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Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects List: #20-16

Here are prospects 20-16 on the Summer 2013 Purple Row Prospects list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects.


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 20-16:

20. Cristhian Adames (210 points, 18 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 18 -- High Ballot 9, Mode Ballot (most common when ranked) 19

Adames, a 21 year-old shortstop for AA Tulsa this year, has never been mistaken for a slugger. After all, his career hitting line is .270/.347/.361. There are two big reasons why Adames rates so highly on this list (and even more highly on my ballot at #11): his great defense at a premium position and his decent year at Tulsa (.260/.335/.358) despite being young for the league.

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 Jonathan 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. His high floor makes a major league career very likely...and if that bat develops, he'll be something more than a utility player.

Contract Status: 2008 FA (DR), 40 Man Roster, 2 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014 (if not called up in September this year)

19. Wilfredo Rodriguez (220 points, 20 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 17 -- High Ballot 13, Mode Ballot 21

Rodriguez, a 19 year-old catcher at short season Tri-City, was the most pleasant surprise of the 2012 draft class in 2012 besides David Dahl. The Puerto Rican hit .319/.370/.452 in 183 PAs as a very young player in the Pioneer League while receiving 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 21st on my ballot).

His success hasn't carried over into a small sample size at Tri-City just yet, but Rodriguez's youth and defensive utility make him an interesting prospect to follow the rest of the season.

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

MLB ETA: Late 2017

18. Edwar Cabrera (235 points, 15 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 11 -- High Ballot 6, Mode Ballot 11, 12. 18

Cabrera, a 25 year-old LHP who has spent the year on the 60 day DL with a shoulder injury, bounced between AA Tulsa, AAA Colorado Springs, and the Rockies last year. Cabrera has been an enigma for a couple of years now. After all, he's dominated almost everywhere he's pitched (Coors Field excepted) and has sported a career 11.1 K/9 rate, 3.13 ERA, and 1.14 WHIP over 7 minor league levels and 501 innings.

And yet, all of that is clouded by the fact that Cabrera has been old at every level he's pitched, he's given up a LOT of homers in the upper minors (21 last year in 129 minor league innings), and that he's more of a finesse pitcher with great control whose stuff might not strike out a bunch of major league hitters.

Adding in his age and his injury, putting him 18th on this list (22nd on my ballot) seems like a good settling place for Cabrera given the fact that his flaws/age keep him from the truly elite, while his performance at the upper levels and proximity to the big leagues pushes him above the second tier of prospects.

Contract Status: 2008 FA (DR), 60 Day DL, 2 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2014 (health pending)

17. Ryan McMahon (242 points, 19 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 10, Mode Ballot 15

McMahon, a 18 year-old third baseman at rookie ball Grand Junction, can easily be compared to Nolan Arenado. After all, both were high-school third basemen from California taken in the second round, both have shown the ability to be great defensive third basemen, and both hit well immediately in their professional careers. McMahon's off to a hot start in Grand Junction (.360/.467/.560 in 7 games), but it would be irresponsible to judge McMahon's prospect value based on a 31 PA sample.

Here's what David OhNo had to say about McMahon when he was drafted earlier this month:

McMahon has 50 grade tools across the board, but plus makeup and upside potential. He has a 6'3" frame capable of holding 215-220 lbs. (he's listed at 195 lbs right now), and he could grow into 60 pop. He could also reach 60 grades on defense and should have no problem staying at third base. McMahon's swing is balanced from the left side and has natural loft, so line drive/power potential is evident here.

I placed McMahon 14th on my ballot given his draft position and MLB average tools - though if he continues to rake at Grand Junction I'll be happy to move him up the list next time.

Contract Status: 2013 2nd Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2017

16. Rafael Ortega (293 points, 20 ballots) -- Fall 2012 Ranking: 9 -- High Ballot 10, Mode Ballot 15, 16

Ortega -- a 22 year-old lefty outfielder in AA Tulsa -- does not present as an impressive offensive profile as other outfielders on this list like Corey Dickerson or Kyle Parker. After all, Ortega is nominally a speedy lead-off prototype hitter (if you subscribe to old-school baseball), as we witnessed in his cameo with the big club last September.

The big difference between Ortega and Colorado's other outfield prospects is that he can stick in center field at the major league level while providing a decent bat with speed at the top of the order (though his .228/.315/.297 line, even as one of the youngest players in the Texas League, hasn't been too impressive). There's considerable value in that skillset, which is why I had Ortega 12th on my PuRPs ballot.

Ortega is a player whose MLB future is quite likely despite the fact that (until last September) he'd never played above A ball, because even if his power doesn't develop fully, there's always room for a speedy, above average defensive center fielder with good contact ability - perhaps as soon as this September as a pinch-runner/defensive replacement given his 40 man roster status. And if the power does develop...well that's what makes Ortega such an intriguing prospect -- and a potential replacement for Dexter Fowler.

Contract Status: 2008 Amateur Free Agent (VE), 40 Man Roster, 2 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2013

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