Through 56 games, Casteel has a batting line of .290/.346/.604 with 15 HRs (36 XBHs), which is easily his best year as a pro. While Swanner and Casteel have alternated between catcher and DH this year, scouting reports have indicated that Casteel is the more refined receiver and is more likely to stick behind the dish.

Swanner has a higher ceiling bat and is nine months younger, keeping him above Casteel (and the other catchers on the PuRPs list) in my mind, but Casteel (ranked 18 by me) could really elevate his status if he continues this production and/or if Swanner needs to move from behind the plate.

Contract Status: 2010 17th Round, Not Rule 5 eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2015

23. Max White (155 points, 19 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 30 -- High Ballot 16, Mode Ballot 24, 25

White, a 19 year-old outfielder at Low A Asheville who was Colorado's 2012 2nd round pick (signing for $1 million), struggled mightily in rookie ball last year (.200/.322/.335). Still, the Rockies saw enough in White in the spring to promote the teenager to full season ball. As one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League, White has improved on last year's numbers (.269/.356/.359). He might end up needing to repeat at Asheville next year, but he'll still be among the youngest players in the league if he does so.

While his raw power has yet to manifest itself in pro ball, White boasts good speed and has walked in over 13% of his professional plate appearances. Unfortunately, he's also struck out in 34% of those PAs, meaning that almost a half of his plate appearances have ended without contact being made. White is a classic high ceiling, low floor prospect (placing 25th on my list) - and we're all hoping for the former.

Contract Status: 2012 2nd Round, Not Rule 5 eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2017

22. Christian Bergman (167 points, 18 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 25 -- High Ballot 14, Mode Ballot 19

Bergman, a 25 year-old RHP at AA Tulsa, has pitched very well this year, sporting a 3.02 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Scouting reports show that Bergman goes after hitters aggressively with a nice fastball-change repertoire and doesn't walk a lot of people.

As a senior sign in the later rounds of the 2010 draft, Bergman's prospect chances were largely written off by most prospect watchers. Then a funny thing happened - Bergman has continued to get results at every level he's pitched at in his professional career, with this year being his most impressive yet.

The low K rate (career 6.4 K/9) and advanced age (a typical prospect in the Texas League would be 23) are what holds Bergman from being higher on this list, as both are historical indicators of struggling to get hitters out at the major league level. Bergman cracked my list at 28 - and though it's tough to see him as a MLB starter, he's proved his doubters wrong every step of the way so far.

Contract Status: 2010 24th Round, Rule 5 Eligible after 2013, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014

21. Dom Nunez (188 points, 18 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 7, Mode Ballot 26

Nunez, a 18 year-old infielder at rookie ball Grand Junction, was Colorado's 6th round pick in this year's draft but was rated as (and paid like, receiving a $800k bonus) 2nd or 3rd round talent (ranking 65th on Baseball America's Top 100 list).

Obviously it's premature to grade Nunez on his scant pro experience - the scouting report on him is that he's a left-handed line drive hitter with a little power. He played both catcher and shortstop in high school, but thus far he's been playing second base as a pro. Here's what Rockies senior director of scouting operations Marc Gustafson had to say about Nunez:
"We're going to start him out in the infield," Gustafson said. "We took a premium athletic, handsy type player that has a good bat, meaning that there's some versatility. We're providing a young man to the development department that can play in the middle of the infield, corner, third base position.

"At some point in time, we'll probably take a look at the catching position. But what an awesome prospect."

Nunez placed 16th on my list. Right now, he's a blank canvas for fans to dream on, one of several PuRPs that fit this description on this iteration of the list.

Stay tuned for more installments of the Summer 2013 PuRPs List in the near future!

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