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Midseason Prospect Roundup: Ryan McMahon and Hamlet Marte on a meteoric rise

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The first half of the 2014 season saw the Rockies organization hit with injuries of biblical proportions. Through the ashes a couple of hitters have risen to meteoric levels with breakout performances. Several prospects have graduated, while others are flying under the radar.

Hamlet Marte
Hamlet Marte
by Charlie Drysdale

The early part of the 2014 season saw the graduation of several Rockies prospects to the major leagues, while other high-profile names in the system fell to the injury bug. The rest of the system could be described as a dry thunderstorm, rolling through the summer season with the potential to make some noise, but in most cases producing very little results.

The meteoric

Pretty much the entire roster on the Asheville and Grand Junction club's is hitting above expectations at the moment. Third baseman Ryan McMahon burst out of the gate with nine home runs in April. The right-handed hitter has seen his power wane of late, but is hitting .333 in the month of July and has a 134 wRC+ overall. Strikeouts appear to be a concern for the infielder as his free-swinging ways have led to a strikeout rate of 27%. The good news for McMahon is that he's just a year out from being drafted by the Rockies and at just 19-years-old, he's much younger than everyone else in the league.

Catcher Hamlet Marte has been better than advertised with Grand Junction showing leadership skills with the pitching staff and hefting a solid bat. The right-handed hitter is batting .373,  good enough for a 164 wRC+ and ranking him second in the Pioneer league in that category. The Dominican native won the MVP award of the DSL last summer, after swatting seven home runs. Behind the plate, Marte has a gun for an arm, but needs to improve on his accuracy and footwork.

The graduates

Outfielders Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon both officially graduated to the big club in the first half of the year. The bearded  Blackmon burst out of the gate with a .374 average and five home runs to earn a spot in the All-Star game, he has since seen his numbers dip slightly, but has come on strong in July to cement himself in the lineup. The left-handed hitting Dickerson was possibly deserving a spot on the All-Star squad as well with a .329 average and 11 home runs in limited playing time. Corey's 154 wRC+ is second only to Troy Tulowitzki on the Rockies.

Pitchers Christian Bergman and Tyler Matzek also received the call to pitch for the Rockies as a plague of injuries wiped out the pitching staff. Matzek has found mixed success, his WAR of 0.8 is third with the club and bolstered by a 3.79 FIP. The left-hander has struggled to rediscover his strikeout pitch and is giving up a high number of hits. Bergman had a strong run in Triple-A, putting up a franchise record 24 inning home scoreless streak. After his promotion, the right-hander suffered the fate of those before him, landing on the 60 day DL after a line drive broke his hand.

The underperforming

The crown jewel of the system was supposed to be the pitching staff of the Tulsa Drillers. Anchored by three first-round draft picks and a former CAL league pitcher of the year, the team bolstered Colorado's pitching depth within the farm. Unfortunately, injuries to Dan Winkler, Eddie Butler and Tyler Anderson have undercut the excellence of this staff and injuries overall have put the Rockies organization in a tight spot.

The good news is that Jonathan Gray is still pitching strong and reports indicate that his changeup is improving. The Rockies are likely to take things slowly with Gray to allow him time to mature into a complete pitcher. Although he may receive a late September promotion, don't be surprised if he spent the entire year developing in Double-A. Tyler Anderson is back and producing with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.271 WHIP. The Oregon alum has backwards splits however, as righties are hitting a mere .238 while lefties are producing at a .296 clip against the left-handed pitcher.

Under the radar

Both of these prospects were highly touted coming into last season only to see their 2013 season derailed by a myriad of problems. Shortstop Trevor Story came out strong in 2014, batting .332 in High-A Modesto with 20 stolen bases. His strikeout rates continue to remain in the high 27% rate, but his performance pushed the Rockies brass into promoting him to Double-A Tulsa. The 21-year-old is struggling to find any traction in his new home, but he's also the youngest player on the Tulsa team and three years younger than the league average.

Centerfielder David Dahl has come back strong in Asheville, although he's been slightly overshadowed by Ryan McMahon and the power surge of first baseman Correlle Prime (whose 14 home runs ranks fourth in the SAL). The 20-year-old Dahl is putting up strong numbers in Low-A, his 33 doubles leads the organization and he's been strong defensively, making highlight plays in the outfield nearly every night. Similar to Corey Dickerson, Dahl has become adept at avoiding strikeouts, which indicates he will adjust better to higher-level pitching. At some point, David Dahl will go on a tear and earn a promotion to Modesto, where the club is hurting for talent at the moment and could use an infusion to spark the team.

Notes

Raimel Tapia continues to rake, the left-handed hitter is batting .330 in the SAL. His power has fallen off, but Baseball America calls him a "wild card" and writes that he is the organization's best pure hitter in their mid-season review. Catcher Tom Murphy has also fallen to the injury bug, derailing what looked like a promising season for the University of Buffalo alum. Shortstop Rosell Herrera has been hampered with wrist injuries that caused him to miss a month of the season. The switch-hitter has had mixed results this season, but had the opportunity to represent the organization in the All-Star Futures game, where he produced a pair of hits for the World team.

Top pitchers (filtered by ERA)

Name

Throws

Age

Tm

W

L

IP

G

H

R

HR

BB

K

K/9

WHIP

ERA

Hector Villarroel

LHP

18.8

DSL ROCK

1

0

38.2

8

16

7

1

23

35

8.25

1.02

1.40

Helmis Rodriguez

LHP

20.0

TRI

3

3

44.2

7

37

9

2

9

26

5.29

1.04

1.61

Tyler Anderson

LHP

24.5

TUL

3

4

76.1

16

71

32

2

26

64

7.57

1.27

2.59

Eddie Butler

RHP

23.3

3 Tms

4

5

78

13

74

30

3

24

44

5.08

1.26

3.23

Jon Gray

RHP

22.6

TUL

9

4

94

18

80

41

9

28

88

8.43

1.15

3.54

Antonio Senzatela

RHP

19.4

ASH

11

1

100.1

18

93

47

10

25

59

5.30

1.18

3.59

Alex Balog

RHP

21.9

ASH

7

3

114.1

19

119

58

9

32

85

6.70

1.32

3.78

Ryan Carpenter

LHP

23.8

MOD

2

5

66

11

63

32

3

24

46

6.27

1.32

3.82

Christian Bergman

RHP

26.1

COL

4

6

90

15

95

46

14

16

58

5.80

1.23

4.30

Top hitters (filtered by wRC+)

Name Age Tm PA 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA OBP SLG OPS wRC+
Michael Tauchman 23.5 2 Tms 109 5 1 4 14 15 14 9 0.333 0.422 0.538 0.960 173
Trevor Story 21.6 3 Tms 298 20 8 6 33 41 86 20 0.299 0.403 0.512 0.915 164
Hamlet Marte 20.3 GJ 74 5 2 2 18 5 16 1 0.373 0.432 0.597 1.029 163
Ashley Graeter 24.7 ASH 137 11 1 6 23 9 26 6 0.314 0.368 0.570 0.938 151
Michael Benjamin 22.3 ASH 303 21 5 10 41 16 61 20 0.321 0.368 0.544 0.912 150
Dom Nunez 19.4 GJ 72 2 0 3 11 11 8 2 0.311 0.417 0.492 0.909 138
Ben Paulsen 26.7 COL 390 24 6 15 58 48 89 3 0.296 0.385 0.536 0.921 136
Raimel Tapia 20.3 ASH 378 24 1 6 57 21 70 23 0.330 0.384 0.461 0.845 136
Jose Briceno 21.8 ASH 229 18 1 8 37 10 33 7 0.300 0.347 0.510 0.857 135
Ryan McMahon 19.5 ASH 380 32 2 12 71 38 103 5 0.284 0.354 0.500 0.854 134
David Dahl 20.2 ASH 409 33 6 10 43 21 64 17 0.304 0.341 0.501 0.842 130
Jordan Patterson 22.3 ASH 364 20 0 10 47 34 86 18 0.282 0.369 0.445 0.814 126
Terry McClure 18.8 GJ 78 5 0 2 13 14 22 4 0.274 0.403 0.452 0.855 125
Correlle Prime 20.3 ASH 377 31 3 14 65 29 87 6 0.267 0.321 0.497 0.818 123
Kyle Parker 24.8 COL 359 24 3 10 47 25 70 3 0.287 0.337 0.468 0.805 110

Stats by Minorleaguecentral.com

Hottest prospect videos of the week

Trevor Story shows he's settling in to Double-A with the following two highlights, The first is a home run to left and the second is a RBI double down the line.

Hamlet Marte drives a ball into deep center field.

He's a large man, and Henry Garcia swings from his heels to connect on this home run for Grand Junction.