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Past & Present: The original PuRPs

A trip back to the early days of Purple Row and the first time the community ranked Rockies prospects.

Yes, that is Ian Stewart. No, he probably didn't hit that ball.
Yes, that is Ian Stewart. No, he probably didn't hit that ball.
Andy Marlin

With the voting for the newest PuRPs list underway, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the first PuRPs list the community compiled.

The list was released on August 8, 2005 by Rox Girl after a scant five days of voting and nine ballots cast. As today, there were still 30 prospects ranked, but we'll just focus on the top 10 and make note of a few of the more notable players farther down the list. So, without further ado, here are the original PuRPs:

Notable names outside the top 10:

11. Franklin Morales
T-13: Seth Smith
19. Dexter Fowler

10. RHP Samuel Deduno

Rox Girl's Take: "Deduno's a darling of Rockies prospect fans because of his unreal K rates. He does it with a wicked 90+ mph cut fastball that reminds me, at least, of Mariano Rivera's. If Deduno can get Rivera's pinpoint control, who knows what we'll have on our hands."

My Summary: Although he didn't quite become Mariano Rivera, Deduno has carved out a nice career for himself, albeit not with the Rockies. He is in his third major league season with the Twins, the team for whom he has thrown the vast majority of his 254 MLB innings. He has posted a 4.29 ERA in 55 major league appearances, 41 of which have been starts.

9. 2B/SS Omar Quintanilla

Rox Girl's Take: "Talk about taking advantage of his situation, Q! has jumped from AA to the bigs in style since being traded over from Oakland in the Joe Kennedy/Jay Witasick deal. He has given the Rockies spark and vitality both on offense and defense that they have sorely missed since Clint Barmes had a venison related run-in with a staircase."

My Summary: Like Deduno, Quintanilla has carved out a nice little career for himself as a fringe big leaguer. He has played with four major league teams and is currently in his second season with the Mets. He is definitely an all-glove, no bat type of utility infielder, though, with just a .582 OPS in 1,162 MLB plate appearances.

8. 3B Jeff Baker

Rox Girl's Take: "His bat has never been disappointing, except perhaps in his brief, unready cameo at Coors to start the season. What remains in question unfortunately, is his ability to maintain his health for a full season. Baker received a break a month ago when an MRI revealed he didn't have one (a break that is, in his thumb, which would have ended his season) and he has taken advantage of the situation by picking up his pace at the plate."

My Summary: Well, Baker has remained healthy enough to stay in the big leagues for 10 seasons now, and his bat never has been that disappointing for what he's been, a bench player. He has a .746 career OPS in the majors. What has hurt Baker throughout his career has been the lack of a real position for him. In 500 major league games, he hasn't played more than 173 at any one position, which makes him a good guy to have on the roster but not one that will start every day.

7. SS Chris Nelson

Rox Girl's Take: "Nelson played sparingly the first month and a half of the season due to hamstring issues, and hasn't been the sparkling gem he was last year in his return. Don't write off his bat just yet, though, he's just nineteen and has plenty of time to correct himself and return to prospect superstardom. He should take a story of caution, however, in the foibles of #22 on this list, Jayson Nix. Prospects who can't make the needed corrections slowly fade away. Three times Nelson ranked as our sixth best prospect and he was in the top ten in all but one."

My Summary: Funny that Rox Girl compared Nelson and Nix, because they've had similar big league careers, though I'd say Nix has been a bit better. Nelson had his "shortstop of the future" mantle with the Rockies usurped by a player a few spots higher on the list and never really amounted to much other than a very fringe big leaguer.

6. 1B Ryan Shealy

Rox Girl's Take: "Shealy has received a lot of support from the Purple Row community, but unfortunately, we can't give him what he really needs, an open position he can play on the big league club. We aren't sure of how long his future with the team will be, but in this writer's opinion he has been doing well enough in his audition in Todd Helton's absence to attract the attention of opponents, and will probably find his way to another franchise this offseason. In the voting Shealy was all over the top of our charts. Three ballots had Ryan as number three but a ten and a twelve vote show that his uncertainty in the Rox future limits his appeal for us as fans."

My Summary: As Rox Girl predicted, the Rockies did trade Shealy to the Royals in 2006 along with Scott Dohmann for Jeremy Affeldt and Denny Bautista. As it turned out, Shealy's doubters were right as he never really became much of anything in the big leagues, with more strikeouts than hits in his brief career.

T-4. C Chris Iannetta

Rox Girl's Take: "Iannetta, meanwhile, never looked as good in college as he has as a professional. After debuting at Asheville last year, he showed good defense behind the plate, and patience and an ability to make good contact when he was at it. This year, he's kept all of that, and in stops in Modesto and Tulsa added a new dimension: power, cranking out a .585 slugging percentage in just over forty AB's for the Drillers thus far. We seem a little more split on Chris' future as his value ranged as high as number three also, but he also dropped as low as number ten. On six of the ballots he was either number four or five."

My Summary: The .585 slugging percentage didn't translate to the majors, but Iannetta still has the most fWAR of any Rockies catcher ever. He played six seasons with the Rockies, hitting a meager .235 but posting a solid .788 OPS in purple pinstripes. He was traded to the Angels after the 2011 season for Tyler Chatwood and has been essentially the same player for them as he was for Colorado.

T-4. SS Troy Tulowitzki

Rox Girl's Take: "Tulo, our number one pick of this year, has been compared to Oakland's Bobby Crosby. He started off slow, got injured, came back hot, got injured again, and is now on the shelf for the rest of the season. He has the bat and glove to be a middle of the lineup shortstop. In the balloting, he ranked as high as third and only as low as eighth but was number five or six on five of the nine ballots submitted"

My Summary: Hey, remember when comparing someone to Bobby Crosby was a compliment? Yeah, Tulo ended up being just a little bit better than Crosby. At age 29, he already has the 57th most fWAR of any shortstop ever and has the sixth-best wRC+ all-time among shortstops. The bat and glove of a middle of the lineup shortstop definitely developed, as he has a pair of gold gloves (and could pick up a third this season) as well as 400 career extra-base hits in 949 games. He should also be considered a national hero for getting Giancarlo Stanton to participate in the home run derby.

3. RHP Juan Morillo

Rox Girl's Take: "His fastball could be the best anywhere, he needs to work on his control, however, and using both sides of the plate. Once he masters the art of pitching, he'll be a devastating force for our team, and despite what you may hear otherwise, his smooth as silk mechanics make moving him to the pen a foolish choice at this point. Morillo was in the top five of every ballot, and the two that didn't pick U-ball at second had him there instead."

My Summary: Yeah, Morillo threw (and still throws) hard, but he had no idea where the ball was going once it left his hand, which usually meant it ended up outside the strike zone or over the fence. He has just 10 2/3 major league innings to his name, and in that time he walked seven and allowed five home runs. In his 709 2/3 minor league innings, Morillo sports a Matzekian 5.9 walks per nine innings. But people don't give up on that kind of velocity easily, as he is still with AA Bowie in the Baltimore organization.

2. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

Rox Girl's Take: "U-ball has a mid nineties fastball and a plus hook, as well as an average change-up. All that he lacks to be a true number one is plus command of his pitches and smoother mechanics. I figure at Tulsa and the Springs with the coaching staffs we have in place, he should be well on his way. Jimenez's lowest ranking was fifth, and only two ballots th.ought he wasn't the second best Rockies prospect."

My Summary: That mid-nineties fastball eventually touched triple digits and Ubaldo became the Rockies ace, turning in the best pitching season in franchise history in 2010, with a 2.88 ERA, 214 strikeouts and 19 wins. In his five seasons with the Rockies, he set the franchise records for career ERA and WAR for a pitcher. He was traded to Cleveland in 2011 for the Drew Pomeranz pu-pu platter and pitched two and a half seasons there before signing a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore this past offseason.

1. 3B Ian Stewart

Rox Girl's Take: "A unanimous selection, Stewart still figures to be a foundation of our future with his forty plus homer pop, his adequate glove and his off the charts make-up."

My Summary: I guess that off the charts make up went out the window about the time he got that Xbox Live Gold upgrade, didn't it? (I'm kidding, I'm kidding) Stewart did never live up to the considerable hype, despite hitting 25 homers in 2009. He hit just .236 with 396 strikeouts and just 293 hits in five seasons with the Rockies before being traded to the Cubs with Casey Weathers for DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin and was even worse away from Coors Field.

You can read the original PuRPs list in its entirety here.