After being declared the surefire winner of the National League West following a strong April, the 2011 Rockies stumbled to a 73-89 finish. It was arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history considering the fact that the team was expected to accomplish big things behind three young stars in Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez and what looked like solid, proven talent like Dexter Fowler, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Seth Smith and others as a supporting cast.
Instead, Jimenez was shipped to Cleveland after a woefully disappointing first half and Stewart, Iannetta and Smith wound up traded after the season in the great clubhouse purge of Winter 2011.
Rockies fans suffered through an agonizing summer, but as is often the case in baseball, the team was rewarded for their struggles the following June when the amateur draft rolled around. Colorado picked up a trio of potentially impact players in the first few rounds while later grabbing some players who could prove to be hidden gems. Here's a recap of who was selected and what they're up to now.
Top four picks
First round, 10th overall pick: David Dahl, OF | Current level: Low-A Asheville (No. 3 PuRP)
Dahl is hitting .266/.305/.503 in his third professional season after playing in only 10 games in 2013. He had high hopes last year after punishing the Pioneer League to the tune of a .379/.423/.625 line in his pro debut in 2012, but his sophomore campaign was doomed from the start. Dahl was sent back to extended spring training after missing an early flight out of Arizona to the southeast prior to the start of the regular season and suffered a season-ending injury 10 games in.
At 20 years old, Dahl is about a year and a half younger than the average South Atlantic League player, so the fact that he's off to a pretty good start is great news for Rockies fans. Dahl will likely finish out the season in Asheville before making the jump to High-A, a transition many Rockies minor leaguers have struggled with in the past. If Dahl handles it well, he could be on the fast track to a 2016 big league debut.
First round (supplemental), 46th overall pick: Eddie Butler, RHP | Current level: Double-A Tulsa (No. 2 PuRP)
To jump two levels in one season is not a common thing in the Rockies organization, but two guys in this draft accomplished that feat in 2013. One was Butler, who worked around some issues with walks to dominate SAL league competition for 50 innings before moving on to Modesto. There, Butler cut his walks by 1.3 per nine innings and struck out a batter an inning through 13 starts before making the jump to Double-A. Butler allowed two runs on 13 hits in 27⅔ innings of work while striking out 25 and walking only seven.
For the year, Butler finished with a 1.80 ERA in 149⅔ innings. He began 2014 in spring training with the Rockies and took some lumps amid talks he could crack the big league roster. Butler was sent to Tulsa once again and is off to another fine start, posting a 2.98 ERA through eight starts while mostly pitching to contact. Butler's strikeouts are down, but so are his walks, and he's still allowing fewer than a hit per inning. Pitching with a little bit less power could save his arm in the long run, so it seems the Rockies are doing a good job developing 23-year-old potential ace.
Second round, 73rd overall pick: Max White, OF | Current level: Low-A Asheville (No. 25 PuRP)
White is part of a talented Asheville outfield that includes a couple of top 100 prospects and promising draft picks. Unfortunately for him, he has failed to make himself visible in the crowd. White is hitting .215/.282/.299 this season, and those numbers are right around what he has done in his three-year pro career. He's athletic, speedy and has a good-looking swing, but none of that has translated into any type of success whatsoever for White.
Like Dahl, White is a year and a half younger than the average SAL league player, so even if he has to stay in Asheville for a third consecutive season, he's still got some time to develop into a useful player. He certainly has the tools to do so, but the Rockies are going to have to exercise great patience with this one.
Third round, 105th overall pick: Tom Murphy, C | Current level: Double-A Tulsa (No. 9 PuRP)
Murphy is the other Rockies farmhand (aside from Butler) who made a two-level jump in 2013. Perhaps a bit underrated by scouts entering the draft because of his location, the University of Buffalo alum absolutely raked in his second professional season after a debut campaign that was a resounding success considering it came in the notoriously pitcher-friendly Northwest League. Murphy hit 19 home runs with a .288/.385/.590 line at Asheville last year before holding his own in 74 plate appearances for Tulsa. The 23-year-old backstop performed very well with the Rockies in spring training prior to this season but has endured some growing pains in his second Double-A campaign.
That said, Murphy, who is hitting .213/.321/.415 this season, was getting into a nice groove until he left Tulsa's game on Thursday with a shoulder injury. Assuming it's minor, we can expect Murphy to continue finding his way in the Texas League and be firmly in the discussion for a big league roster spot come 2015.
Other intriguing selections
Ryan Warner (Round 3, Pick 128): Warner, the No. 30 PuRP, has yet to pitch this season, suggesting he'll probably have a repeat year at Tri-City. The Colorado native pitched there in 2013, posting a 3.36 ERA in 88⅓ innings after struggling at Grand Junction in his pro debut, though bad batted ball luck had a lot to do with that.
Wilfredo Rodriguez (Round 7, Pick 228): Catchers who can hit really well don't grow on trees, so this pick could wind up being a very good one for the Rockies. Rodriguez owns a career .315/..381/.414 line in 436 plate appearances at three levels, all of which he has been young for. The No. 18 PuRP is currently raking for Low-A Asheville.
Scott Oberg (Round 15, Pick 468): Oberg is one of two relievers from this class who was a late round pick but has already advanced to Double-A. The 24-year-old right-hander posted a 1.86 ERA and struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings in a breakout season at Modesto a year ago, and he's holding his own for Tulsa in 2014, pitching to a 2.93 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and only 1.8 BB/9 in 15⅓ innings.
Ryan Arrowood (Round 28, Pick 858): Like Oberg, Arrowood has worked himself all the way up to Double-A despite being a (really) late pick. The 23-year-old righty struck out 99 batters in 85 innings at Asheville and Modesto last year. He has a tendency to be a bit hittable, but those K numbers are hard to ignore. He's had some trouble striking people out in his first exposure to Double-A hitters, but Arrowood has overcome a really rough start to post a 3.38 ERA in 26⅔ innings.
Other notable picks: Zach Jemiola (Round 9, Pick 288); Correlle Prime (Round 12, Pick 378); Ryan Garvey (Round 33, Pick 1008)