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Troy Tulowitzki trade: Analyzing the 3 prospects headed to the Rockies

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The Rockies received three young pitchers with high ceilings who can touch the high 90s with their fastballs.

Miguel Castro is one of the fireballers acquired for Troy Tulowitzki
Miguel Castro is one of the fireballers acquired for Troy Tulowitzki
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies pulled off a shocker Monday night, dealing one of the most popular athletes to ever call Colorado home. Troy Tulowitzki, the best player in his position and perhaps the best player in baseball at one point in his career, was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays.

In exchange for their vaunted shortstop, the Rockies acquired Jose Reyes and three minor league players. Reyes may have been the big name Colorado received in the trade, but the real target was the three pitchers, and it left fans questioning if Colorado received enough in return.

Depending on your perspective, the Rockies either received a haul to bolster their thin upper-level starting pitching, or they may have just traded away a legend for Coors Field cannon fodder. Here's a two-sided view of the players acquired in this landmark deal.

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RHP Jeff Hoffman

22 years old; 6'4, 185 pounds; 2014 Draft, Round 1 (No. 9 overall)

Games

ERA

BB/9

K/9

BAA

Jeff Hoffman

13

2.93

2.3

6.1

.209

Considered by many to be the No. 1 overall talent heading into the 2014 draft, Hoffman was still selected ninth overall even after suffering an injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery. Hoffman returned to the mound in May and has pitched better every month since, putting up a 5.02 ERA in May, 2.96 ERA in June and 1.86 ERA this month. He'll be placed in Double-A New Britain, with a major league ETA of 2016.

The Good: Fireball four-seam fastball that touches 99 mph and sits at 93-96 ... Throws with an easy delivery and also mixes in a two-seamer with an excellent curve ball and a solid change ... Has maintained a solid groundball rate since returning, which bodes well for success in Coors Field ... According to John Sickels, the fastball has good movement and Hoffman projects to be a top-of-the-rotation arm.

The Meh: Keith Law compares Hoffman's fastball to Jon Gray's, saying it lacks movement and deception ... His strikeout rate isn't fantastic and hovers at just 6.1 K/9 since returning ... It should be noted that Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs has indicated Hoffman was asked by the Blue Jays to work on his changeup more than his curveball to allow his arm to heal fully from the surgery, which may explain the lower strikeout rate ... Law also believes Hoffman's flyball rate will increase as he advances and projects him as a mid-rotation starter.

RHP Miguel Castro

20 years old; 6'5, 190 pounds; 2011 International Free Agent

Games

ERA

BB/9

K/9

BAA

Miguel Castro

55

2.63

3.1

9.9

.188

Signed by Toronto in 2011 for $180,000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic, Castro is unique, as there are very few 20-year-olds with major league experience. The right-hander blew through three minor league levels in 2014, starting out in the Short Season-A Northwest League and finishing the year in the High-A Florida State League with a combined ERA of 2.69 for the season. Castro prior to the trade was pitching in Triple-A Buffalo, where he was seven years younger than the average pitcher in the International League.

The Good: Another fireballer who touches 99 mph with a plus changeup ... His fastball has natural downward action that creates a lot of groundballs ... Castro's deception and velocity combine to strike out a lot of batters as he maintains a 9.9 K/9 in his minor league career ... John Sickels tabbed Castro as a sleeper-to-watch prior to 2014 and believes the right-hander has the potential to be a number two starter ... Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com is also high on Castro, but states he has more potential to be a dominant closer.

The Meh: Castro spent most of this season as a reliever after starting the season as Toronto's closer and hasn't been stretched out to a starter since being sent down to Triple-A ... Keith Law is critical of Castro's command and questions his feel for pitching ... Law also predicts Castro will end up being a very good reliever instead of a starter.

RHP Jesus Tinoco

20 years old; 6'4, 190 pounds; 2011 Internaitonal Free Agent

Games

ERA

BB/9

K/9

BAA

Jesus Tinoco

54

4.37

3.0

7.7

.268

Another tall pitcher with a live arm, Tinoco has the physical tools and base to become a starting pitcher in the major leagues. Signed out of Venezuela in 2011, the right-hander touches 97 mph, but typically sits between 94-95 with natural sink and an above-average slider.


The Good: Tinoco is young and has a major league fastball with good natural sink that plays well in altitude ... Nick Melotte of Minor League Ball thinks Tinoco has a shot at being a mid-rotation starter, with a reasonable chance of at least becoming a solid reliever.

The Meh: Keith Law is concerned about Tinoco's lack of command and, depending on how his off-speed pitches develop, predicts that he can become a back-end starter.

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It's easy to understand the frustration fans will have from losing one of the best position players in the game. Throughout their history, the Rockies have excelled at having strong position players, but the good years -- the years where they've made the playoffs -- have included strong rotations. In addition to salary flexibility, this trade infuses the organization with talented young pitchers and adds some exciting live arms to the system.