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6 Rockies prospects ranked in Keith Law's top 100 list

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Colorado placed four players on the list a year ago, but breakout seasons from Ryan McMahon and Raimel Tapia and the addition of Kyle Freeland impressed Law.

ESPN's Keith Law has released his top 100 prospects list, which includes six Colorado Rockies farmhands. Law is a former scout, which leads some people to weigh his rankings a little more than other sources who have never received validation from an actual MLB team. I personally tend to prefer the list that John Sickels at Minor League Ball puts together, but on the whole, I like to aggregate the opinions of everyone from Baseball America to Fangraphs' Kiley McDaniel, who like Law, is a former professional scout.

The Rockies' representation on Law's list is split evenly with three pitchers and three position players. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see three to four new faces on this list next year, when 2014 draft picks Forrest Wall, Ryan Castellini and Kevin Padlo make their full-season debuts — and, of course, when those four top 45 picks that the Rockies have in 2015 are added to the system.

★★★

No. 22: Jon Gray, RHP

Law still sees Gray as having No. 1 upside and mentioned that his lights-out 2013 debut probably combined with his draft position to make his 2014 expectations unreasonable. That said, things like the fact that Gray's change-up "was solid-average or better by the end of the season" means that not everything about last season was a step backward.

No. 27: David Dahl, OF

Dahl jumped up quite a bit, partially from good performance but mostly by staying healthy and putting any rumor of "character issues" to rest. Law sees Dahl as a guy who could be a plus defensive center fielder primed for a breakout year.

No. 33: Eddie Butler, RHP

Injury concerns and an inability to consistently access his devastating change-up pushed Butler down a bit in Law's view. If Butler can get that pitch working consistently, Law sees him as at least a mid-rotation starter. If he can't, maybe his future lies as an impact reliever.

No. 50: Ryan McMahon, 3B

How does Troy Glaus sound to everyone? That's what Law's write up of McMahon sounded like to me, saying he has excellent range on defense and "light tower power." Much like everyone around here, Law says McMahon will need to make adjustments to better cover the plate, and will need to improve his footwork to put himself in better position on routine plays at the hot corner.

No. 68: Raimel Tapia, OF

Law starts his write up with "You'd never teach a hitter to hit the way Tapia does, but as long as it's working for him, why try to change it?" The same could probably be said about future Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, although my pie-in-the-sky comp for Tapia is Tony Gwynn Sr. Tapia is likely to end up a corner outfielder, at least as long as he is teamed up with Dahl, and he will need to keep hitting for average to make up for power that is unlikely to top 20 home runs in the majors.

No. 99: Kyle Freeland, LHP

Given his plus velocity and three pitches that are at least average, including a slider that can be plus-plus, Freeland has "a chance to be a quality mid-rotation starter." Law mentions the same injury concern in passing that others have brought up when discussing Freeland, but as I mentioned in the article of my discussion with Freeland's high school coach, there is no more reason to be concerned about him than any other human throwing 97 mph.

★★★

On the whole, Law is probably conservative on everyone here but McMahon, and even then he is taking a measured approach. His take on the system seems pretty similar to our own PuRPs list, namely that the the system is loaded with upside but that there is enough lack of surety either from distance to MLB or injury history to keep the team out of the top five.

The Rockies' minor league system mirrors the MLB team in that if things break right, and catastrophic injury can be minimized, there is serious potential for something special.