clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Colorado Rockies invite Jon Gray and top minor league prospects to Spring Training

New, 4 comments

A breakdown of the top Rockies prospects invited to big league camp of Spring Training 2015.

Jon Gray
Jon Gray
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies invited several minor league prospects to their big league spring training camp this year. Some are already on the 40-man roster, while others have yet to earn that distinction. Colorado is looking to rebound from a 96-loss season, and their lack of action on the free agent market demonstrated a trust in their players down on the farm.

It's unclear whether it was a good idea to avoid bringing in outside talent, but the organization is relying on a farm system ranked eighth overall by Keith Law. While 2014 was a lost season for many due to injury, the organization still has strong rankings. Not only that, but several farmhands are highly regarded within the prospect grading community. Here is a breakdown of the top prospects invited to big league camp and their potential impact in the organization.

Jon Gray - RHP, Drafted No. 3 overall in 2013

2014

G

ERA

K/9

Jon Gray

24

3.91

8.2

BA Top-100: #12

BA Rank: #2

Sickels: #1

PuRP: #1

A top draft choice for the Rockies in 2013, Gray stormed through the system that year with a 1.93 ERA and a strikeout rate of 12.3 per nine innings. The Oklahoma native slowed last year, producing a 3.91 ERA with a 8.2 K/9 during his first full season in Double-A Tulsa.

Scouts attribute the lower production to Gray's focus on developing his changeup and relying less on a top notch fastball complemented by a devastating slider. Gray is tabbed to be a possible top-of-the-rotation starter and will be in line to make his major league debut this season.

Keith Law's take:

As is, he's a solid future rotation member, but closer to average than an ace. If he gets his old swagger back, he'll regain that status as a potential No. 1.

Eddie Butler - RHP, Drafted in supplemental first round in 2013

2014

G

ERA

K/9

Eddie Butler

24

4.00

5.2

BA Top-100: #12

BA Rank: #4

Sickels: #5

PuRP: #3

One of the Rockies brightest minor league stars heading into the 2014 season, Butler saw his year swirl down the tubes as nagging injuries led to diminished performance. Typically known as a groundball pitcher, the numbers switched to the flyball side and ended up working against the Virginia native. The 23-year-old finished the season with a 4.00 ERA, which included a pair of rehab appearances in Modesto and Colorado Springs, but mostly encompassed 18 starts in Double-A Tulsa.

The right-handed pitcher struggled in three major league appearances, striking out just three batters and producing an ERA of 6.75. Butler has the makeup to be a mid-rotation starter or a possible closer and will be given strong consideration for the final rotation spot to open the season.

Keith Law's take:

Butler would be ensconced in the Rockies' rotation already were it not for a recurring shoulder issue that bothered him right after his first major league start and popped up again in September, scotching plans to send him to the Arizona Fall League.

Tom Murphy - C, Drafted in third round of 2012

2014

G

HR

OPS

Tom Murphy

27

5

0.736

BA Top-100: N/R

BA Rank: #6

Sickels: #7

PuRP: #12

A catcher with a ton of power and good on-base skills, Murphy hit five home runs in just 27 games before a shoulder injury derailed his season. His previous year represented a stronger performance, when he hit 22 home runs with a .376 on base percentage. He even skipped a level, as he was promoted from Low-A Asheville to Double-A Tulsa during the 2013 season

Murphy will see a lot of action in the spring, as catchers are typically at a premium, and he should be in the mix for a midseason promotion due to the lack of strength in the levels above him. Murphy still needs to work on his contact skills, as his average has always hovered below the .300 mark in his minor league career.

Keith Law's take:

Can put on a show of pull power in BP but struggles with decent off-speed stuff.

Rosell Herrera - CF/IF, International free agent signed for $550,000

2014

G

HR

OPS

Rosell Herrera

72

4

0.637

BA Top-100: 98th

BA Rank: #9

Sickels: #9

PuRP: #10

A wrist injury confined the switch-hitter to just 72 games and suppressed his output at the plate. He produced a .244 average and hit four home runs. Herrera has been a streaky prospect, struggling to produce quality numbers after being promoted, something which occurred his first year in Asheville and again last year in Modesto.

Blessed with an athletic build, Herrera makes highlight plays in the infield, only to struggle with ordinary ones, which has necessitated a switch from shortstop to centerfield in 2015. The Dominican native is likely to repeat High-A Modesto. If healthy, he is capable of being a Top-100 minor league prospect.

Keith Law's take:

He's a switch-hitter who's better from the left side in both his swing and approach, and projects to come into power as his body fills out.

Tyler Anderson - LHP, Drafted No. 20 overall in 2011

2014

G

ERA

K/9

Tyler Anderson

23

1.98

8.1

BA Top-100: N/R

BA Rank: N/R

Sickels: #10

PuRP: #6

Anderson provided the strongest pitching performance in the Rockies system of 2014, producing a 1.98 ERA in Double-A Tulsa while holding batters to a .211 average. The Las Vegas native has a low-to-mid 90's fastball that lacks movement, but he pairs it with an advanced curveball.

Anderson uses a toe tap in his pitching motion to throw off hitters' timing, and the stuttered action seems to be effective. Drafted in the first round out of Oregon in 2011, Anderson is capable of being a strong back-end starter or a useful left-handed reliever. If the latter, he's likely he'll be mishandled, as his splits show he's more effective against righties (.528 OPS) than left-handed hitters (.700 OPS).

Keith Law's take:

Lefty Tyler Anderson could get to the big leagues this year if his health permits, but his elbow flared up again in his playoff start in Double-A; he didn't need surgery but his trouble staying on the mound holds back his value and development.