Hello and welcome to the Colorado Rockies Organizational Power Rankings.
In this new series on Purple Row, we will be taking a weekly look at the entire system and ranking the teams in terms of entertainment value— "watchability," in other words. For these rankings, we will be prioritizing what we (or, often, I) feel would be the best baseball viewing experience if everyone had quality access to it.
So the most pertinent question is this: if you could only watch one game featuring the Rockies or one of their affiliates today, which game is most likely to contain the most interesting story-lines, the most intriguing players, and the most fun baseball (or least frustrating) to compel you watch?
Here are the rankings for the first ever Colorado Rockies Organizational Power Rankings.
1. New Britain Rock Cats (21-7)
MVP: Trevor Story
Number of PuRPS: 4
For the New Britain Rock Cats, Trevor Story and Tommy Murphy have been worth the price of admission alone.
As of the writing of this, Trevor Story (PuRP No. 8) leads the Eastern League in eight offensive categories (by my count) and ran away with April's Player of the Month award. And catcher (PuRP No. 12) Tommy Murphy hasn't lagged that far behind. He ranks in the top five in many of those same categories, and he's in second place (behind only Story) in slugging and OPS.
While he hasn't put up anything close to gaudy numbers, David Dahl is still the next best reason to tune in to Rock Cats games. Remember that Dahl is an excellent defensive center fielder, and make sure to factor how short his stint in Modesto was (only 29 games) when looking at his .229/.270/.303 slash-line through his first 26 games at the Double-A level.
Dahl will draw eyes and scrutiny because of his prospect status ,and keeping tabs on his progress at this all-important level will remain one of the most intriguing story-lines for the remainder of the 2015 season.
The Rock Cats also boast a few potential sleeper prospects in outfielder Noel Cuevas, who is off to almost as hot of a start as Story and Murphy, and infielder Pat Valaika, who is not. Tyler Massey and Mike Tauchman (PuRP HM) find themselves in that conversation as well.
Things are slightly less interesting on the pitching side, though. Shane Carle, Gus Schlosser, and Austin House are all names who could work their way into PuRP consideration with strong performances this season. Yohan Flande is also blowing right through Double-A lineups at age 29.
Also, if you just happen to like winning baseball, the Rock Cats are your team. Their 21-7 record leads the Eastern League by three and a half games.
2. Modesto Nuts (15-15)
MVP: Jordan Patterson/Raimel Tapia
Number of PuRPS: 9
Almost every at-bat and almost every time someone takes the hill for the Nuts contains at least some level of interest for the future.
The Modesto Nuts' record doesn't look as good as the team has performed due to some unfortunate run sequencing. Most of the games the team has lost this season have been one-run affairs.
But the Nuts may be the most balanced team in the organization this season in terms of having both promising hitting and pitching. They have five players -- Raimel Tapia, Jordan Patterson, Ryan McMahon, Troy Stein, and Zach Osborn -- OPS'ing over .855, and the pitcher in the starting five with the worst ERA (Johendi Jiminian) also tossed the best game of the season so far.
Antonio Senzatela paces the rotation with a 2.61 ERA in 31 innings, and even players like Sam Moll and Carlos Estevez have had some impressive moments out of the pen.
Rossell Herrera and Correlle Prime haven't gotten it going in the batting average department yet, but both sport an OPS over .700 because of some power and patience.
A lot of the talent is still super raw, but by my count there are more potential MLB players on the Nuts right now than on any other team in the Rockies system.
3. Asheville Tourists (13-16)
MVP: Wes Rogers/Zach Jemiola
Number of PuRPS: 5
The Asheville Tourists are ... young. If you like watching incredibly raw talent grow and blossom, the Asheville Tourists are the team for you.
As such, there aren't a lot of numbers that jump off the screen other than Wes Rogers' 21 stolen bases in 29 games. Forrest Wall has an .809 OPS, Drew Weeks' is at .823, and the pitching staff in general has been excellent. Zach Jemiola leads the staff with 38 innings, a 1.00 WHIP, and a 2.13 ERA. Helmis Rodriguez, Carlos Polanco, and Ryan Castellani have all been almost as good, and Sam Howard remains an intriguing left-handed power arm.
Kevin Padlo, who is younger still than some high school players that will be taken in this year's draft, has gotten off to a slow start, but it is the potential shown in players like him, Dom Nunez, and Emerson Jimenez that keeps the team's entertainment value high.
4. Colorado Rockies (11-16)
MVP: Charlie Blackmon
Number of PuRPS: 1
The big league squad can be maddening at times, but there have certainly been no shortage of interesting stories following the Rockies in 2015.
There are three pitchers at age 24 or younger whose development is something to watch each and every time they take the mound. Eddie Butler (still PuRP No. 3!) especially has flashed some promising stuff -- most notably striking out the league's best hitter in 2015, Adrian Gonzalez, on back-t-back 97 mph pitches, the second of which moved about six inches.
Results are going to vary with pitchers who are still so inexperienced, and the process can be ugly. But it's also endlessly fascinating. This isn't the Rockies rotation of years past -- packed with declining veterans and no-name longshots -- there is far more potential to be viewed through the growing pains.
The offense has been a blast to watch at times, even though they haven't really put up any crooked numbers quite yet, but it is almost certainly the nightly displays of stellar defense that give the big league team the most entertainment value.
Also, as long as the best player in the National League is healthy, there is a reason to tune in to Colorado Rockies games.
5. Albuquerque Isotopes (12-18)
MVP: Dustin Garneau
Number of PuRPS: 5
While there are plenty of fringe-MLB players at the Triple-A level for the Rockies, including Cristhian Adames, Ben Paulsen, Brandon Barnes, and Kyle Parker -- all of whom have seen time in The Show and likely will again, the biggest reason to tune into Albuquerque Isotopes games in 2015 has also, unfortunately, been the most cringe-worthy.
Let's be honest with ourselves: Jon Gray is the story in Albuquerque, and so far it's been one of those stories whose plot struggles mightily to get going. In 22.2 innings pitched, he has a 9.13 ERA and a 2.03 WHIP. Ouch.
The fireballer has struggled with his command, regularly leaving pitches up, but the good news comes from his solid most recent start (five innings, two runs) and the fact that his velocity remains. He still showcases the ability to hit 98 mph on the radar gun.
Adames, along with catchers Dustin Garneau and Ryan Casteel, are all having excellent seasons at the plate, and both Adames and Garneau are getting rave reviews (at least from play-by-play guys) for their defense.
The Triple-A bullpen also remains an area of interest, as Tommy Kahnle, Jairo Diaz, Rex Brothers, Simon Castro and still a few others could end up contributing at the MLB level this season.