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Rockies prospect rankings: No. 16 Jordan Patterson rising quickly

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Jordan Patterson is forcing everyone to pay attention to him.

Jen Mac Ramos

PuRP No. 16: Jordan Patterson (527 points, 35 ballots) | Winter 2014 Ranking: 27 | High Ballot 8, Mode Ballot 14

Jordan Patterson is the highest ranked player on this edition of the Purple Row Prospects list who eluded praise from scouts and national attention from prospect observers prior to this year. It's not hard to see why Patterson evaded attention: he's been older and playing next to top prospects.

The 23 year-old lefty outfielder was Colorado's fourth round pick in 2013. Though Patterson hit well against Rookie ball and Low-A competition in his first two professional years (128 wRC+ and 121 wRC+ respectively), he was older than the average prospect in both leagues. In addition, the 6'4 Patterson was overshadowed by the presence of highly touted prospects David Dahl and Raimel Tapia in the outfield. Entering 2015, Patterson profiled as an outfielder with the power and hit tools to fit as a corner outfielder but who was unproven against higher level competition. Scouts, therefore, relegated him to a lower tier prospect status (AAAA/reserve outfielder).

This year, Patterson has been a revelation—a true breakout player for the Rockies minor league system. In 339 plate appearances for High-A Modesto, Patterson hit .304/.378/.568 (155 wRC+) with 48 extra base hits as a player who was still a little old for the level. The Rockies promoted Patterson to AA New Britain in mid-July and, finally below league average in age (18 months younger), Patterson has continued to rake for the Rock Cats. It's a small sample size (54 PA), but it's definitely encouraging to see a .375/.426/.667 line (211 wRC+) with 10 extra base hits from a newly promoted player who some predicted would struggle at higher levels.

Patterson's tear through High-A and Double-A has led him to placement on MLB.com's midseason Top 30 Rockies prospects update (at #23). Here's what they had to say about Patterson:

When Patterson first arrived on the scene, there were many moving parts to his swing, but he has since cleaned it up, which lets his excellent bat speed work for him more consistently as he's more direct to the ball. That's allowed his hit tool to improve and enabled him to start tapping into his considerable raw power, with more to come. He runs well and isn't afraid to steal a base and he has a strong arm from right field that allowed him to pile up 14 assists in 2014, all while also seeing some time at first.

Patterson continues to see nearly all of his action in the outfield corner spot, where he could eventually profile as a prototypical athletic right fielder.
This season has certainly made me pay more attention to Patterson's prospect potential. When voting took place, Patterson hadn't been promoted yet, so my rank of 24 for him at the time would be a few notches higher now. He's a prospect I'll be keeping a very close eye on in terms of near-term potential outfield/first base depth for the Rockies as soon as late next year—especially if he continues laying waste to the Eastern League. More realistically, if he continues to hit well I expect Patterson to be in the big league roster mix in 2017 after a 40 man roster add after the 2016 season.

Contract Status: 2013 fourth round, not Rule 5 eligible (2016), 3 options remaining

MLB ETA: 2017