It's time for the Summer 2015 Purple Row Prospects (PuRPs) list, the Purple Row community's list of the top 30 Rockies prospects. The top 30 prospects will be revealed one at a time over the next few weeks to give people who aren't in the know a little bit more of information on them. First up, an intro to the list and the five Honorable Mention PuRPs.
In this edition of the PuRPs poll, 37 ballots were cast, with 30 points granted for a first place vote, 29 for second, etc. Until a player was named on 12 ballots, his vote totals were modified on a sliding scale to avoid an individual ballot having too much say over the community forecast -- though none of the players on this edition of the list was listed on fewer than 12 ballots. The first tiebreaker goes to the player who was ranked on the most ballots, then to the one who was ranked highest on an individual PuRPs ballot, and the third is the mode ballot (one tie was broken in this edition).
In all, 59 players received at least one vote for this PuRPs list (even with last time), 51 got mentioned on multiple ballots (up from 42), 32 were named on at least 12 ballots (even with last time) and therefore were unmodified. The top 13 players were named on every ballot, though not necessarily in the same order, while only one PuRP failed to appear on at least 20 ballots. Here is a link to the polling thread.
All prospects who retained their Rookie of the Year eligibility (less than 130 ABs, 50 IP, and 45 days on the active roster) were eligible for selection on this list. From the Winter 2014 list, Eddie Butler (3), Ben Paulsen (HM), and Scott Oberg (HM) exhausted their rookie eligibility and were not eligible for this list. In addition, Jayson Aquino (17) andJose Briceno (24) are no longer in the organization and therefore are also ineligible for this list.
For each player on the PuRPs list (and the HM players below), I've included a link to their stats (via Baseball-Reference), their contract status (via Rockies Roster), and a note on their 2015 season to date. For what it's worth, I'll also include where I put them on my personal ballot. All ages are as of July 1, 2015.
Remember that the statistics pages are not the end-all be-all when evaluating these players. Context is hugely important (such as the player's age relative to the league's average or the league average offensive numbers), as is the fact that injuries to prospects can affect both their tools and their stats. I'll make sure and make mention of instances where this is the case as we go on.
More discussion on the voting will be included in the final installment of this series, but here are the five players who came closest to inclusion on the Summer 2015 PuRPs List, the Honorable Mention PuRPs:
35. David Hill (28.5 points, 9 ballots), 2015 4th Round, RHP at Short Season A (21)
34. Shane Carle (42.5 points, 10 ballots), 2014 Trade, RHP in AA (23)
33. Carlos Estevez 55.5 points, 9 ballots), 2011 FA (DR), RHP in AA (22)
32. Wes Rogers (96 points, 21 ballots), 2014 4th Round, OF in Low A (21)
31. Sam Moll (99 points, 12 ballots), 2013 3rd Round, LHP in High A (23)
Here are some notes on the five honorable mention PuRPs:
Hill is a player that fell into Colorado's lap in the 4th round with the 133rd overall selection. The 21 year-old San Diego product had been rated as the 44th best prospect in the draft by Baseball America (four spots ahead of Colorado 2nd rounder Peter Lambert) and was ranked 27th on my personal list. He has been assigned to the short season A Boise Hawks.
Here's resident prospect guru David Hood on Hill:
Hill is one of the more electric arms in this college class. While the velocity tops out around 94 mph, he has hard sink of the fastball and can get almost curveball action on his slider when he stays on top of it. He has the makings of an average change-up, but I didn't see it enough on film. Hill's delivery is a little mechanical and his release point can be inconsistent, but few pitchers in this class pitch with better stuff when he's on.
Carle came over from the Pirates in a trade in November 2014 in exchange for Rob Scahill -- who promptly became a regular in the Pittsburgh bullpen. Carle hasn't been too shabby himself since coming over the Rockies organization, putting up a 3.57 ERA over 98 1/3 innings in AA New Britain (plus a cameo in Albuquerque). Carle is a pitcher who doesn't strike out many hitters (career MiLB 5.7 K/9), but he does throw a sinker and doesn't walk many (career 1.5 BB/9). At the moment he represents break in case of emergency depth for the next couple of years, though I don't see him becoming a regular part of the big league club -- hence he just missed making my top 30.
Estevez is in a nutshell a reliever with great stuff who hadn't really put it together in four years in the Rockies organization -- until this season in Modesto and New Britain. This year, he's thrown 36 1/3 relief innings across those two levels with a 2.23 ERA, 10.7 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9. It's not like Estevez is coming out of nowhere: Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs ranked him 22nd among Rockies prospects last year.
Here's what Kiley had to say about Estevez last season:
6'4/210 Dominican righty is 21 and sits 94-98 mph in short stints out of the bullpen. He isn't just an arm strength guy, as the curveball is solid-average at times and he'll use a slider and changeup. Estevez is still working on consistent mechanics/command, but there's late-inning potential if the feel develops.
I generally discount relievers pretty heavily in these lists (I didn't list any on my ballot), especially relievers that are further away from the big club, so Estevez wasn't somebody I seriously considered. With that said, Estevez has the stuff to end up in a major league bullpen one day. Given his stuff, Estevez might be somebody the Rockies need to protect in the Rule 5 draft at the end of the season.
Rogers stands out from the pack because he is a demon on the basepaths. In 68 games with Low A Asheville, Rogers already has 44 stolen bases and has only been caught four times -- that's a 92% success rate. He's about age appropriate for the SAL and is slashing .265/.351/.371 (110 wRC+) in 283 plate appearances to date. Speed kills, but Rogers will have to get on base at a prodigious rate at higher levels to be an effective offensive player -- that or develop a little more power to carry the profile. I think that's why, though he made almost 2/3 of the lists submitted in balloting, he was mostly rated in the bottom five of the 30. Rogers didn't make my list this time around, but he sure is an exciting player to watch.
Moll slips from being a PuRP this time around even as he finally was healthy enough to make the jump up to full season ball. In 46 2/3 relief innings in High A Modesto this year, Colorado's 3rd rounder in the 2013 draft has a 3.47 ERA, 9.8 K/9, and 1.01 WHIP against age appropriate competition. Like Estevez, Moll profiles primarily at the big league level as a late inning reliever, though he does it from the left hand side. Kiley McDaniel ranked him 20th among Rockies prospects last year, having this to say about Moll:
Moll sits 93-95 with an above average curveball in short stints and while the plane isn't there and the command isn't great, it will fit in the late innings with some adjustments.
Since it appears that the Rockies have truly converted Moll to relief full time, he dropped down my list just enough to miss this time around. Moll is a name to keep an eye in the next year or two if the Rockies need the depth (and they will, they always do).
Want to know which players made the PuRPs cut? Stay tuned in the coming days for more installments of the Summer 2015 PuRPs list!