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Purple Row Prospects List, Summer 2014: 20-16

Here are prospects 20-16 in the Summer 2014 Purple Row Prospects list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects.

Cristhian Adames in his Modesto days.
Cristhian Adames in his Modesto days.
Charlie Drysdale

Today I reveal the third 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:

20. Antonio Senzatela (178 points, 15 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 29 -- High Ballot 11, Mode Ballot 15, 18, 23

Senzatela, a 19 year old RHP at Low A Asheville, has been pretty successful this year against hitters that are on average about three years older than him. In 100 1/3 innings pitched so far this year, Senzatela has a 11-1 record, 3.68 ERA, and 1.19 WHIP. This after a stateside debut in Tri-City last year in which he had a 3.83 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 42 IP after utterly over-matching hitters in the Dominican Summer League.

To be sure, it's a very promising full season debut for Senzatela and the reason why he rose nine slots on this list. If one were to quibble with his qualifications (and I did, ranking him just outside of my personal list), it would be that he doesn't seem to have the stuff to miss bats at a higher level. Indeed, Senzatela is a strike thrower (career 1.9 BB/9) who hasn't been able to generate strikeouts (career 5.6 K/9, 5.3 this year). It's a sign that his stuff might not play at the major league level.

Still though, Senzatela has accomplished quite a lot for a 19 year-old prospect and is worth watching as he encounters those hitters at higher levels.

Contract Status: 2011 FA (VZ), Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2018

19. Dom Nunez (200 points, 18 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 19 -- High Ballot 10, Mode Ballot 17

Nunez, a 19 year-old catcher for rookie ball Grand Junction, was Colorado's 6th round pick in last year's draft but was rated as (and paid like, receiving a $800k bonus) 2nd or 3rd round talent (ranking 65th on Baseball America's Top 100 list). Nunez had poor stats last year (.200/.269/.323 in 217 plate appearances) as a middle infielder last year, but the Rockies converted him back to his high school position of catcher this year in his repeat tour of Grand Junction and it appears to be paying dividends.

In 79 plate appearances, Nunez has lived up to his athleticism and potential against pitchers who are 18 months older than him on average, putting up a .309/.405/.471 line. For more on Nunez this year, read the interview by our own Drew Creasman. The athleticism is there and so is the defensive utility you look for in a prospect (which is why I put Nunez 19th on my personal list) - the next step is proving it above rookie ball. We'll see if the Rockies are big enough believers in Nunez to jump him up to full season ball before the year is out.

Contract Status: 2013 6th Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2018

18. Alex Balog (207 points, 18 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 20 -- High Ballot 9, Mode Ballot 15, 16, 21

Balog, a RHP in his age 21 season (just turned 22 last week) in Low A Asheville, was Colorado's competitive balance second round pick in last year's draft out of the University of San Francisco. The righty was the 32nd rated prospect overall by Baseball America but lasted until the 70th pick, leading many to label him a steal.

Here's what David OhNo had to say about Balog after the draft:

It's not often you get the chance to draft a tall collegian with a mid 90's sinking fastball, but Rockies did just that. Balog also shows promise in his breaking pitches, and despite his size, he's highly athletic and can repeat his delivery and should develop a solid change. Athleticism still gives him some upside.

Unfortunately, Balog's pro debut got off to a rough start, getting knocked around to the tune of a 9.30 ERA and 1.97 WHIP while posting a paltry 5.1 K/9 rate in 30 innings of work. Fortunately, Balog has been much better this year in full season ball, throwing 114 1/3 innings to date of 3.78 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.7 K/9 baseball at an age appropriate level. His projectability is what keeps him just above pitchers like Senzatela in these lists (he was 21st on my ballot). Admittedly though, if the results between the two continue to be similar, the younger player will be more deserving of consideration.

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

MLB ETA: 2017

17. Patrick Valaika (217 points, 17 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 21 -- High Ballot 10, Mode Ballot 16

Valaika, a 21 year-old shortstop at High A Modesto, has had a very interesting year in his first year of full season ball. First, he tore the cover off the ball in Low A Asheville to the tune of .370/.407/.575 in 144 plate appearances. That encouraged the Rockies to promote him to High A Modesto, where he has struggled - sometimes mightily. In 213 plate appearances, Valaika has a .235/.278/.372 line, striking out in 26% of PA. At this pace, he'll probably repeat at Modesto, but it's unusual for a player to gain a promotion so soon and Valaika certainly had earned it.

Valaika was the last of the 2013 Rockies draft picks (9th round) to sign because his UCLA team won the College World Series that year (he was the PAC 12 defensive player of the year this season while hitting cleanup for the Bruins). He might lack the arm strength to play shortstop at the big league level, which will hurt his value, but he definitely has promise as a utility infielder at the next level. That was enough for me to place him 20th on my personal ballot.

Contract Status: 2013 9th Round, Not Rule 5 Eligible, 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2017

16. Cristhian Adames (247 points, 19 ballots) -- Winter 2013 Ranking: 13 -- High Ballot 4, Mode Ballot (six different slots at two each)

Adames, a 22 year-old shortstop who just got promoted to AAA (perhaps temporarily), has never been mistaken for a slugger. After all, his career hitting line is .271/.343/.356. There are two big reasons why Adames rates so highly on this list (and even more highly on my ballot at 13): his great defense at a premium position and his decent year at Tulsa (.276/.335/.349) despite being young for the league.

Baseball America has ranked Adames as being the best defensive infielder in Colorado's system in the past, 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 had at this point in his career.

Cristhian's high floor makes a major league career very likely...and if that bat develops more, he'll be something more than a utility player for Colorado. Given his 40 man roster slot and defensive utility, Adames might be in the big leagues as soon as September if the Rockies so choose.

Contract Status: 2007 FA (DR), 40 Man Roster, 1 option remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2014

Stay tuned the next installment of the 2014 Summer PuRPs List!