Today I reveal the second installment of names on the Summer 2014 Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list. 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.
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 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.
Here are the next five members of the Summer 2014 PuRPs List:
25. Ryan Castellani (85 points, 10 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 15, Mode Ballot 19, 29
Castellani, an 18 year-old RHP at short season A Tri-City, was Colorado's second round pick in this year's draft. The Arizona high school product signed for $1.1 million, slightly below slot, and has made two brief appearances for Tri-City to this point - against hitters who on average are nearly four years older than him. Here's a selection of what resident prospect guru David Hood said about Castellani when the Rockies drafted him:
Castellani's strengths are closely tied in to the Rockies' pitching philosophy preached over Spring Training, that being the use of a heavy two-seam fastball down in the zone to limit hard contact. ... The knock you read on Castellani is in his secondary pitches, and in the videos available, it's hard to see much of either his curve or his change. ... Because he lacks the power of pitchers going around him, Castellani may require a bit more time in the lower levels before starting his climb, and he probably doesn't project more than a #3 or 4 at this point.
Castellani's delivery has been compared to Eddie Butler's - while Castellani's secondary stuff might not be there now, he seems like a scheme pick for Colorado's pitching philosophy. The fact that the Rockies put Castellani in Tri-City (normally the landing spot for experienced college players) and not Grand Junction is interesting. The combination of that placement, his draft status, and his pitching profile were enough for me to place him 16th on my personal list.
Contract Status: 2014 2nd Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2018
24. Sam Moll (88 points, 10 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 17-- High Ballot 19, Mode Ballot 21
Moll, a 22 year-old RHP who has not pitched so far this year due to injury, was Colorado's 3rd round pick in last year's draft. Working in Tri-City last year, Moll had just 30 innings pitched, putting up a sterling 1.80 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with a 8.7 K/9 rate in a favorable pitching environment. This year appears to be a lost year, but Moll will get the chance to prove himself in full season ball soon.
David Hood wrote up a nice profile on Moll when he was drafted. Here's an excerpt:
If he wasn't 5'11", Moll might have had looks as a first rounder. A lefty pitching at 92-94 while flashing 96 with cut or tail has a 60 present fastball. His curve-now-slider has hard 1-7 break, and could also be a 60 pitch with work. Moll is athletic, repeats his delivery, and has improved his control every step of the way.
Moll probably will end up as a reliever, but Colorado has given him a chance to start (as they did with Chad Bettis). If Moll's secondary pitches develop he could be a back-end starter. Moll's injury and the performance of other players led him to just miss my personal ballot. Should he prove himself in full season ball, he'll be right back up this list.
Contract Status: 2013 3rd Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2017
23. Correlle Prime (99 points, 11 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: NR -- High Ballot 12, Mode Ballot 26
Prime, a 20 year-old first baseman in low A Asheville, is an imposing sight at 6'5". Optimus has hit .270/.324/.500 with 48 XBHs as a prospect a year younger than average in the SAL, a more slug-heavy line than what he put up in Grand Junction the last two years. Prime's developing power this year is obviously promising, he has a nice line drive hit tool, and he's got an excellent name.
Honestly though, Prime wasn't particularly close to making my list and won't ever make it unless he really turns up the offense. Because of his lack of defensive utility, Prime is a player that needs to dominate on offense to make it to the big leagues and he just hasn't done that yet (relatively low OBP, high K%, etc.). He'll get opportunities to prove himself at higher levels, but as he moves up he'll face stiffer competition from prospects at other positions with first base futures like Kyle Parker or Will Swanner. I'd love for Prime to prove me wrong, but I just don't see it.
Contract Status: 2012 12th Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: 2018
22. Wilfredo Rodriguez (137 points, 15 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 18 -- High Ballot 16, Mode Ballot 21, 23
Rodriguez, a 20 year-old catcher at low A Asheville, has proven that his hit tool plays in full season ball. The Puerto Rican has a .323/.373/.398 line while striking out in only 10% of his 226 plate appearances as a young player in the SAL while receiving decent reviews for his ability behind the plate. Obviously, Rodriguez doesn't display a lot of power (and may never do so), but there's a lot to like in his game.
The receiving abilities and the high contact/low K offense earned him the 18th spot on my ballot. Of course, his value is tied very much to his ability to stay behind the plate. Players with that kind of offensive profile need defensive utility to continue to advance. If Rodriguez continues as a catcher and develops a little more power, he will get top ten consideration on the next list from me.
Contract Status: 2012 7th Round, Not Rule 5 eligible, 3 options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2017
21. Jayson Aquino (150 points, 14 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 15 -- High Ballot 6, Mode Ballot 20, 22
Aquino, a 21 year-old LHP in High A Modesto, had been dominant every season he pitched for the Rockies organization - until he moved to Low A ball late last year. Until the move to Asheville, Aquino had a career line of 22-7, 1.53 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and a 8.4 K/9 rate over 282.2 innings. In other words, his performance as a professional had been pretty ridiculous.
Once you get over the crazy numbers, it's important to consider context. Aquino pitched in the DSL for 2.5 years, which does suppress power particularly. It's an environment where pitchers with great control like Aquino can thrive by pitching to contact. Then again, while Aquino didn't strike out as many hitters in Grand Junction (7.5 K/9) and Tri-City (6.3 K/9), he was pretty darn effective in both spots (2.31 ERA, 1.04 WHIP over 66 IP between the two).
Aquino struggled a little bit for the first time in his career in the move to Asheville (4.78 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) and he has continued those struggles this year in Modesto. In 48 innings, Aquino has posted a 5.25 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, and 7.5 K/9 rate against players that are on average two years older than him. The elevated K rate is a positive sign, as it's a better indicator that he may be able to get hitters out at the next level.
Still, Aquino is a lower ceiling pitcher who has been very hittable this year. That's why Aquino, who had been on each of my ballots since 2011, was a very tough cut from my ballot this year. I really am rooting for Aquino to succeed, and if he turns it around in Modesto this year he'll be right back on my list (and will move up the community list again). Aquino was placed on the 40 man roster this year, indicating that the Rockies feel he is a part of their future, but then again, so was the recently departed Raul Fernandez.
Contract Status: 2009 Amateur Free Agent (DR), 40 Man Roster, 2 options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2016
Stay tuned the next installment of the 2014 Summer PuRPs List on Monday!