Editor's note: We've made a change with the PuRPs list this year, deciding to unveil each player individually over the course of a few weeks. To keep track of the rankings, keep checking our PuRPs list StoryStream.
PuRP No. 21: Correlle Prime (112 points, 13 ballots) | Summer 2014 Ranking: 23 | High Ballot 20, Mode Ballot 20, 21
Prime, a 20-year-old first baseman who spent 2014 at Low-A Asheville, had something of a breakout season. In 552 plate appearances in the South Atlantic League against pitchers on average a year and a half older than him, the righty smacked 21 homers and 71 extra base hits en route to a .291/.336/.520 line (134 wRC+). That's a line that was much more slug-heavy than the numbers the 6'5 Prime amassed over the past two years with Grand Junction in the Pioneer League after being picked in the 12th round of the 2012 draft.
Here's what Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs had to say about Prime when he ranked the big righty 25th among Rockies prospects recently:
6'5/200 power hitter has above average raw power to profile at first base if he hits, but some scouts doubted that out of high school ($125,000 bonus as 12th rounder in 2012) given his size. He's hit at least .280 everywhere he's gone and jacked 21 homers this year as a 20-year-old getting his first taste of full-season ball in Low-A. It's probably bench/platoon bat upside as a big R/R first baseman, but he's hitting and the headline puns will be easy.
Prime's developing power this year is obviously promising. Plus, he has a nice line-drive hit tool, and an excellent name. All of these are great things, but honestly, Prime probably shouldn't be on this list this time next year 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 strikeout rate, etc.).
His biggest asset is the fact that he provides something of great value in current MLB: right-handed power. His .228 ISO came with only a slight uptick in strikeout percentage from year's past.
Prime's big frame provides some promise that the power can continue to develop and it will need to if he wants to be anything more than a fringe/bench guy.
It's hard to avoid comparing Prime to another big first baseman who tore up the lower levels of the system recently: Harold Riggins. Riggins was two years older than Prime when he hit the SAL, but he also dominated the league to a greater extent while being barely above average offensively in the tougher California and Texas Leagues. Colorado traded Riggins this past summer for their 11th or 12th starter, Jair Jurrjens. I'm not saying that Prime doesn't have a chance to be something more -- I'm certainly intrigued by what he can do at Modesto -- but as he moves up he'll face stiffer competition. Time will tell whether he's Ryan Shealy, Andres Galarraga or somewhere in between.
Contract Status: 2012 12th round, not Rule 5 eligible, three options remaining
MLB ETA: 2018