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Rockies prospect rankings: No. 30 Harrison Musgrave making a name for himself in High-A

Musgrave was nowhere near the top 30 prior to this season, but he's earned a spot in the Rockies' prospect rankings with a strong first half for Modesto.

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PuRP No. 30: Harrison Musgrave (130 points, 14 ballots) | Winter 2015 Ranking: NR | High Ballot 13, Mode Ballot 13

Musgrave is not a pitcher who began the season on the radar of too many PuRPs voters, given that he was an eighth-round pick in 2014 out of college and had gone through Tommy John surgery three years before getting drafted. After the draft, Musgrave threw 54 forgettable innings for rookie ball Grand Junction against hitters who were on average younger than him, which further threw voters off his scent. This year, though, the 23-year-old lefty starter was jumped directly up to High-A Modesto, where he has spent the majority of the year.

In a recent article by the Denver Post's Irv Moss, Rockies player development director Zach Wilson had this to say about Musgrave:

"We felt he had the pitch level and the maturity level to handle the competition at Modesto."

Musgrave has thus far proven Wilson and the Rockies player development team right in High-A, throwing 90⅔ innings at that level with a 2.88 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and 1.10 WHIP to players who are around his age level. He recently earned a one-start cameo at Double-A New Britain before being sent back down to Modesto.

Wilson Karaman of Minor League Ball scouted some Modesto prospects back in May (well worth a read of the whole article) and had this to say about Musgrave:

The southpaw's delivery gives the appearance of some effort, mostly due to the speed with which he unleashes it. He uses a very low hand break, keeping the ball tucked off his back hip while he draws his right leg up abruptly. His leg kick is stiff to a rigid plant, and he really whips his arm through his release before a long deceleration through his front side, with a bit of a spin off to the third base side.

It's not a particularly fluid delivery, and there are some timing and balance concerns as a result which may limit his command development. He showed fringe to solid-average control of a four-pitch arsenal, including a fastball that sat 87-89 (t90), a slider in the 86-87 range, a low-80's change, and a curveball with decent depth in the high 70's. There isn't a plus offering of the bunch, though the curve showed as a potential 55 pitch. But he mixed his pitches well and showed a willingness to attack hitters to both sides of the plate. I'd peg him as a future 45 arm, with some upside to a number four starter if the command progresses.

I'd say that's a pretty good description of the pitcher Musgrave is right now -- someone with back of the rotation potential if he can continue to develop that command at higher levels. Musgrave didn't make my top 30, but he's having one of the best years among Colorado's minor league starters this season, so I can see why three people rated him 13th in the system. Musgrave is a player who could easily provide value as an emergency starter in the next few years, though as with most prospects of his pedigree the odds are against him.

Contract Status: 2014 eighth round, not Rule 5 eligible, three options remaining

MLB ETA: Late 2017