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Top prospects report to instructional camp, and questions facing the Rockies in their final road trip

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As the major league season winds down, prospect season is ramping up.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rox keep eye on Rodgers, Nikorak in camp - Rockies.com

The Rockies' two highest 2015 draft picks have arrived at the three-week instructional camp in Scottsdale after up-and-down seasons. Shortstop Brendan Rodgers, taken No. 3 overall hit decently in Rookie ball (he slashed .273/.340/.420) but missed a bunch of games due to nagging injuries (none of which were serious). Starting pitcher Mike Nikorak, taken at No. 27, was completely unable to find the strike zone in his 17 2/3 inning pro debut, and walked 32 batters. That makes Rex Brothers look like Greg Maddox.

Rockies' senior director of player development Zach Wilson wasn't concerned by the performance of either player. Particularly in regard to Nikorak's struggles, Wilson viewed the season as an eye-opener and a learning experience. Considering that both Nikorak and Rodgers were in high school a few months ago, a learning curve can be expected. Both are exciting players.

Read the full article to get more quotes from Wilson, and there will be more from Purple Row with Wilson soon.

Colorado Rockies face gauntlet of questions heading into final road trip - Denver Post

Patrick Saunders nicely lays out the things to watch for as the Rockies conclude the 2015 season on the road against San Francisco and Arizona. Included are Walt Weiss's uncertain future (for the record, the players support his return for 2016) and pitchers that might help end the Rockies' perpetual mound-related futility.

Putting the Nationals' disappointment in context - Fangraphs

The Nationals were absolutely stacked coming into the season, both with pitching and hitting talent. They were projected to win north of 100 games, and according to Fangraphs they were supposed to win the NL East by 13 games. Instead they will probably lose it by that margin, making them one of the worst performers relative to projection since projections were developed.

They will still finish around .500, which means that over the course of the season Nats fans have had good nights as often as they have had bad nights. Compare that with the Rockies, who have lost with great frequency and variability.

But I'd imagine Rockies fans are, on the whole, less bummed out by their 2015 than Nats fans are. We weren't supposed to be any good this year (never forget: our Opening Day starter was Kyle Kendrick, who has a 6.54 ERA this year). Nats fans would have guessed that 90 wins was a floor for the team; even getting into the Wild Card game would be a minor disappointment. Add in the self-imposed injuries (trading for Jonathan Papelbon, Drew Storen breaking his finger slamming a locker) and insults (Papelbon fighting his team's MVP) and the Nationals are a perfect storm of distress for fans, despite having more wins than losses.

Rockies fans, though, can be more zen about things. Sure they lost a lot, but did you see the years by Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez? Chad Bettis and Jon Gray look promising. Some kids on the farm are looking like they can play. 2016 might not be any better than 2015, but at least the odds of trading for Jonathan Papelbon are remote.