It's time for the Summer 2014 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. First up, and intro to the list and the five Honorable Mention PuRPs.
In this edition of the PuRPs poll, 20 ballots were cast, with 30 points being granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on seven ballots, his vote totals were modified on a sliding scale to avoid an individual ballot having too much say over the community forecast -- only one of the players on this edition of the list was listed on fewer than seven 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 third is the mode ballot (but no ties were broken in this edition).
In all, a whopping 68 players received at least one vote for this PuRPs list (up from 58 last time), 53 got mentioned on multiple ballots (up from 51), 31 were named on at least seven ballots (same as last time) and therefore were unmodified. The top 27 players 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. From the Winter 2013 list, only Chad Bettis (8) exhausted his rookie eligibility and is not eligible for this list.
For each player on the PuRPs list (and the HM players below), I've included a link to their stats (via Baseball-Reference), their contract status (via Rockies Roster), and a note on their 2014 season. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put them on my personal ballot. All ages are as of July 1, 2014. 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.
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 2014 PuRPs List, the Honorable Mention PuRPs:
35. Emerson Jimenez (29.3 points, 5 ballots), 2011 FA (DR), SS at Asheville (19)
34. Hamlet Marte (34.3 points, 6 ballots), 2011 FA (DR), C at Grand Junction (20)
33. Johendi Jiminian (35 points, 8 ballots), 2010 FA (DR), RHP at Asheville (21)
32. Jose Briceno (35.1 points, 6 ballots), 2010 FA (VZ), C at Asheville (21)
31. Christian Bergman (42 points, 6 ballots), RHP on 60 day DL, MLB (26)
Only one of the five players above made my personal list (Jimenez), but it's a testament to the improving depth of the system that each of them has an excellent argument for inclusion on this edition.
Bergman, who made his MLB debut earlier this year, is a clear outlier in the above list, given that he's played baseball above the low A level of the minor leagues and that he came via the draft and not Colorado's considerable Latin America talent pipeline. As a senior sign in the later rounds of the 2010 draft, Bergman's prospect chances were largely written off by most prospect watchers. Still, Bergman pitched well enough at every level (including a 3.84 ERA in AAA Colorado Springs this year) to force his way onto the big league roster when injuries struck this year. Bergman is currently on the 60 day DL with a broken (non-pitching) hand.
Briceno is having himself something of a breakout year in Asheville this year, his second with the low A club. Briceno is currently hitting .306/.353/.519 in the South Atlantic League against age-appropriate competition. He's an intriguing catching option in a system that appears to be full of them. It's so full of them that he actually fell off my list this time around because the rest of the system got a big infusion of talent. Still, if he continues to rake this year, he'll be an excellent candidate for the winter list.
Jiminian is another player who is holding his own against age-appropriate competition in the SAL (he's almost a year younger than the league on average, but he's roughly the same age as serious prospects at that level). He is a Latin American bonus baby (signed for $350k in 2010) making his full season debut this year. So far the results have been acceptable (11-4 record, 4.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) and he's got the potential to be something more at a higher level. To make it on my personal list, I'd need to see a few more strikeouts and success at a higher level.
Marte probably has the highest ceiling of any of these five HM players. He played for parts of three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, finally earning a promotion to the US on the strength of a .291/.382/.452 season there - a very impressive line in that league. In a limited sample stateside, Marte has mashed even more - to the tune of .403/.464/.645 in 69 plate appearances with Grand Junction. If he can stick as a catcher, the 20 year-old Marte has considerable potential value to the organization, though he must distinguish himself for a longer period of time to move into the consciousness of voters (myself included).
Jimenez displays a few traits that I value highly when I compile prospect lists. First, he's young for his level (19 in the SAL is about 2.5 years below average). Second, he's holding his own against that advanced level of competition, hitting .304/.316/.405 for Asheville. Admittedly, there's not a whole lot of walks or power in that line, but it's still not bad for a player his age. Finally, Jimenez is an elite shortstop defensively, a player with the defensive utility to contribute at higher levels even if the bat doesn't develop much. That's why I placed Jimenez 22nd on my personal list and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Stay tuned in the coming days for more installments of the Summer 2014 PuRPs list!