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.
10. Rosell Herrera (323 points, 16 ballots) -- Summer 2014 Ranking: 8 -- High Ballot 6, Mode Ballot 9
Herrera, a 22-year-old, switch-hitting infielder who played at High-A Modesto at age 21 last season, has had a rollercoaster professional career so far. The 2014 campaign was definitely on the down side of that ride. Throughout the last few editions of the PuRPs list, Herrera has battled fellow shortstop Trevor Story for playing time and (more importantly!) placement on the PuRPs list. Herrera debuted just ahead of Story due to an impressive stateside debut in rookie ball Casper, but then Story moved ahead of Herrera for a few lists.
After Herrera went gangbusters went he repeated the South Atlantic League last year, earning the South Atlantic League MVP award with a ridiculous .343/.419/.515 (168 wRC+) line, he moved ahead back on top of Story and made his way into some top 100 prospect lists, including Baseball America (No. 86) and MLB.com (No. 99). However, Herrera struggled significantly in his first taste of High-A -- both with a nagging wrist injury that limited him to 302 plate appearances, and at the plate against players that were about two years older than him. In all, he produced a poor .244/.302/.335 line (68 wRC+) in Modesto, which has led to Story regaining the upper hand as a prospect. Furthermore, Herrera appears to be done as a shortstop, as the Rockies have moved him to center field for 2015.
Still, until last year, of all the great Latin American players that made the rise through Colorado's system, Herrera as a 16-year-old had received the largest signing bonus ($550,000). The tools that begat that kind of money, in addition to his 2013 SAL MVP, earned Herrera Colorado's lone spot in this year's Futures Game as part of the World team. Herrera hit two line drive singles in the game.
I'd look for Herrera to repeat in Modesto in 2015, with a look toward an in-season promotion to New Britain if he hits well. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs ranked Herrera 10th in Colorado's system. Here's what he had to say (before the position switch was announced):
Herrera's stock has fallen with a tough 2014 in the hitter-friendly Cal League due to a nagging wrist injury. It will be looked at again once the season ends to determine how serious of a problem it is going forward. Most scouts have Herrera moving to third base and more than a few called him soft, so while the tools are there for an everyday player and he raked last year at age 20 in Low-A, the arrow is pointing down until Herrera looks more like the 2013 version.
Herrera's got enough talent that the Rockies put him on their 40-man roster before the 2014 season and he certainly possesses the tools to be an impact player at the MLB level, but time is running out faster for him than it would for a normal prospect due to the fact that he only has two option years remaining. I fully expect him to need both of them to make the Show. I placed Herrera 10th on my ballot despite the down year with the knowledge that he could be a top five talent in the system.
Contract Status: 2009 free agent (Dominican Republic), 40-man roster, two options remaining
MLB ETA: 2017